Cancer eye and pink eye are two of these conditions.
Ocular squamous cell carcinoma or cancer eye is one of the most common cancers we see in cows. The cancer usually begins on the 3rd eyelid but spreads into the eye and surrounding tissue over time. When picked up early and contained to the third eyelid, the cancer can be easily removed reducing the chance of recurrence. Later on, it is very difficult to remove all of the cancer making recurrence likely and prognosis poor. Cows cannot be transported with any eye cancer that is larger than 2cm, has any discharge or is no longer confined to just the eye or eyelid.
Pink eye is a painful and highly contagious infection caused by the bacteria Moraxella bovis. Infected animals develop weepy eyes which without treatment will become ulcerated, cloudy and can eventually rupture after pus builds up inside the eye.
Both conditions left untreated cause prolonged pain and distress and as such are serious welfare issues. If you notice any weepy eyes or growths on the eyes/eyelids please draft the cow and have a closer look. The sooner it gets sorted the better the prognosis and welfare of these lovely girls.
Dr Jenetta Forsyth, Farm Vet at Te Kauwhata & Taupiri