Pink Eye in cattle


Pink eye is a highly infectious eye disease caused by a bacteria called Moraxella Bovis, seen mostly in the Summer due to the spread by flies which feed on the mucous of infected cattle. Mild abrasion to the eye from dust and low grazing stalky pastures can increase the risk of infection. Infection spreads rapidly within a group, so prompt and correct treatment is crucial to control.


The disease can range from mild conjunctivitis (inflammation of the soft tissue around the eye) to severe corneal ulceration and eye rupture.

Signs can progress depending on duration and severity of disease.

  • Weepy eyes
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Eye cloudiness
  • Pus in eye
  • Rupture of eye

The infection can spread rapidly through a group, so often where one animal is seen with severe disease, there will usually be other animals in the early stages of infection. Latter stages of the disease can cause temporary or even permanent blindness.


Pink eye is a very painful condition and a serious welfare issue if untreated. Affected animals will have reduced feed intakes and growth rates and severely affected animals face permanent blindness.


Affected animals should be removed from the unaffected as soon as possible to reduce spread in the group and ensure quick treatment. You may need to go back through the unaffected group for a few days to pull out any new cases.

Treatment options include topical antibiotic creams, intramuscular antibiotic injection, or sub-conjunctival antibiotic injection. Severely affected animals should be housed with easy access to food and water as they are very sensitive to sunlight and may struggle to found food if they ae blind. Treatment in the early stages is usually effective, but case with more sever eye damage may not e recoverable.