Paspalum staggers

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Paspalum Staggers

Paspalum staggers is a neurological disease in horses which occurs from ingestion of dallis grass (Paspalum dilatatum) containing the sclerotium (ergot) of Claviceps paspali. This condition very closely resembles ryegrass staggers, which is caused by ingestion of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). It is a somewhat rare condition in horses, with only a handful of cases occurring in Australia. Paspalum staggers mainly affects cattle.

In the cases that occur in horses, the common characteristics were that their pastures were dominated by paspalum plants that had seed heads that were heavily infected with toxic sclerotia of C. paspali. The major toxins produced by C. paspali are tremorgenic indolediterpenes.
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Risk Factors

  • Allowing Horses To Graze On Pastures That Contain Paspalum Plants (Paspalum Dilatatum)