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A Patch in time for Pinkeye treatment

Many producers in the Manning Great Lakes and wider Hunter district are experiencing issues with Pinkeye in cattle. Pinkeye is a painful bacterial infection of the eye caused by a bacteria, Moraxella bovis . The bacteria produces a toxin that causes an aggressive inflammation of the eye and if untreated can result in blindness and loss of the eye.

Here are some tips on treatment by District Veterinarian, Dr Lyndell Stone:

Whilst good fly control and use of vaccination are key preventative measures, early treatment should be provided to cattle affected by Pinkeye. Early treatment with an antibiotic cream (Orbenin or Opticlox eye cream available from your private vet) and an eye patch for affected cattle is recommended. The antibiotic cream should be applied to both eyes even if only one eye is showing signs of infection in order to prevent the infection spreading to the good eye.

Always treat the unaffected eye first using a clean tube of ointment and clean hands. Always clean your hands after treating an infected eye in one animal before examining/treating the eye of the next animal, or you may spread the infection.The cream is deposited into the conjunctival sac (the space between the eyelid and the eye). This is achieved by pulling the eyelid out to make a pocket for the cream and the affected eye can then be patched. It is important that adequate antibiotic cream is used. 1/3 tube per eye is recommended.

The use of an eye patch in addition to the eye cream can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the treatment, increases the animals’ level of comfort and can reduce the opportunity for flies to spread the bacteria to other animals. A dust mask glued to the skin makes an effective eye patch as shown in the attached photo. For serious cases or valuable animals, such as stud stock, seek specific veterinary attention as additional treatment can be provided by your vet.

The hot dry dusty weather, flies and congregation of cattle around feeders can contribute to increased rates of Pinkeye in cattle. Some producers are finding that groups of cattle in paddocks with thistles or dry long scratchy grass are particularly problematic. Dust and rough feed can scratch the cornea making it easier for the bacteria to infect the eye and long grass can be a repository for eye secretions containing bacteria. 
Fly control is crucial to reduce the transmission of the bacteria, even if you are using the pink eye vaccine as a preventative. 
Many producers are having good effect with the use of insecticidal ear tags.

If a proportion of your herd is suffering from pink eye, congregating cattle in dusty yards can facilitate spread. Dampening the yards can help to reduce this, as can yarding in the morning when less flies and good fly control.
The early sign of Pinkeye is a watery discharge from the eye, the membranes of the eye become red and a white spot (ulcer) develops. If not treated the ulcer can affect the whole eye and the animal can lose sight or the eye can rupture – very painful for the animal at all stages! The pain of pink eye reduces weight gain and if they get to the stage of the animal in the photo, where both eyes are affected, they can die from starvation, thirst and accidents. However, no eye is beyond hope. Even animals that are completely blind when treated often recover to the extent of regaining some sighth.

Further information on Pinkeye prevention, diagnosis and treatment is available here https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/…/0…/103904/pinkeye-in-cattle.pdf or speak to your private or district veterinarian.