It's a Bull! Pink Eye : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

While I was gone on my tour to Israel our holstein heifer had her first calf--a bull. My family had dreaded dealing with this without me being home, but they did wonderfully (actually, Bessie handled it without any human help).

The calf was born eight days ago, now. Six days after birth we noticed fairly large whitish bulges on his eyes. All the symptoms pointed to pink eye. We apparently had not been checking the calf very closely since we had been letting him nurse, rather than bottle-feeding him (see my other question regarding mastitis). Yesterday I took him to the vet and she concurred that we are dealing with relatively advanced stages of pink eye. She predicts he'll be nearly blind in one of the eyes, but that the other will likely heal with the medication she prescribed. Ugh!

It appears that our best preventive strategy is fly control, but although I've gathered a bit of information, we haven't really dealt with this aggressively. We're not total purists, but we tend to opt for organic strategies whenever possible. I'm afraid my negligence in not either using chemical options or aggressively applying alternative means has cost me this time.

The vet shot something in each eye ("PPG Subconj." is what it looks like on the invoice) and then injected 6 cc of LA 200. I am to repeat the LA 200 injection 72 hours later. She also gave him a 50 mg injection of what looks like "Benamine 1M" (pain killer?).

Can anyone think of anything else I should do (or should have done differently)?

-- Jonathan Lindvall (, June 10, 2000


Did your vet give purple stuff to spray in his eye every day or so? I have no idea what it really is, but it will stain your hands if you get it on them. We had calves with pink eye and the vet gave them shots in their eye and sewed the really bad eyes (like yours) shut. The others had to have purple stuff every day or so and we had to spray the sewed eyes as well. All of our calves fully recovered and there were a couple that they thought would have a bad spot.

Here in southern Iowa fly control is a major problem and we have some Herefords which are prone to pink eye. We just watch and the first cloudiness, they get purple stuff and that has worked well. Only one major problem last year that had to have it's eye sewed shut.

-- beckie (, June 11, 2000.

The purple stuff that Becky is referring to is gentian violet. It is a common herbal vet remedy. I haven't seen it in years, but I haven't looked, either. It is sprayed or rubbed on and around the eyes of all the cattle as treatment and preventative. It is also used to treat ringworm.

Pink eye or conjunctivitis, I think can be either bacterial or fungal. The last time I had to deal with it, it was erythimiacyn(?) in the eyes daily for everyone.

When I was a kid, if a calves had pink-eye so did one of us kids and the treatments were pretty much the same.

-- Laura (, June 16, 2000.

I guess I have been lucky, but in a couple of hundred calves (predominately beef), I have not had a case of pink eye in a calf (although one went blind shortly after birth, it eventually died). In my entire herd last year (about 100 critters), I didn't have any pink eye. I suspect it was because I started using flytags on my cows and bulls. They don't affect a cow's organic nature as they don't absorbe the chemicals. Chemicals in the tags keep flies away from the eyes. I only use one in one ear, although the manufacturer recommends one in each ear. They cost about $1.25 each, so are cheap insurance. I believe pink eye is predominately spread by flies so as one posting above mentioned, fly control is very important. Jeffers (800-533-3377) sells pink eye vaccines and one treatment ointment. I have found Jeffers prices, including shipping, to be significantly cheaper than the local Farmers' Co-op. Ask your vet about giving a pink eye vaccine soon after brith.

-- Ken Scharabok (, June 16, 2000.

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