Ask the Vet

Pink Eye Treatments

Pink eye is more than a costly disease to treat, it can lower the value of an animal in the marketplace. (DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Jim Patrico)


This spring, we were hit with the worst pink eye we've ever had. We vaccinate every year, but this season, we saw pink eye in 90% of the herd. We treated with Oxytet 200 and a pink eye spray. We could not understand why there was such a wide range in price on the Oxytet 200 products. We saw for the same 500cc bottle prices from $25 to $75. The dosages for all the different products were the same (4.5ml to 5ml per 100 pounds of body weight). Are all the products of equal quality?


There can be a lot of price disparity when comparing name-brand products to generics. It's true the FDA requires generic versions of products contain the same active ingredient(s), but it does not require they have the same inactive ingredients. The thinking is inactive ingredients should have no effect on the drug's therapeutic action. I believe it can make a difference.

Also, consider some generics are imported from countries that do not have the same manufacturing standards the FDA requires of companies here. When choosing whether to use a brand-name or a generic, or even selecting between generics, I say look for a company that will stand behind its products.

Specific to oxytetracycline, I do have concerns about many of the generics. With all injectable products, it's important to follow the label regarding amount to be given at one site. These products do cause inflammation at the injection site, and giving the whole dose or more than the recommended amount in one place will increase the reaction and may decrease the effectiveness. My experience has been that the generics are generally more reactive than the brand-name products. Additionally, I feel Bio-Mycin 200 is less painful and reactive than the generics I have used. I particularly like it for sheep and goats. But, yes, it does cost more.

Among generics, I wish I could tell you a higher price guarantees better quality. I do not think that is necessarily the case. Your herd veterinarian is a good resource to help in your selection of the best product. He or she can also do a lot to help you prevent another outbreak. As we have discussed before, pink eye is not just a costly disease to treat, it also brings with it long-term costs in reduced fertility and future eye diseases, especially squamous cell carcinoma, or "cancer eye."