(Dr. Dan) Hi there and welcome to DocTalk. We’re sure glad you joined us today. We’re gonna have a great show. We’re gonna talk about pink eye in cattle. My guest today is Dr. Matt Miesner and he’s an Associate Clinical Professor here at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. It’s bound to be a great show. Stay tuned.
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(Dr. Dan) Matt, welcome to the show. (Male) Glad to be here again. (Dr. Dan) Well it’s always a pleasure to have you here and, folks, Dr. Matt Miesner is an Associate Clinical Professor here at the Veterinary Health Center and he is Boarded in Large Animal Internal Medicine and, Matt, we’re gonna talk about something that’s very common in cattle. It’s something we see every summer, pink eye, and let’s start out discussing, what are some of the things that causes pink eye? (Male) Sure. Kind of as we discussed before, it’s kind of becoming a hot topic about this time of year is pink eye and problems with cattle and their eye and pink eye’s probably one of the more common ones that we see and it’s an infectious problem of the eye and actually, there are some specific bacteria that we talk about that cause the infection, but what we find is that we have a lot of other players in the environment that come into aid them bugs and this time of year, those things are coming about, sunshine and dust and things like that. (Dr. Dan) It’s kind of like when we talk to students, tell them there’s two reasons animals get sick, either an overwhelming dose of a pathogen or a suppressed immune system and this is really one of those that is an example of that. (Male) Exactly, yeah. I mean the specific bugs that we talk about causing it, one being the Moraxella bovis and you’ll see that in a lot of vaccines and I will see that bug, but, and it can cause problems, but it usually needs something to help it toehold and something disrupts the eye or their immune system’s poor and then all of the sudden, we start to see this type of infection show up and it can be pretty devastating and just run wild through the herd. (Dr. Dan) So when we start to talk about some of the different things that, you know, we talk about in Moraxella bovis and some of the infectious agents. What are some of the non-infectious agents that can help set-up pink eye or cause something like pink eye? (Male) Irritants, so an irritant such as dust, grass-on’s, sometimes composted bedding, sunlight, anything to irritate to surface of the eye or that cornea allows that bacteria that sometimes can be on the eye normally, just grab a toehold and then cause this horrendous infection. (Dr. Dan) What about flies? (Male) Flies, yeah, flies are irritating. Not only do they disrupt the eye and scratch it up, but then they’ll grab it and go right straight to the next one, you know, so they can carry that. (Dr. Dan) And we see that with food borne pathogens like E. coli with fly’s transmission and, so, they could actually carry the bacteria from one animal to the other. (Male) Yeah, that probably some of the ways we get these massive spreads through a herd when we have an outbreak is flies and fly control and they’re irritating and they’re just nasty little bugs. (Dr. Dan) Yeah. Well I think it’s important to understand the bugs and I think it’s important to understand the irritants. When we come back from the break, let’s jump in and start talking about how we diagnose some of these problems and move forward with pink eye. (Male) Great. (Dr. Dan) You’re watching DocTalk. We’re glad you joined us.
(Dr. Dan) Welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University and I’m joined by Dr. Matt Miesner who is an Associate Clinical Professor here at the Veterinary Health Center and he’s also a Boarded Large Animal Internal Medicine Specialist and, Matt, we’re talking about what causes pink eye. Now let’s get back to, you know, a lot of people can diagnose or have seen pink eye cases, but let’s go through what you see as kind of the clinical signs first of pink eye and different levels of severity. (Male) And we certainly see a lot of cattle sent in with a white eye that may or may not turn out to be pink eye, but the biggest thing about pink eye is we’ll see these kind of very nice centered looking like scars right in the middle of the eye and they really rapidly spread. The big thing about pink eye is it’s very painful, you know, so they’re tearing a lot and there’s a lot of watering eyes and squinting and trying to stay out of the sun, then it’ll get to where it almost looks kind of abscessed or infected where you have this kind of white area that kind of spreads across the eye. The surrounding portion of that eye just gets really irritated and angry and it’s very painful and, so, at that point, it would get a sticker in it and there’s still a sticker in it or are we dealing with a pink eye problem that could be an outbreak of kind of some situation that we need to deal with. (Dr. Dan) You know you see how these cases can manifest and some of them get little bitty scars and some get that pop eye and, you know, is there anything to the severity? Is it more of a calf-by-calf situation or? (Male) I think you get back to a little bit like we talked about before, we can overwhelming dose an individual immune system and, so, a lot of their immunity to fight this thing off is in their tears and some have a more specific immunity to that bug and these bugs can change rapidly, even within an outbreak to where that immunity that’s on that individual calf may not be totally effective and, so, we’ll see some of them just have massive infections and others seem to be status quo for a little bit longer, but yeah, there’s some quite a bit individual variation. (Dr. Dan) And we always recommend people work with their local practitioner. What are some of the things practitioners might do to get a better diagnosis of what’s going on? Of course we do the clinical exam and the physical exam, but what are some things diagnostically that we might do? (Male) Well if we’re looking for a specific bug, they can culture. We can take swabs, we can send them to the diagnostic lab and they can tell us what bacteria, what bug is there and is it one of these that are pink eye bugs, but I always tell people too, every single one that we swab, take you finger and sweep it through the back of the eye and look for grass-on’s, you know, so that’s part of the diagnosis is, yeah, we’re gonna find a bug, but we’re also gonna try to make some other management tools to prevent the risk factors and, so, hey, we’ve got a bunch of grass-on’s, better get these things out and then we’ll figure out what bug we got, so yeah, a bunch of different ways to do that. (Dr. Dan) So what are some of the other differentials that might be on your list? (Male) Oh, we’ve seen viral things like IBR’s and BVD’s and, you know, just overall traumas and in older cattle, we might see some that think they’re cancer eyes or different situations, some odd situations and I’ve seen white eyes where they were just bacterial infections in the eye or an eye infection, so there’s several different things to be, but it’s pretty (Dr. Dan) Pretty clear. (Male) yeah, it’s pretty clear for the most part. (Dr. Dan) When we come back from the break, we’re gonna talk with Dr. Miesner more. We’re gonna talk about how to treat those pink eye cases. You’re watching DocTalk. We’re glad you joined us and we’ll see you in a minute.
(Dr. Dan) Hi there and welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Matt Miesner and Dr. Miesner is a Boarded Large Animal Internal Medicine Specialist here at the Veterinary Health Center. He’s also an Associate Clinical Professor at Kansas State University. We’ve been talking about pink eye and we’re gonna talk about treatment and before we jump into, the one thing we always recommend on DocTalk is that they have a valid veterinary-client patient relationship and that they work with their veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis and plan of attack on treatments because as we discusses during the break, there’s more than one way to skin a cat on pink eye treatment. (Male) Absolutely, yeah, and, you know, I don’t really think there’s a wrong way to treat them. I think that you’re gonna find several different methods and what works for your veterinarian works for your veterinarian because it’s worked for your veterinarian and, so, if that’s where we want to go, we can stay up with current thoughts and current trends on bugs and antibiotic sensitivities and whenever they get that chance to culture and do a sensitivity, they might pick a specific antibiotic this time, whereas they might pick another the next time, you know, it just depends what they’re gonna do. It’s nice to have that, but, so an antibiotic is one of those things that we like to have direction on, but we don’t always, so we may just kind of randomly pick one initially and see if it’s gonna work. Next thing, I’ve seen procedures where the biggest thing is getting them out of the sun, protecting that eye. It hurts as long as that sun’s beating on them, so we may glue a patch on. (Dr. Dan) Get the irritants, the sun, the flies, the dust, get it off of there. (Male) To protect them I’ve seen a patch glued on. There was a time where I was cutting old Levi’s to make patches that we could glue on the eye and also prevents flies from getting on that and going to the next one. I’ve seen other situations where we’re injecting penicillin near or around the eye and then covering it with a suture, you know, so that’s another method that you might have seen or any of the people might have seen their veterinarians do, depends on facilities, what you have to work with, where you’re at and how you’re gonna treat those, but it’s nice to get on it and have a direction and stick with it and make some scientific choices through the course. (Dr. Dan) Any preference for use? Systemic verses the localized injection of antibiotic? (Male) Well everything that I have read has shown that either a systemic antibiotic, there’s a couple mentioned, or the locals, the duration of the disease is about the same. You know most of the big studies looking at overall cure rates and time, they’re all about the same. You know one thing I do advocate is an anti-inflammatory though because those eyes hurt. (Dr. Dan) What would be some examples of anti- inflammatories? (Male) Flunixin, Banamine and I’ve even seen Dexamethasone or steroids used, depending on how bad they are. (Dr. Dan) Just to help with the pain of the eye and reduce inflammation around that cornea. (Male) Right and some of them get bad enough that they get beyond treatment and then at that point, it’s probably a good idea just to take the eye out, so we’ve had to go that far too. (Dr. Dan) So antibiotic, systemic or local, get an anti-inflammatory and if it gets bad enough, we may have to remove the eye. (Male) Right, yep. (Dr. Dan) It’s great. We’re gonna take a break. When we come back from the break, we’re gonna talk about ways to prevent pink eye from occurring in your herd. Dr. Matt Miesner is joining me today. You’re watching DocTalk. We’re sure glad you joined us.
(Dr. Dan) Hi there, folks. Welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Matt Miesner from the Veterinary Health Center. He’s a Boarded Large Animal Internal Medicine Specialist and he is an Associate Clinical Professor and we have been talking about pink eye and it’s something that happens in all the cow herds and we’ve gone through the causes, the bugs, the ways to diagnose, treatments and now we’re gonna talk about prevention and I told Matt during the break, I said, We better start out with vaccines because that’s the one everybody’s gonna want to know about right off the bat and what are some of the general thoughts or opinions on vaccinations for pink eye? (Male) The general thoughts is, you know, they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t have some benefit and I believe they do and then there’s also the vaccines that we have that we can culture that bug, you can send it into a lab an have that bug made into a vaccine, meaning an ontonginist vaccine and I’ve heard all of those used and then back on my side, I kind of look at the evidence and try to figure out is a cure all? No, it’s one of these bugs that they can change so readily within an outbreak from year-to-year, from herd-to-herd. There’s a couple of different bugs that they’re actually questioning now, so it’s pretty wide. It can help. I think pretty much the consensus is if you use your vaccine and it’s not really cutting the mustard, you might spend more of that money on some other preventative measures, you know, which we get into secondly, but the vaccines that are there, they’re a good tool, use them. If they’re not working then we need to kind of focus on the other five or six different problems. (Dr. Dan) Things that might make a little bigger difference. (Male) Because treatment is a nightmare. It’s one of those, when you get into a big mess, it is a lot of labor and a lot of work and a lot of frustration, so prevention is the big key here. (Dr. Dan) What are some of the other, you know, we talk about the irritants. What are some of the other things that we might do to kind of prevent? (Male) Sure. So, you know, the irritants, being grass-on’s and dust, so we can limit dust by if we have the ability to keep moisture on the ground and in pens. We can mow seed heads off the pastures to limit all the grass-on’s that could get in there and irritate the eye. We can have shades just to keep that under control, UV light, fly tags, you know, different things, fly preventions, you know, those are huge and if, you know, you can get all those added up in an efficient way, I think we can limit it. I have clients that will start mowing pastures here just to limit their exposure and kind of irritants for pink eye. They’ve had it in the past and that’s one thing that works to limit it and, so. (Dr. Dan) Well, and I’ve even seen some deals on fly control that’ll be coming out, fly control delivered in a paint ball gun. It could be kind of fun, a way to get rid of flies in here. (Male) Yeah, and then lastly, I think good nutrition, you know, good, strong nutrition, keep them healthy, keep their immune system going, you know, trace minerals and overall energy I think will keep them healthy. (Dr. Dan) Well appreciate you being here today. (Male) Sure. (Dr. Dan) Appreciate you joining us too. If you want to know more about what Dr. Miesner and I do here at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu and remember, we always recommend that you work with your local practitioner. You’ve been watching DocTalk today. We’ve been talking about pink eye. We’re really glad you joined us. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. I’ll see you down the road.
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