Wet weather brings livestock disease concerns

Wet weather brings livestock disease concerns

Pinkeye, foot rot prevalent in cattle grazing wet fields

Risks of foot rot and pinkeye are higher among livestock grazing flooded or muddy pastures as both bacterial infections thrive in wet conditions, a Purdue Extension veterinary specialist says.

Related: Cure Pinkeye With Oxygen Therapy?

Consistent rains have impacted the Midwest during the spring and summer, leaving behind not only saturated farm fields but also saturated pastures.

"Under the circumstances, it is even more important for livestock producers to carefully monitor their animals' health," said W. Mark Hilton, clinical professor of food animal production medicine.

Cattle grazing in flooded or muddy fields have a higher risk of contracting the bacterial infections foot rot and pinkeye. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)

Cattle with foot rot typically have a swollen foot with the toes, or "claws," spread out more than usual. The tissue above the hoof, known as the coronary band, is also swollen.

"If you are able to pick up the foot to examine it, you will see the interdigital tissue is not smooth and unbroken as it should be," Hilton said. "It has a lesion that can be mistaken for a cut from an external object. The fact is that the infection caused so much swelling that the tissue actually ruptured open."

Pinkeye issues
Pinkeye can affect cattle of all ages, but calves are especially susceptible, Hilton said.

"This results in rapid deterioration of the cornea," he said. "Early signs include excessive tearing, squinting, avoiding sunlight and pain. On examination in the chute, you might notice an ulcer in the affected eye."

Hilton said there are a variety of antibiotics that work well to treat both foot rot and pinkeye.

Related: Severe Storms Bring Wet Pastures and New Problems

"If you are sure of the diagnosis, call your herd health veterinarian for advice on the best treatment and dosage indicated," he said. "If you are unsure of the diagnosis or would like help in treatment, calling your herd health veterinarian will result in the best option for your animal."

For more information on pinkeye in cattle, download Hilton's pinkeye and foot rot Extension bulletin.

Source: Purdue

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