In the summer we regularly see inflammation of the eyelids and/or cornea in young cattle and cows, (but also in small ruminants).
This condition is called "Pinkeye." Outbreaks usually last two to three months. Several bacteria were cultured during the investigation of infectious causes: Moraxella bovis, Moraxella bovoculi, Mycoplasma bovis, Mycoplasma bovoculi, Listeria, and Neisseria ovis. The infection rate 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 more severe cases, the cornea can even be damaged. In this 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 farmers treat the condition with drugs that are not allowed for this purpose. Dry injectors are an example of this.
Pinkeye can be treated with a specific eye ointment. When applied correctly, the tip of the tube should be kept parallel to the eyelids to prevent injury to the eye during defensive movements.
An analgesic is recommended as part of the treatment. In severe cases, an antibiotic injection into the eyelid is necessary. Depending on the severity of the condition, a general course of antibiotics may be necessary.
Always consult with your veterinarian about this in advance.
The affected animals suffer greatly from bright (sun) light. Therefore, if possible, keep the animals temporarily inside or at least provide adequate shade.
The spread of infection is mainly due to flies (especially Hydrotea irritans). This fly feeds on tear fluid and flies from ruminant to ruminant.
The infection can also spread without flies through direct contact between animals.
Pinkeye usually occurs in pasture-raised animals. However, the disease can also occur in barn-raised animals, where it can spread rapidly.
In housed animals, the factors of light, dust and ammonia may contribute to additional eye irritation and thus increase susceptibility to infection.
Well-organized and effective fly control, along with isolation of affected animals, are key concerns in the prevention and treatment of Pinkeye.