Written by Dr Phil Rennie of Tauranga, Te Puna, Katikati, Papamoa Village Vets
Pink eye is a nasty disease that usually occurs in the summer and autumn seasons causing sore inflamed eyes. Pink eye is caused by highly contagious bacteria. In the case of cattle Moraxella bovis is the main culprit, while Chlamydia spp is the primary cause of infection in sheep.
The disease can be transferred easily from animal to animal by way of flies or simply brushing up against common things like the seed heads on long grass. Pink eye can range from a mild irritation to painful eye ulcers and if advanced lead to irreversible blindness. Any sign of eye irritation in your animals deserves a closer look especially during these warm summer months.
An important part of control is to separate out affected animals from the rest of the group. Blindness can develop as soon as 2-3 days after the initial infection, so time is of the essence in terms of tending pink eye individuals. Fortunately, there is effective antibiotic medication & the ability to prevent the disease through pre-emptive vaccination before the onset of the typical seasonal challenge. For these options and more information on this condition feel free to contact your local vet clinic.