Endophytes are fungi that live inside some grass plants, most commonly tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. They have a symbiotic relationship with the grass plants they inhabit — thanks to endophytes, infected grasses have increased growth rates, increased drought tolerance, and resistance to certain insects. Unfortunately, these fungi also produce toxins that can affect livestock health.

Signs of fescue toxicosis in ruminants such as goats result from the vasoconstrictive properties of the main toxic agent, ergovaline. Signs can include lameness,

Goat Reproductive Failure Toxicological Factors

Toxicological Factors

Spanish Doe.

When feeds get wet/damp, molds can grow and produce toxins, or mycotoxins, that can lead to reproductive problems and failure. Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium are the most common toxins causing problems in stored feeds. In addition, there are molds and endophytes in forages that can also cause problems. Fescue toxicosis can results from endophyte (fungal)-infected tall fescue that make toxins such as ergot alkaloids, primarily ergovaline, that can delay onset of puberty, impair luteal function to …