NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Pink eye- run its course?  (Read 199 times)


  • Joined Jun 2019
Pink eye- run its course?
« on: January 11, 2020, 01:51:04 pm »
Hi all, my flock of breeding ewes had pink eye on and off all summer, tried everything then eventually it disappeared on its own. However last month I bought some store lambs and now they are getting pink eye, although they are in with the breeding ewes they seem resistant now and have not caught it. Shall I treat the stores with antibiotics or do you think it will just run its course again and do they then gain resistance?
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Pink eye- run its course?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2020, 02:18:40 pm »
Speak to your vet is the best plan. They can get reinfected with pink eye so I’d have thought treating would be better than leaving it run it’s course.


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Pink eye- run its course?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2020, 04:39:48 pm »
I would separate from the breeding ewes if it can be done easily.

If they still have it when your start feeding the sheep (nuts or hay) and they are in close contact with each other while eating you stand more chance of it spreadng back to the ewes. That being said, if you have to round them all up so you can pull the lambs off - also pretty risky.

let it run its course. I've only had it once, due to buying in lambs. Lesson learnt and my my biosecurity is all the better for it.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Pink eye- run its course?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2020, 07:29:40 pm »
Pink eye seems to most frequently be something that happens when stock move on.  We get this question repeatedly and it almost always starts with “I just bought some more sheep and...”  I’ve had bought-in sheep have pink-eye when my own sheep had shown no sign, and the seller, who I knew, also had none, so my personal theory is that the stress of moving lowers their resistance enough for it to get the upper hand.

So I suspect that one good policy would be new sheep in their own field, with no adjoining boundaries to your own sheep, for 3 weeks or until two weeks after the pink eye has gone, whichever is later, before mixing them with your own stock - and that in a different field to the arrival field. 

We don’t buy in here, hopefully won’t even be bringing tups on for the next two or three years, so I can’t test my new regime out. And I know not everyone has the luxury of completely segregated areas.

The “treat or not” question is also a tricky one.  Bringing them all in to check and treat almost certainly helps the bugs to spread :/.   Personally I let it run its course and leave the sheep running extensively unless I have a sheep which is clearly suffering, then I would try to catch and treat that one without bringing the whole group in.  Can’t always manage that, of course.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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