Diplodia maydis (Diplodiosis) - Harvested maize
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Friday, 2nd October 2020

Diplodiosis is a problem in cattle and sheep grazing harvested maize lands.

The poisoning can cause ataxia, paresis and paralysis after ingestion of maize infected with the fungus Diplodia maydis. The fungus often appears on the base of the cob and leaves and is white, often with pin head size black dots.

Animals would get sick 2-8 days after taken in the toxin.


Clinical signs:

Wide stance and reluctant to move. Walk stiff legged, high stepping gait and often fall. Paresis paralysis develop and the goat will lie on its side.

Mortality rates are low.

Cases have been known to develop up to 10 days after removal from the land



If the sheep are removed from the source as soon as signs appear they recover.

Good supportive nursing is required. Be aware that paralysis of the ‘swallowing’ muscles have been reported (but not found in experimental cases) when providing support.

The condition can be confused with Botulism, Heartwater and kweek tremmors

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