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Management to reduce cattle herd pinkeye issues

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“As summer approaches, environmental factors are present to cause pinkeye in cattle,” University of Missouri Extension Livestock Field Specialist Patrick Davis said.  

Davis said pinkeye can lead to reduced cattle performance which negatively impacts cattle operation profitability.  

“The main culprit bacteria that causes pinkeye is Moraxella bovis,” Davis said.  

Face flies irritate the eye and transmit the bacteria causing pinkeye. 

“Face fly control is a management strategy to reduce the incidence of pinkeye,” Davis said.  

Fly control methods include backrubbers, dust bags, insecticide products and oral larvicides. As fly populations increase with summer, Davis urges cattle producers to utilize the best fly control methods to control flies and pinkeye in their cattle herd.

“Plant material and dust can irritate the eye and contribute to pinkeye problems,” Davis said. 

As summer approaches, cool season forages mature and during grazing, seed heads can irritate the eye leading to pinkeye.  

The summer heat also leads to a dry, dusty environment, which can irritate the eye leading to pinkeye.  

Davis urges cattle producers to clip pastures to reduce seedheads, eye irritation and incidence of pink eye.      

“Large animal veterinarians can provide pinkeye prevention and treatment strategies,” Davis said.  

Vaccines are available or can be developed to help reduce pinkeye issues in a cattle herd.  

Davis urges cattle producers to work with a large animal veterinarian to implement preventative and/or treatment strategies to reduce the negative impact of pinkeye in a cattle herd.  

For more information on management of environmental factors to reduce the incidence of pinkeye in a cattle herd, contact a local MU Extension livestock field specialist.

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