Infectious Bovine Kerato-Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye 🐮
A common ailment seen in large animals is Pink Eye. Pink eye in cattle is a contagious bacterial infection of the eye caused by the bacteria Moraxella bovis, which infects the eye and releases a toxin that causes severe inflammation.
The disease is most prevalent in warmer months when vectors that spread the bacteria are more common. These vectors include flies, dusty conditions, bright sunlight, radiation and physical irritation from plants particularly thistles.
Sometimes the physical attributes of individual cattle can also make them more susceptible to pinkeye than others, for instance, cattle with lightly pigmented eyelids.
The first clinical signs of pink eye infection include squinting, excessive tearing, weight loss and corneal opacity. Occasionally damage to the eye can be severe enough for blindness to be permanent.
The infection can spread very rapidly through the herd and the economic impact due to weight loss and lowered milk production can be considerable.
Treatment includes various methods. The treatment of choice we use in our clinic is a long acting penicillin preparation that is infused into both eyes of infected cattle. Other treatments include intramuscular antibiotic injections, injections into the eye tissue, and patches over the eye glued to the surrounding tissue.