Fusarium moniliforme Sheldon was isolated from maize suspected of causing field cases of leucoencephalomalacia in horses in South Africa. It was cultured on autoclaved maize and dosed to three horses and three donkeys. One horse and one donkey did not develop any sign of toxicosis; in another donkey an unexplained transient pruritis was encountered and two horses and one donkey died. Clinical signs observed in those animals that died included subcutaneous oedema and icterus. The gross pathological lesions consisted of severe cardiac haemorrhages; petechiae and ecchymoses in various organs; oedema; icterus and liver damage. Histopathological lesions included diffuse fatty changes in the liver; fibroplasia around the central veins and portal tracts with bile duct proliferation; increased numbers of mitotic figures in the hepatocytes; megalocytosis and biliary stasis. The only brain lesions found were small perivascular haemorrhages. This is in contrast with previous findings on this fungus where leucoencephalomalacia was the characteristic lesion. The liver damage and haemorrhagic syndrome caused by these isolates of F. moniliforme are discussed in the light of the prevalence of this fungus on maize.
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