Ask the Vet

Pink Eye Not Responding to Treatment

If a treatment isn't working, it's time to call in an expert. (Stock Image Picasa)


I have a cow with pink eye. None of the other cows in the herd seem to be affected. I have given this cow two different antibiotics, but her condition only seems to have gotten worse. What do I need to do next?


We have a lot of questions about pink eye, but in your case this may be less about pink eye and more about infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis.

When a cow gets an infected or irritated eye, especially in the winter months, I always consider the possibility the eye was scratched eating from a bale of hay, or the cow got seed in her eye. I have removed a lot of things from cows' eyes over the years. Sometimes grass seed, sometimes another type of foreign object that is stuck behind the third eyelid.

Squamous cell carcinoma, or cancer eye, is another common eye problem that can show up any time of the year.

These are examples of things that will not respond to antibiotics. And it's a good example of a case where if your initial treatment doesn't produce the results you'd expect, get your veterinarian out to take a look. When it's something to do with the eyes, sooner is always better.