Annual ryegrass toxicity or staggers produces a variety of clinical signs in sheep.
Signs are first noted when sheep are driven. More serious cases result in death.
This footage demonstrates typical signs associated with the disease.

Annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT) is caused by the bacterium Rathayibacter toxicus.
This bacteria is carried by a nematode into the developing seed heads of some annual grasses, where it eventually produces a powerful tunicamycin-like poison called corynetoxin.
The most commonly affected plants include annual Wimmera ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) and blowngrass (Agrostis avenaceae).
The toxin may cause disease in cattle, sheep, goats, horses or pigs consuming infected seed heads.
Initial clinical signs include a reluctance to move and uncoordinated gait when driven. The death rate from ARGT can be very high.

Contributor Peter White and Peter Windsor

Ovine species

Clinical Findings Lolium rigidum poisoning


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