In summer we regularly see an inflammation of the eyelids and/or the cornea in young stock and cows, (but also in small ruminants).
This condition is called “Pinkeye”. It is usually caused by a bacterium, (mainly Moraxella bovis). The infection pressure varies greatly from region to region.
The surface of the eyeball and the mucous membranes of the eyelid are often affected by the bacteria.
In the case of a mild infection, we see redness of the mucous membranes, frequent blinking of the affected eye and increased tear flow.
In a more serious condition, the cornea can even be damaged. In that case, the characteristic white spots on the eyeball are clearly visible.
Untreated conditions can lead to temporary or permanent blindness. In extreme cases, even loss of the affected eye. The condition is very painful for the animal.
Some livestock farmers treat the condition with substances that are not permitted for this purpose. Drying injectors are an example of this.
Pinkeye can be treated with a specific eye ointment. When applying correctly, keep the tip of the tube parallel to the eyelids to avoid injury to the eye during defensive movements.
A painkiller is recommended as part of the treatment. In severe cases, an antibiotic injection in the eyelid is necessary. Depending on the severity of the condition, a general course of antibiotics may be required.
Always consult your vet about this in advance.
The affected animals suffer a lot from bright (sun) light. If possible, therefore, keep the animals indoors temporarily or provide at least sufficient shade.
The spread of the infection is mainly due to flies (mainly Hydrotea irritans). This fly feeds on tears and flies from ruminant to ruminant.
The infection can spread without flies through direct contact between animals.
Pinkeye is usually seen in pasture-raised animals. However, the condition can also occur in indoor kept animals, where it can spread quickly.
At indoor kept animals, the factors light, dust and ammonia can contribute to additional irritation of the eyes and thus increase the susceptibility to infection.
Well organized and effective fly control, together with the isolation of affected animals, are the main concerns in the prevention and treatment of Pinkeye.