NC State Extension Publications

What are the symptoms of pink eye?

  • Symptoms of pink eye are watering of the eyes, redness of the whites of the eye and eyelids, swelling of the eyelids, and squinting to keep the sun out.
  • Later on, the cornea (clear part of the eye) becomes cloudy and blood vessels may grow across it. Sometimes an ulcer or a pit will develop on the cornea. The ulcer can rupture and cause blindness.
  • The eyes will heal in 1 to 4 weeks, depending on cause and severity. In one type of pink eye, kids develop a high fever and severe lameness. This disease is not included in a guide.

What are the causes and transmission of pink eye?

  • Various organisms, including bacteria, viruses, rickettsia, and Chlamydia, cause infections of the eye with symptoms that may be classed as pink eye.
  • These organisms are transmitted by contact with infected goats or insects carrying the organisms from goat to goat, or by irritation from dust or other sources that can cause scratches or injury to the eye.

What are the treatment and prevention of pink eye?

  • Injections of antibiotics, such as tetracycline or tylosin or use of oxytetracycline eye ointments, seems to help.
  • LA200 or equivalent doesn’t always work as well as the oxytetracycline ointment.
  • Put the ointment in the eye (not outside the eyelid – start at the front corner) several times per day until an improvement is observed.
  • Clean your fingers between goats, otherwise you may spread the pink eye organisms from one goat to the other.
  • Healing usually requires one (1) to four (4) weeks.
  • Keeping the goat indoors or under a dense shade will help to reduce pain to the eyes. A patch over the eye can also be used to reduce sun glare.
  • Keeping infected goats away for uninfected goats is the best prevention.

Do vaccines against pink eye exist?

  • No vaccines are available.

Are there any human health concerns?

  • The are no human health concerns associated with pink eye in goats.

Author

Extension Specialist (Goats & Forage Systems)
Crop and Soil Sciences

Publication date: Oct. 12, 2015

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