Infection Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis ("pinkeye") is a common problem seen in beef herds particularly in the summer months. Pinkeye is casued by a bacteria (Moraxella bovis). This bacteria is naturally present in the eye of most bovine. When there is insult to the cornea of the eye, it allows this bacteria to colonize and start the disease process known as pinkeye. This disease can be very costly, as it can be severe enough to cause permanent blindness if gone untreated in certain cases.
Here are a few things to focus on that will greatly reduce the risk of a pinkeye outbreak in your herd.
- Face Fly Control: This is very important, because the face fly serves as a transmitter of pinkeye within your herd. There are several methods of fly control (click HERE for more information), but the most critical for the face flies would be the application of fly tags.
- Pasture Management: Clipping pastures can also help with pinkeye prevention. Tall grass with seed heads can be irritating to a cow's cornea as they graze, thus allowing for bacterial colonization of the eye and subsequent pinkeye. So clipping grass to a more reasonable length can help reduc pinkeye occurrence.
- Pinkeye Vaccination: There are commercially available "pinkeye vaccines," and these can be very effective in the prevention of pinkeye in a herd. This vaccine should be administered annually every spring.