Tremorgenic mycotoxicosis in cattle, caused by Claviceps paspali

Ayala-Soldado N, Lora-Benitez AJ, Mora-Medina R, Molina-Lopez AMª, Artillo-Guimera JI, Moyano-Salvago MªR (2022): Tremorgenic mycotoxicosis in cattle, caused by Claviceps paspali. Vet Med-Czech 67, 638–643.

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Claviceps paspali is a fungus that mainly parasitises Paspalum dilatatum, generating a structure denominated sclerotium, in which indole-diterpenoid alkaloids are isolated. Its action mechanism is related to the inhibition of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor. It basically affects bovines, triggering the tremorgenic syndrome, the prevalence of this intoxication being relatively low in Europe. This work describes a clinical case on a cattle farm in Seville (southern Spain), composed of 91 bovines, 60% of which were principally affected with nervous clinical signs. The diagnosis was based on a clinical inspection of the animals, as well as of the presence of paspalum seed heads containing the sclerotia of Claviceps paspali in the plants present in the pastures. The causal agent was identified as being Claviceps paspali, which had parasitised numerous examples of Paspalum paspaloides. The indole-diterpenoid alkaloids produced by Claviceps paspali were identified using ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry and mass spectrometry. At present, no effective aetiological treatment has been described for poisoning caused by this mycotoxin, so a supportive treatment was administered, and different handling methods were applied, resulting in the complete recovery of the animals. Finally, it was concluded that unusually high humidity and temperature levels for the region triggered the development of the sclerotium generated by this fungus.

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