Pinkeye is caused by the predatory bacteria, M. bovis and/or M. bovoculi, attaching to the cornea of the eye and producing pain, irritation and blindness. Proper nutrition plays a significant role in the natural immune response of the animal.
Providing fresh water to cattle as opposed to stagnant pond water will induce the animal to drink more, which keeps the eyes hydrated. The natural tearing process protects the eye from pollen and dust and allows the eye to recover faster from irritation. Excessive tearing caused by irritated eyes has the adverse effect of drawing face flies, which carry and spread the M. bovis bacteria. It is not always possible to provide fresh water, but water does play a significant part in overall animal health.
Offering a high quality free-choice mineral to grazing animals is also important. Copper, selenium and zinc and other trace minerals are deficient in many soils and should be included along with sodium (salt), calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Vitamin A also helps insure the integrity of the cornea, so supplementation may be helpful if the available grass is mature or low quality. Adequate nutrition provides for the best natural immune response to prevent the pinkeye bacteria from taking hold.
A sick animal is more susceptible to pinkeye. Without a comprehensive vaccination program, animals may become infected with IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis), BVD (bovine viral diarrhea), mycoplasma, Branhemella ovis, chlamydia or other organisms which can increase the incidence and severity of pinkeye. Keeping the overall herd health in top shape along with the other Key elements of pinkeye prevention will have a huge impact on susceptibility and shortening the treatment time of a pinkeye outbreak.
Speak with your veterinarian about the correct nutrition and vaccination plan for your herd, or give one of our experienced veterinarians a call for product information. 1-800-468-0059