Pinkeye

As I visit with producers across the country the subject of pinkeye in cattle seems to be coming up more in recent years than ever
before. The outbreaks seem more severe and the resistance to the normal use of tetracyclines seems to be less effective in controlling this disease.

The economic costs of pinkeye are staggering nationwide. It is estimated that the cost in lack of production in the US is around 200 million dollars. In Missouri, this figure has been estimated at 18 million dollars. Tests have shown that animals with pinkeye tend to have 25-40 pound less weaning weight than non-affected animals. These figures alone are significant.

This year I have nearly 100 heifers in a background program that I am developing into cows. Keeping good eye health in a breeding herd is of upmost importance.I vaccinated these calves with the pinkeye vaccine when they first entered the lot and gave a booster to them again several weeks later.

Even after the second round of vaccinations I still found an unacceptable number of breaks with pinkeye. Because this disease is so highly contagious, I gave the entire group a round of LA300. This antibiotic did only a marginal job of clearing up the problem. After a week, I had to pull several calves that showed no improvement and administered Zeprevo to clean up the remaining problems.

This prompted me to research about what is happening and how this problem can be handled differently. I have found that pinkeye can be caused by two different types of organisms. The first and most common organism, Moraxella Bovis, is treated easily with long lasting tetracyclines. Prevention is done with the vaccines that we have used for several years with good results. The new bug on the block is what I believe is causing our problems. This causative agent is Moraxella Bovoculi. This organism is resistant to the antibiotic treatments that most of us have used in the past. It also seems that the M. Bovis vaccine doesn’t do an acceptable job in controlling this strain either. Recently, there has been a vaccine produced that controls Brovoculi. Veterinary professionals that I have talked to strongly suggest that producers with a history of pinkeye breakouts add this additional vaccine to their cattle health program. From personal experience, I can attest that a preventive measure like this additional vaccine is much more cost effective than having to the handle and give additional antibiotic treatments to
sick animals.

As you sell cattle this year, pay attention to the economic loss that your operations have had due
to Pinkeye.
· Are blue eyes being cut out and discounted in
the ring?
· Are these discounted animals as big as the rest
of the herd?
The sale ring doesn’t lie and I feel that we as beef producers need to maximize the value of every animal that exits our operation.

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