Pink eye can cause considerable economic losses if left unchecked. With a hot, dry summer approaching and residual grass likely, take control of pink eye before it becomes a problem in your herd.
So what is Pinkeye?
- Pinkeye is the common name for a corneal ulcer or eye infection in cattle
- The primary infectious agent involved in pinkeye is the bacterium Moraxella bovis (M. bovis), which is carried in the nasal and eye secretions of infected and carrier animals.
- M. bovis attaches to the surface of the eye using pili (hairlike projections on the surface of the bacterium) and damages the eye by producing toxins and haemolysins which erode the cornea and cause ulceration and severe inflammation.
- Secondary pinkeye is caused by trauma to the eye e.g. dust, grass seeds, sticks etc with a secondary bacterial infection.
Early signs of pinkeye are increased tear production with watery eyes and the eye starts to become cloudy. This may progress to an ulcer forming with possible rupture of the eye. With prompt treatment this progression can be stopped. Some calves can get a permanent white scar on their cornea and if the eye ruptures they may be left permanently blind.
- Cloxacillin eye ointment or a long acting injection of Oxytetracycline.
- Eye patches are beneficial, it may help to minimise the spread of the disease as well as providing some pain relief for affected animals as they are often very sensitive to light.
- Calves can be mass treated using a tetracycline product in their feed or by long acting injection in the event of an outbreak.
- Tetracyline sprays/powders can be used, however multiple daily treatments are often necessary.
- Vaccination in the face of an outbreak can help minimise disease spread.
Vaccinating with Piliguard gives you the best chance of combating Pinkeye over the summer months. Vaccination must occur at least 3-6 weeks prior to the onset of the pinkeye season in order to be effective ie, NOW. We recommend vaccination of all calves (over 1 week of age) and replacement heifers. Vaccination aids in reducing the incidence and severity of Pinkeye infections, thereby reducing production losses and costs involved in treatment whilst improving animal welfare.
Other management strategies that can help to reduce the risk of pinkeye include:
- Controlling fly numbers with insecticides such as ‘Easy-Dose’ or Arrest
- Early treatment and isolation of affected animals
- Avoid yarding animals in dry, dusty conditions
- Reduce stocking rates and avoid grazing calves on long dry pastures