To treat pink eye among cattle, the animals should be protected from sunlight and put on an oxytetracycline antibiotic, according to Dave Sjeklocha of Beef magazine. The pastures should also be kept trimmed to lessen irritation and control the fly population that spreads pink eye.
The easiest way to control and treat pink eye is to begin the process early, states Dr. W. Dee Whittier of North Carolina State University. If the eye is treated before it clouds over, the chances of it healing completely with an antibiotic regimen are very high. A herd veterinarian may choose to inject the antibiotic under the layer covering the eyeball, but this is a risky procedure and can permanently injure or blind the cow. A patch over the eye not only blocks the eye from the ultraviolet rays that activate the enzymes irritating the eye, but also prevents face flies from landing and further spreading the disease. In severe cases, a herd veterinarian can suture the eye shut.
Controlling the face fly population among a herd of cattle is crucial for preventing pink eye from spreading to every animal, reports Sjeklocha. Face flies spend very little time on one individual and can land on several cows each day.