Pinkeye is a highly contagious infectious disease affecting the eyes of cattle. The name describes the redness and inflammation of the lining of the eyelid and eyeball, an early sign of the disease. This common disease can vary in its severity from year to year.

Although pinkeye rarely causes the death of affected cattle, it can cause substantial losses to the cattle industry through decreased weight gain, lowered milk production and treatment costs.

Pinkeye is known to occur at all seasons of the year and in all breeds of cattle. Pinkeye can occur in one or both eyes. Excessive weeping of the affected eye and closure due to pain are the two signs most commonly observed.

As the disease progresses, the cornea becomes cloudy or white. An ulcer frequently develops near the center of the cornea. Blood vessels often extend into the cornea from the white of the eye as the healing processes begin.

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Read Dave Sjeklocha's April column, Busting Pinkeye in Cattle.