Some areas of the country, especially southern portions, are seeing a higher-than-normal incidence of pinkeye in cattle this year.
Doug Scholz of Novartis Animal Health says heavy populations of face flies are a big part of the problem. The flies can irritate the eye and play a major role in transmitting the disease from animal to animal.
Sholz says while pinkeye may be a seasonal disease, it ranks high on the list of most expensive cattle health issues.
“When we look at weaning weights—if the calf has one infected eye, they’ll wean about 17 pounds lighter than their cohorts,” Scholz says, “and if it’s a case where the calf gets both eyes infected, they’ll wean about 65 pounds lighter.”
Scholz says fly control is an important part of pinkeye prevention programs. And he says it’s not too late for pinkeye vaccinations, with months of flies still ahead in the Midwest and Plains states.
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