Brown Cattle with Ear Tags

Preventing Pinkeye in Cattle

Pinkeye is a yearly issue that nearly all ranchers have to deal with, and preventing pinkeye can be a challenge. But what causes this disease, and how can it be prevented?


Causes of Pinkeye:

Pinkeye is a bacterial infection in the eye of cattle. Three main bacteria can cause pinkeye: Moraxella Bovis, Moraxella Bovoculi, and Mycoplasma Bovis (Purina Mills). The bacteria can be spread through contact between animals or infected equipment. It can also be transported by flies from one animal to another. Pinkeye can be worsened by irritants to the eye, such as pollen, tall grass, or dust.


Prevention Measures:

Pinkeye can be controlled in a couple of ways, although there is no sure-fire method of prevention.


Fly Control

Fewer flies mean that there is a decreased chance of spreading pinkeye between animals. As carriers of the disease, face flies feed on the eye secretions of cattle, which is a sure way to spread the pinkeye bacteria. Read more here on how to control flies with your herd!


Pinkeye Vaccinations

While pinkeye vaccinations may have inconsistent results, speak with your veterinarian about whether a vaccine is right for your herd. The vaccine may vary in effectiveness through different areas, herds, and strains of cattle.


Tips for Treating Pinkeye:

Pinkeye is usually treated with either penicillin or oxytetracycline injections. Sprays and puffers may also be used, although they may be ineffective since it is hard to measure the amount of medication landing on the site of infection. Always change gloves and clean equipment when dealing with an infected animal, as the disease spreads easily.