Pink eye in cattle

Asked October 14, 2016, 3:32 PM EDT

How can we prevent pink eye in calves. Have used Vitamin A with some success but not complete control. Antibiotic does little to help. Have used a very good mineral with mintrex trace mineral. Vaccinations are not working that well. Any suggestions you might have would be beneficial. Thank you.


3 Responses

Hi and thanks for your question to eXtension. Pink eye in calves (and cows) can be really difficult to control. It has been a particularly challenging year. Effective fly control (tags with rotation of product from year to year and a feed through IGR product that kills larva provided in mineral supplement) can help. A big challenge in mid to late summer is mechanical abrasion to the eye due to tall grass or dusty feedstuffs. The irritation can cause additional secretions from the eye attracting flies that can transmit the bacteria between animals. Mowing or clipping pastures can help, but often is not a practical solution in more extensive operations.

You should consult with your herd veterinarian regarding vaccination. There now appears to be two strains of bacteria associated with pinkeye in cattle. These are Moraxcella bovis and Moraxcella bovoculi. Many vaccines only have the bovis species related isolates. It maybe worthwhile to culture a few of the cases in your herd to identify the specific pathogen.

What time of year are you experiencing the most significant problems?

We have had some isolated pastures this summer, but the concern I'm having is with some 2 week old fall born calves. There are little if any flies on these cattle. We have used IGR all summer with excellent fly reduction. Still does not make sense these calves are getting pink eye this late in the season. Any other suggestions to how I can prevent this situation form happening again.

Hi and thanks for reply. Please email me your contact info. Send to I will pass along to our extension vet for some assistance ASAP. Yes a bit odd for neonates and falls to have an issue already. BW