Asaemia axillaris – ‘Vuursiektebossie’
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Wednesday, 14th December 2022

Vuursiektebossie may cause deaths and be responsible for photosensitivity in sheep. No cases have been confirmed in Angora goats.

Vuursiektebossie can be found in mountain veld of the western and central karoo. It always grows near water (pans, dams, vleis)

What does vuursiektebossie look like?

It is a woody shrublet about 50cm high. Small narrow leaves opposite each other on yellowish branches that end in spikes. Yellow to white flower heads.



Clinical signs

  • Photosensitivity,
  • icterus (geelsig).
  • Intense yellow urine,
  • mildly swollen lips

How much is needed to cause deaths?

Deaths can occur with intake of as low as 2.5g up to 10g per 10kg body weight.

How long after exposure do symptoms occur?

Sheep have become sick 3-7 days after being introduced to camp with ‘vuursiektebossie’.

Post Mortem findings?

  • Liver moderately swollen
  • Liver friable and yellowish-brown with a mosaic appearance with areas of dark red congestion.
  • Icterus (jaundice)
  • Oedema of the gall bladder.

Plant poisoning s and mycotoxicoses of livestock in southern Africa, Kellerman, Coetzee, Naude

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