inkeye is the common name
for infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis
is the most signifi cant ocular
disease in cattle and, left
untreated, can lead to corneal rupture
and/or blindness. It is an expensive
disease, with poor weight gain
in affected animals, drop in milk
production, cost of medication and
labor in treating infections, prices
docked for marketed cattle because
of eye damage or blindness, or calves
rejected at sale time. In addition, the
pain from an affected eye is a welfare
issue. An animal that is blind in one
or both eyes can also be dangerous.
Dr. Phillip Kesterson, Zoetis Technical
Service veterinarian, says there’s higher
incidence of pinkeye in young cattle if
they have not been exposed before and
have not yet developed any immunity
to the bacteria that cause it.
WHAT IS PINKEYE?
This disease has been around for a
long time. “It was described in 1889 in
the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment
Station report and they called it
Keratitis Contagiosa in cattle, and
stated that this was not a new disease,”
says Dr. Kesterson.
“Pinkeye is very frustrating to prevent
and treat. The primary cause
is a gram-negative bacterium called
Moraxella bovis. Another bacterium
that plays a signifi cant role is Moraxella
bovoculi,” he says.
Face fl ies can spread bacteria from
one animal to another, and also irritate
the eye, making it easier for bacteria
to gain access. They scrape the
eye surface to make tears fl ow so they
can feed on these secretions. As numbers
of face fl ies increase, so does incidence
of this disease.
“The bacteria attach to certain cells
in the cornea,” explains Dr. Kesterson.
BY HEATHER SMITH THOMAS
What if you
down on the
A simple eyepatch glued on
over the affected eye can
offer much comfort and
relief to a stressed critter.
USDA LIBRARY Pink’s
42 I WORKING RANCH I MARCH 2019