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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Vets warn of potential rise in pinkeye cases

Hunter Local Land Services‘ District Vets are urging landholders, particularly cattle farmers, to prepare now for a potential rise in pinkeye cases over the next few weeks.

Pinkeye is a bacterial infection of the eye that causes inflammation and, in severe cases, temporary or permanent blindness.

Cases of pinkeye are spreading rapidly within the Hunter Region, and livestock may be at risk.

Professionals are warning that ongoing hot weather may cause cattle to bunch together under shade trees, creating perfect conditions for pinkeye to be shared.

Both close contact, and flies, among cattle can encourage the condition to spread.

District Vet Jim Kerr said now was the time to look at treatment options.

“Those who haven’t vaccinated against pinkeye might be wise to consider how and where they might source antibiotic eye ointment to treat affected animals if cases occur over the inconvenient Christmas/New Year period,” Dr Kerr said.

“These very effective ointments can only be obtained from veterinarians. Alternative antibiotic medication can generally be bought at produce merchants.”

Dr Kerr also recommended insect deterrents, in addition to vaccinations and antibiotics.

“Similarly, it might be prudent to consider where you might obtain pour-on fly repellants or insecticidal ear tags during the holiday break, as fly control is an important part of controlling a pinkeye outbreak,” he said.

Dr Kerr would also like to remind farmers just how serious this infection could be.

“Most cattle producers will be familiar with pinkeye but may not know how best to treat it and minimise it’s spread within a herd,” he said.

“Pinkeye is a painful, debilitating condition that can severely affect animal productivity.”

For anyone seeking further information, it is recommended they contact their local, private, or district veterinarian.

Livestock owners are also encouraged to get in touch with Hunter LLS on 1300 795 299 if needed.

Further information on pinkeye prevention, diagnosis, and treatment is available here.