Pinkeye in beef cattle becomes an issue as the weather heats up in The Sunshine State; explore prevention and treatment issues.

Florida is headed into the hot season, and that means pinkeye in beef cattle can become an issue, according to a South Florida Beef-Forage Program article. Also known as infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK), pinkeye is caused by the bacteria Moraxella bovis, though other viruses also cause similar symptoms. Any issue that cause eye irritation in beef cattle, like the face flies prevalent during warm temperatures, allows an “in” for the bacteria. See the options for preventing and treating pinkeye below.

Prevention Options for Pinkeye in Beef Cattle

According to the article, “Pinkeye can cause substantial losses to the cattle industry through decreased weight gain, lowered milk production and treatment costs.” Furthermore, “Pinkeye is the most common condition affecting breeding age beef heifers,” meaning that it’s important to heard health, production, and the ranch’s bottom line to keep pinkeye at bay.

There should be a focus on preventing those issues that cause eye irritation in a management strategy to prevent pinkeye, including flies. Flies spread the disease from animal to animal. Multiple methods of control are recommended, such as fly tags, pour-ons, sprays, dust bags, back rubbers, fly traps and feed additives.

Other preventative measures include reducing tall grasses and coarse seed head that can irritate the animal’s eyes; proper nutrition, specifically vitamin A, copper, and selenium; providing shade; and the use of vaccinations.

Treatments for Pinkeye

Pinkeye is treatable, but it must begin early in order to prevent injury to the eye. Make sure a veterinarian diagnoses the issue as pink eye, as there are other infections that can be confused for pinkeye.

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