US – Montana cattlemen are being reminded about the dangers of Pinkeye in grazing cattle as spring draws near.
The highly infectious condition, while not fatal, has a marked impact on the cattle industry, according to Montana-based beef specialist Rachel Endecott, who noted a rise in cases last year.
She has warned farmers of the many ways the bacteria – Moraxella bovis – can infect the inside lining membrane of the eyelid (the conjunctiva).
Her advice is that a multifaceted approach is best to stop the condition returning in 2014.
“A thorough fly control programme is a critical step to limit the spread of pinkeye in a herd,” said Mrs Endecott. “Pinkeye vaccines are also available and can help boost the animal’s immune system against the Moraxella bovis bacteria.
And she added that timing mattered: “It’s important to vaccinate before fly season and to follow label directions to achieve maximum benefit.”
However, Mrs Endecott cautioned that vaccination does not completely stop Pinkeye, although it does reduce its severity.
Furthermore, there are two strains of Pinkeye and this may mean some vaccines are more helpful than others.
“Differences are probably related to strain differences between the pinkeye strain affecting a herd and the strain included in the vaccine.”
And she adds: “Moraxella branhamella ovis has been isolated from some pinkeye cases and has been found to possess many of the same virulence factors as M. bovis, but only M. bovis is found in pinkeye vaccine.”
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