How to treat cow eye cataract | Pink Eye in Cow


Infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis (IBK, "Pink eye"):

IBK is a highly contagious disease caused by a bacterium Moraxella bovis that can spread rapidly during the summer months. It is more commonly seen in young stock than adults.
Head and nuisance flies can act as mechanical vectors for M. bovis and dust is a risk factor. The pain associated with this condition is more intense in strong sunlight.
Most eye lesions are selected for treatment on the basis of obvious tear-staining of the face which becomes thicker and opaque, matting the lashes and hair of the face. There is marked pain when the eye is exposed to direct sunlight.

cataract in cow

The eye lesions are very painful and disrupt grazing patterns causing poor performance and even weight loss. Lesions in both eyes cause temporary blindness and the affected animals tend to wander aimlessly about.
Clinical Signs
▪tear-staining of the face
▪pus matting the lashes and hair of the face
▪corneal ulceration
▪pain when the eye is exposed to direct sunlight
Spontaneous recovery may occur in mild cases three to five days after clinical signs are first observed, and is complete two weeks later. In severe cases, ulceration may progress to corneal perforation (rupture of the eye).
The main differential diagnoses your veterinary practitioner will consider include
• foreign bodies (e.g. grass awns) within the conjunctival sac, bovine iritis
• infectious bovine rhino tracheitis (IBR).
Prompt treatment is essential.
Topical ophthalmic antibiotic cream containing cloxacillin is commonly used. Antibiotic injection (e.g. with penicillin or oxytetracycline) into the conjunctiva around the upper part of the globe can be very effective but is difficult to achieve in fractious cattle and requires good restraint. Injection into the upper eyelid conjunctiva is commonly used but this technique will not give residual antibiotic levels in the eye and relies on leakage onto the cornea from the injection site. This technique has no advantage over injection into the muscle except for the lower antibiotic dose.
When subconjunctival or topical treatment is not practical then a single dose of long acting oxytetracycline or florfenicol, have been reported to be effective (but more expensive).
In severe cases vets can suture the eyelids together under local anesthesia around the eyelids to block the nerve supply. The sutures must not contact the cornea and are removed after two weeks.
Temporary adhesive eye patches can also be used to provide protection from environmental conditions. Severely affected cattle should be housed with ready access to food and water.
Injection of all at-risk cattle with a single intramuscular dose of long-acting oxytetracycline could be considered in severe epidemics but there are no supporting field data.

Prevention and Control

Outbreaks of IBK may occur after the introduction of purchased stock therefore, whenever possible, all new stock should be managed separately as one group away from the main herd.
Fly control using ear tags and pour-on insecticides is never absolute and repeated treatments prove costly.
Development of immunity following infection is variable.

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