Ergotism

The toxins produced by the ergot reduce growth when are in low amounts. If present in substantial amounts, they produce limb gangrene and necrosis of tail and ears.

Alternative names: Mycotoxins, ergotism, ergotoxins, intoxication with ergot, Claviceps purpurea

Information

These toxins are produced by rye ergot (Claviceps purpurea), which affects wheat, oats and ryegrass. They cause contraction of the walls of small blood vessels (capillaries), thereby restricting irrigation, particularly mammary gland and limbs.

 

Symptoms

Sows, nursery and fattening

  • Slow growth.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Depression.
  • Reduced blood supply due to the contraction of blood vessels.
  • Bluish skin.
  • Gangrene of limbs.
  • Necrosis of tail and ears.

 

Causes / Contributing Factors

  • Harvesting infected grain.

 

Diagnosis

  • Difficult to do but based on clinical condition, especially necrosis of the extremities.
  • Identification of toxins in grain or feed.

 

Control/Prevention

  • None.
  • Avoid the use of wheat, oats, and rye grass in the feed formulation.
  • Withdrawal of suspected feed.

See images in the Altlas related to Ergotism