Dry and dusty conditions across the south-west are causing a dramatic rise in the number of pink eye infections in cattle – particularly in young stock.
The Vet Group has urged beef and dairy farmers across the Great South Coast to be vigilant, check their animals regularly and seek treatment as soon as possible.
Veterinarian, Matt Izzo said pinkeye was a painful condition for cattle. He said incidences of pinkeye infection across the region were the worst he had seen in several years.
“We have noticed many more clients than usual contacting the clinics for pinkeye treatment,” he said.
“Pinkeye is essentially an infection of the cornea caused by a bacterium that is carried in the nasal and eye secretions of cattle. When things like dust damage the cornea, the bacterium attaches to the eye and erodes the cornea causing ulcers and inflammation.
“This year the dry and dusty season, and the need for farmers to provide supplementary feed such as hay, is causing increased trauma to the eyes and secondary pinkeye.
“Large swarms of flies seen on many properties have also enabled rapid spread of the bacterium through herds.”
Dr Izzo said increased tear production was often the first sign to look for. He said the next stage of pinkeye saw the cornea become cloudy – often with a white spot in the centre.
“If treatment is provided at this early stage, pain is reduced and the healing is improved. Without treatment, the cloudiness covers the whole cornea, a white scar can develop over the eye and some animals are left permanently blind,” he said.
“There are a range of treatment options available including topical or injectable long acting antibiotics. A vaccine is also available which may minimise the spread of infection.
“Eye patches can help minimise the spread of the disease as well and provide pain relief, as infected eyes become very sensitive to light.”
For more information, advice and treatment please contact The Vet Group, Farm Services on 1300 838 700.