Pinkeye is the most important bovine ocular disease worldwide and a major welfare and economic concern to the Australian cattle industry. Pinkeye can occur in epidemic proportions, but severity and susceptibility vary within and between herds, indicating that the disease is multifactorial.
This study was conducted to identify the on-farm risk factors associated with pinkeye disease in Australian cattle. Data were gathered from cattle farmers using a custom designed online questionnaire. Farmer responses suitable for assessment (n = 999) were analysed with descriptive, univariable and multivariable logistic regression to evaluate the association of 26 explanatory variables with pinkeye within-herd prevalence.
Results revealed that farm location, farm grazing area, farmer-reported dust levels, fly levels, rain levels, animal zebu content and cattle age were significantly associated with pinkeye prevalence. More specifically, having a farm located in southern Australia, of smaller grazing area with cattle ≤ 2 years of age, was associated with a higher pinkeye prevalence. Pinkeye prevalence was also greater if respondents ranked their farms as having high fly levels compared to moderate and low fly levels, respectively and on farms ranked low for rainfall compared to moderate and high rainfall, respectively.
Those that ranked their farms as having high dust levels had more pinkeye compared to moderate and low dust levels, but moderate dust levels were protective compared to low dust levels. The results confirm that pinkeye disease is multifactorial and is associated with a range of host and environmental factors.
These findings should be used to assist in the control of the disease and improve pinkeye outcomes in Australian cattle.
Prev Vet Med. 2021 Jul 13;194:105432.doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2021.105432. Online ahead of print.
1Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camden, NSW, Australia.
2Murdoch University, School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, 90 South Street, WA, 6150, Australia.
3Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camden, NSW, Australia.