The Toxin Affects of Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by mold growing on crops in the field, during handling and in storage. Molds will produce mycotoxins under a wide range of conditions. They enter animal production system through feed or through bedding. Some toxins tend to be more common in temperate or tropic climates, but most mold and mycotoxins are found worldwide. Mycotoxins will negatively affect animal performance, animal health and product quality.

Mycotoxin control is critical for good margin and return on your investment and good quality product.

Mycotoxins can affect livestock in four different ways:

1. Animals eating less food or refusing to eat
2. The animal absorbs or metabolizes less nutrients from the feed
3. Hormones are altered through the endocrine and exocrine systems
4. The efficiency immune system is greatly overtasked and suppressed

Biologically, mycotoxins can produce liver and kidney toxicity in animals, wreak havoc on the central nervous system, alter the fertility and reproduction cycles, and degrade immunity to almost a non-functioning state.

These mycotoxins, through the feed to the animal, become embedded in the food supply chain in eggs, meat, and milk and are a risk to human health.

Aflatoxin, Ochratoxin, Trichothecene, Vomitoxin, and Zearalenone are the main mycotoxins produced from the fungus or mold that grows on grain. They affect mainly corn, wheat and barley, but aflatoxin also affects cotton seed, peanuts and soy.

How should you fight mycotoxins?

First, you must address the mycotoxins in the animal to protect your investment and margin. A binder that pulls the mycotoxins out of the animal's system harmlessly is the top priority treatment. Within 30 days, marked improvement and in some cases, complete restoration is accomplished.

Secondly, clean bedding more often and keep it mold free.

Lastly, use a mold inhibitor in the grain itself to keep future infestation from occurring. It is impossible to completely eradicate the conditions in which mold thrives within a grain storage facility, but is can be contained with the use of the mold inhibitors.

Symptoms to look for in your livestock to help you determine if mycotoxins are a problem in your livestock:

Swine

1. Reduced growth rate
2. Lower appetite or food refusal
3. Pale / weak pigs
4. Bloody feces
5. Reduced sow productivity
6. Lower libido
7. Delayed puberty

Cattle

1. Liver damage
2. Prolapsed rectum
3. Reduction in mild yield
4. Lower growth rate
5. Reduced fertility
6. Unsettled cows
7. Inconsistent milk yield
8. Low butterfat levels

Equine

1. Increased susceptibility to disease
2. Reduced growth rates
3. Decreased appetite
4. Colic
5. Respiratory problems
6. Reduced reproductive performance
7. Brain lesions, neurological disorders
8. Organ damage especially liver, kidneys
9. Paralysis

Poultry

1. Reduced weight gain
2. Poor fertility
3. Low egg production, smaller eggs, and poor shell quality
4. Poor hatchability and increased mortality
5. Poor feathering
6. Huddling and tremors
7. Diarrhea
8. Lesions of the beak, mouth and intestines
9. Liver / Kidney & bone disorders
10. Leg problems

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