Sheep eye problem

Discussion in 'Livestock & Forage' started by Orkneyboy, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Orkneyboy

    Orkneyboy Member

    Over the last two weeks my sheep seem to have developed a contagious eye problem and I'm not sure what it is. Symptoms are slightly cloudy eyes that they are reluctant to fully open, with tear staining on their cheeks. I'd say that about 40 of the 130 adult sheep are now affected in one eye, with two ewes showing symptoms of blindness with both eyes affected.
    They are never fed in troughs and haven't seen any hay or silage since May, and hadn't been gathered for over a month when I noticed the first sign of it so it must be highly contagious.
    I had the cast ewes in yesterday and sprayed Alamycin spray on the infected looking eyes, but if it is as contagious as it seems am I just wasting my time and it will run its course to no long term damage? Or do I spray all troubled eyes?
  2. Dave6170

    Dave6170 Member

    Wick, caithness
    Are they nearly going blind? Could be pinkeye?
    We inject alamycin in eyelids. 1ml/eye. we had it one lambing time and it was bloody awfull. Spread by the high energy tubs they were getting. Blind ewes wandering about losing lambs all over the place.
  3. This seems to be a more common problem. We had a really bad outbreak of it two years ago and still getting a few sheep affected on occasions. Can't pinpoint what causes it and it's very distressing and time consuming to treat. Spraying helps as does antibiotics (we just inject in muscle as it is so time consuming and difficult to do eyelid). Separating affected sheep and isolating is best but easier said than done.

    They seem to develop an immunity to it but we've had some ewes that keep getting it (sorry!)

    Nightmare - I really feel for you
  4. Blod

    Blod Member

    I had a problem like this a few years ago after a particularly dry spell. They had access to an area with a lot of bracken and I'm pretty sure it was the spores from the bracken causing the problem. I couldn't get on top of it until I shut them off it.
  5. Out of interest, what is the likely hood of an ewe to be a carrier, if the flock she came from has had pink eye amongst it, in the past few months to a year? Never had it (touch wood) in my lot. But a friend is giving me some ewes as payment for a debt, and I know that in the past his flock has had some animals suffer with pink eye, which he resolved.
  6. Orkneyboy

    Orkneyboy Member

    After looking it up online I am pretty sure that it is pink eye, and I am also pretty sure that it will get way out of hand quickly since I first noticed it on a day when I had ALL of my ewes and lambs gathered. There is no good time to get it but I am just about to start selling! Where did it come from? It has been a dry summer, but this is Orkney, it is never THAT dry and we have no problem with flies here. The only sheep I have bought in recently is 1 texel ram from a friend and neighbour who has never had it either, said ram had also been in isolation for about a month before coming into contact with the rest of my sheep.
    It also seems like I have discovered a few cases of orf in the ewes for the very first time too. What a day.
    This is a closed flock, and has been since 2008. Just 1 ewe and the odd ram bought in, who have all been treated / isolated.
  7. scholland

    scholland Member

    We had it about tupping time 4 or 5 years ago went through pretty much every bunch. Up to half of them had some symptoms several were left blind in one eye. We used powder then paste which was better then alamycin spray. Never worked out what set it off here. Tried to treat the bad ones without gathering them in and spreading it further. Sorry not much help. Think the paste was called orbenin.
  8. Keepers

    Keepers Member

    I have had pink eye go through a group of 80 in the last couple of weeks, sheep running around with eyes shut, swollen pink eyelids and tear stains running down the faces, no idea why I got this! sheep are outside 365, and arent being fed silage or anything, I isolated bought in ewes but they didnt have any eye problems anyway

    the thing that cured it fastest for me was an intramuscular injection of alamycin LA and spaying in the eye with this weird organic herb purple spray I have, sheep have looked 100% better the day after this spray and doesnt seem to sting so bad as blue spray does, although cant say for sure if its the injection thats doing it or the spray :scratchhead:

    This is it
  9. will6910

    will6910 Member

    3 of my rams that were affected by pink eye cleared up after a infection and a spray of blue spray in eye, 2 of the worse affected have had spray and cream and injections and one hasn't cleared up at all and doesn't look like he will, one is slightly better, they were treated soon as seen affected
  10. gatepost

    gatepost Member

    12-15 ml eng, or alamicin , eng I find works better, cream in eye, sometimes udder tube if that's what's to hand, I would have thought that using a spray in the eye might make it more sore as it would dry it out, very unpleasant! seem to get a case or two as soon as stormy wet weather sets in
  11. Jackson4

    Jackson4 Member

    Infective kerato conjunctivitis (IKC) i had it year before last when i had them inside... bit of a chew on, had to seperate all with it into there own pen and rub some antibiotic from a dry cow tube in. Did the trick. I noticed 3 or 4 out of 150 lambs with it yesterday which is strange cause they have been outside... can only think the dust from the barley in the 3in1 feeder is to blame. They are going fat in a few days but i'll get a tube for any remaining.
    Timbo1080 likes this.
  12. Orkneyboy

    Orkneyboy Member

    The problem is certainly not going away yet anyway.
    Got one ewe totally blind that I treated on Wednesday that had only gotten marginally better, so injected her again today. There is also one other ewe that is completely blind in one eye.
    All of the ewes are currently grazing an area of un-fenced coastal heath that is cliffs on 3 sides so keeping a close eye on them! It is amazing how the condition just falls off them when their eyes are bothering them whilst on poor grazing.
    Out of the ones that I've treated with alamycin spray alone, some have cleared up entirely, some not at all.
    Out of my 170 lambs, thankfully just 5 or so showing mild signs of it from what I can see so far, and no sign of it in my rams that are about a mile away.
  13. Cooper3075

    Cooper3075 Member

    North Derbyshire
    There are many posts on pink eye here iv posted on most no quick cure and no real answers to where it comes from we had it took nearly 12 months to go though the sheep and its cropped up in this years lambs again although mild and easy to treat lambs speared to be Easter to cure and it is worse in some breeds we have many breeds. Also 50% of the stick iv bought in this year have started with it within a couple of weeks of coming here however stick iv sold haven't been a problem to new owners as far as I know. Maybe its on the farm more than the sheep?
    Iv had it in most our Shetlands and Jacobs many going blind for days. only one Southdown out of 12 ewes and there lambs have had it so they seam more resistant our masham ewes and there lambs only ever had a runny eye and lasted a day or so same with mule ewes and lambs.
    What breeds have you all had it in as iv a feeling some breeds have natural resistance to it but Shetlands and Jacobs don't I know of a Hebridean flock getting it too.
    My Southdown,Suffolk tups never got it but the Jacob and Shetland ones in same small paddock had it bad. Oh and a Kerry hill ewe lamb I bough got it within 4 days of being here but cleared up in a day with one small bit of blue spray
  14. Walterp

    Walterp Member

    I assume everyone isolates the affected sheep?

    'Cos they spread it, especially if being fed.
  15. Orkneyboy

    Orkneyboy Member

    Well the pinkeye is still spreading but no more cases of blindness yet, just milder infections which are clearing themselves. I haven't treated/isolated any of the sheep that have pink eye that aren't blinded, as I have no way of catching them without gathering them into the handling area.
    Out of the two blind ewes, one is completely better, whilst one is still blind 7 days after I first treated her.
    How long do I wait before deciding if her sight will ever come back? And, just to add insult to injury, she also now has orf. Her mouth/nose was all cut from continuously walking into fences after I first isolated her so it was inevitable really, since I first discovered that we had orf on the same day as pinkeye recently.

    Onto the subject of orf, where can I possibly have gotten this from? And will it ever go away or linger from sheep to sheep here forever more? Is it like ringworm that will just come and go randomly over the years?
    I would like to think that it wouldn't survive an Orcadian winter! Especially since I never have any sheep kept inside apart from on days I am handling them for whatever reason.
    Like I previously mentioned, I have been stringent on bio-security ever since I started keeping sheep in 2004, and the flock has been closed since 2009 apart from 1 ewe and a few rams, which have all been isolated/treated for the required periods. We are double fenced on all sides of the farm and I'm pretty sure that none of my neighbours have it anyway.
    This whole thing has just majorly pee'd me off.
  16. Princess Pooper

    East Mids
    Pink eye / IKC / New Forest Eye in cattle is spread largely by flies (as opposed to silage eye). We've got it in our dairy cows for the first time in years, including in the milkers, just got some orbenin ophthalmic to treat (as no milk withhold, other antibiotic tubes not designed for eye application would need a 7-day off label milk withhold). Although it appears to be slightly different in sheep and there are the snow blindness forms as well, could flies be the problem spreading it in the sheep?
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  17. gatepost

    gatepost Member

    I think there may be some degree of resistance, some ewes seem to be repeat offenders even after apparently be ok for long periods and some never get it, once the eye stops watering and doesn't seem to irritate (although still blind) it's on the mend, but can take a long time to regain full clarity and can sometimes be left with a spot in the eye, also going on a neighbours experience last winter, if you haven't had it before can be a long drawn out job.
  18. gatepost

    gatepost Member

    If it is orf then you have got it forever, and it likes the wet, however before you leap for the scabivac check , because once you vaccinate them you have got it, live vac, but VGood, I think the eye job is air Bourne,
  19. Romney SE

    Romney SE Member

    East Sussex
    We've got it bad. Appeared about 2 weeks ago, clears up pretty quick when treated. Interesting point about different breeds and their resistance. Only got a handful of Jacobs which are mixed up in different mobs and they've nearly all had it!
  20. RuthW

    RuthW New Member

    A few years ago we had an outbreak of pinkeye in a group of about 50 replacement ewe lambs. Lots of blind sheep and cloudy eyes. We injected affected sheep with alamycin which cleared up the problem initially but then the sheep would recatch it from the others and it just kept going around the group. We then injected all of them at the same time (cost a fortune!) and they all recovered but after a while they all started getting it back again. I read somewhere about washing with Johnsons baby shampoo so we tried that as we were at the point of thinking about culling them. We washed the faces and heads of all 50 with the baby shampoo in the race rubbing well into the eyes and particularly into the holes under the eyes and at the same time jabbed any with alamycin with cloudy eyes. This completely cured the problem and we have been clear ever since. Apparently even if they have no sign of it in their eyes the bacteria live on the heads and when they rub against each other they transfer it. It took us a couple of hours to wash all of them but better than killing them all!
    m4rc88 likes this.

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