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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
Pinkeye

Don't be blinded by Pinkeye


Pinkeye has been popping up in herds the last few weeks. Pinkeye is caused by the bacterium Moraxella bovis which is also found in the eyes of healthy cattle. Eye irritation is a key factor in developing pinkeye. Tall/mature grasses, sunlight, dust, and flies all create eye irritation. This year we've had all of those irritants present in cattle herds. In many cases we've had more dust due to dryer weather, more flies thanks to the mild winter, and grasses that headed out early.

The primary culprit of spreading pinkeye is face flies. Thus, fly control plays a major role in prevention of pinkeye.

Early detection of "watery eyes" and infected animals is also important to treating and controlling the disease. Early treatment will reduce eye damage and decrease the risk of the pinkeye spreading throughout the herd.

Treatment of this disease involves long acting tetracyclines (LA 200, Tetradure 300, etc.) and in advanced cases bulbar conjunctival injections of penicillin. There are also powders and sprays that can be applied to the eye.

Prevention tactics should be used extensively to control pinkeye. Vaccinations are available to guard against the major strains of Moraxella bovis. Management practices to help prevent pinkeye include clipping/mowing tall grasses that cause eye irritation, avoiding congregating cattle in drylots and dusty areas, ensure shade is available to reduce sunlight exposure, and controlling flies. Methods of controlling flies include fly tags, insecticide pour-ons, backrubbers with face strips, and feed additives (IGR), and knock down sprays.

The cost associated with pinkeye goes much further than the cost of treatment. Pinkeye results in decreased gains, poorer milk production, and is an added stressor to the immune system of cattle. Older numbers have shown that pinkeye costs an estimated $150 million just in the United States. With the value of pounds in today's market, don't let pinkeye cost you.

For more detailed information on Pinkeye, the stages, treatment, and prevention methods click here: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/oardc/downloads/43489.pdf



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