Fact Sheet: Fescue Toxicosis



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Tall fescue is a popular forage thanks to the hardiness and ease with which it grows in an array of soils and climates. It’s resistant to drought and overgrazing, a high-quality nutrient source, and a highyield crop. However, this grass can also cause fescue toxicosis in pregnant mares, causing pregnancy losses and decreased reproduction efficiency.

Tall fescue itself is not problematic. Instead, a microscopic endophyte (a fungus that lives inside a plant) called Neotyphodium coenophialumcauses the issues associated with maintaining pregnant mares on tall fescue pastures and bedding. That fungus produces an array of naturally occurring, nitrogen-containing organic compounds called alkaloids. The most prominent alkaloid produced by N. coenophialum is ergovaline.

Download this free fact sheet to learn more about fescue toxicosis, its clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods.


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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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