Posted June 22, 2022 in Livestock Blog by Jeffers Staff
Owning a farm, or just farm animals is one of the simple pleasures in many people’s lives. The slow, hard work of keeping up after large and beautiful creatures is an art form in and of itself. Early mornings, late nights. Long days in the sun, heat, rain, and snow.
Of course, with all of this comes crisis control. Whether an escape artist has made their grand exit out of a pasture or came down with a side of bloat, accidents and illnesses in cattle can be alarming, especially if contagious. In this piece, we want to help you learn about dealing with a contagious cattle sickness, especially pink eye. Additionally, Jeffers is here to help you to reduce pinkeye transmission amongst your cattle.
Known scientifically as infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK), cattle pink eye is a disease on the surface of the eye (cornea) and eyelids (conjunctiva). Many irritants, especially during the summer, can be the cause of pink eye: physical injury, flies and their bites, chemical-related injury, dust/dirt/sand/grass blown into the eye, or even just bright sunlight. These factors may seem trivial at their onset, but they cause major issues for your herd if not quickly treated. Rest assured that cattle pinkeye is not contagious to humans; it is caused by a different bacteria.
Given the transmissibility of pink eye through cattle of all ages, it is important to know how exactly this occurs. Of course, the aforementioned elements can be the reason pink eye becomes an issue for some of your livestock. But once a cow or calf is affected, there are a number of ways that this can be spread among all your cattle.
First, close contact is always an issue. Cattle are herd animals and like to crowd each other. This enables pink eye to spread more easily. The second is lack of treatment, which is a pretty self-explanatory transmission agent. The last and seemingly most difficult to combat, especially in the warm months, are face flies. These insects will fly into the eyes of your cattle, and will even feed on the tears of livestock. If a cow has pink eye, these flies can travel between all in the area and infect them through bites.
When it comes to reducing your cattle’s risk of pink eye, there are a number of things you can do. First, keep their living space clean, organized, and sanitized. Cut down weeds as often as you can, disposing of these irritants in areas that your cattle will not frequent. Additionally, using insecticidal treatments and ear tags is helpful. Most important is keeping your affected animal(s) away from those unaffected.
Other reduction methods are focused more on treating the affected animals. There are a couple of different approaches. One of the most effective is using an eyepatch. There is nothing easy about gluing a patch to a mama cow who’s already upset about being separated from her calf! But, putting an eyepatch on the affected cow(s) does eliminate the face flies’ ability to transmit the disease to other, unaffected cows. Additionally, the eyepatch keeps the cow’s eye clean and away from any irritants. You can find Jeffers Livestock’s Shut-Eye Patches, available here.
Another great option is a fast-acting treatment, such as our own Curicyn Pink Eye Kit & Solution, which “cleanses, soothes, and helps reduce inflammation and effects associated with pink eye in animals.”
Additionally, the use of Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Pink Eye Spray is another great option. This product is “formulated to help relieve irritated eyes from burning, stinging, and itching by removing air pollutants (pollen/smog) and other foreign materials.”
Last but not least, there are good antibiotics for pinkeye. Injectable antibiotics can be very effective at treating the infection from the source. Noromycin 300 and LA-200 contain oxytetracycline, while DRAXXIN by Zoetis contains tulathromycin. Find the cattle antibiotic best for your needs at Jeffers.
No matter what you choose to do to reduce pink eye transmission amongst your cattle, let us here at Jeffers Livestock help you keep your animals healthy and happy!