Conversely, storage fungi do not invade intact grain prior to harvest. Ideally, they blossom at a relative humidly of 70 percent and grain moisture content of 14 to 24 percent. Any condition that affects the seed coat, like insects, drought stress, mechanical harvest or hot air drying, may enhance fungal invasion. Two common genera in this category are Aspergillus and Penicillium.
Conduct an investigation
If you suspect an agent of toxicosis may be present in your herd, help your veterinarian to gather the important information needed for a diagnosis. The history of exposure and presence of a toxicant in the environment are essential to know. Note any animal or management adjustments like changes in animal location, food sources, recent chemical application and other events.
Finding a toxicant in the environment or even knowing about consumption does not close the case, but suggests further investigation. Make note of clinical signs and the organ system(s) affected. Clinical signs alone are not significant as many signs of poisoning (vomiting, seizures) can also be caused by infectious diseases or metabolic disorders.
Your veterinarian can help guide you on sample collection. Animal, environmental and necropsy samples are necessary for a definitive diagnosis.
In conclusion, be aware of the effects of extreme weather not only on cattle, but the feed that they consume.
Angela M. Daniels is a veterinarian with Circle H Headquarters LLC, a dairy and swine veterinary practice, food safety laboratory and DHIA milk-testing and contract research organization in Dalhart, Texas.