Trichothecene Toxicoses

return to Swine Manual index

There are numerous structurally related toxic compounds produced by certain Fusarium species that are classified as trichothecene mycotoxins. At least three of these are of importance in pig production. Trichothecenes are cytotoxic to many cell types and are strongly immunosuppressive. Signs of trichothecene toxicity usually include feed refusal, salivation and, sometimes, vomiting. With chronic exposure there may be paresis, paralysis, or seizures. Lesions often include gastroenteritis, hemorrhagic diathesis, skin irritation, and necrosis.

Diagnosis of trichothecene-related toxicosis can be difficult. The presence of moldy or caked feed, along with a reluctance to consume it, may suggest the presence of a trichothecene toxicosis. Improvement following a change in feed suggests the original feed was contaminated.