Pink Eye in Cattle
IBK-Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis
A painful and highly infectious eye disease which leads to temporary blindness in many animals (one or both eyes) and can lead to permanent blindness in some animals (1-2%)
Symptoms of the Disease/Condition
The primary cause is a bacteria called Morexella bovis.
The danger period is late spring and summer (Dec-March)
It occurs in cattle of all ages, sexes and types-young cattle are particularly vunerable.
There are a number of seasonal environmental factors (wind, dust, flies, stalky vegetation) and management factors (high stocking rate, poor nutrition, bringing in cattle) which can predispose cattle to an outbreak of pinkeye.
The first signs of pinkeye will be weepy eyes and an aversion to strong light.
Cost/Impact on Herd/Farm Revenue
Pink eye is an animal welfare issue causing prolonged and serious pain.
It also imposes significant economic and production losses through:
• depressed growth rates
The disease may exist for 3-5 weeks in some individuals, with a peak in a mob of about 3-4 weeks.
Despite this many farmers believe Pinkeye is not a significant problem and many choose to not treat or prevent the disease and let the disease take its course.
Diagnosis is made by observation of clinical signs such as tear staining, eye squinting, eye lesions as well as microbiological culture and sensitivity of swabs obtained aseptically from infected eyes.
Management and Control
Quick action is required to prevent the spread of Pinkeye.
Topical and systemic antibiotic treatments can be used along with surgery such as 3rd eyelid flap or sewing the eyelids together in bad cases (veterinary procedure)
A vaccine is available which is most effective if given 2-3 weeks prior to the pink eye season. It is less effective in the face of a herd outbreak.
Contact your nearest VetEnt clinic to learn more about risk management of Pinkeye in your herd.
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