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Perceptions and practices of Australian cattle farmers for the treatment of pinkeye (infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis)

Kneipp, M., Green, A.C., Govendir, M., Laurence, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-1215-2848 and Dhand, N.K. (2021) Perceptions and practices of Australian cattle farmers for the treatment of pinkeye (infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis). Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 197 . Art. 105504.

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Pinkeye or infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis is a globally significant disease and occurs in every state of Australia. Economic loss due to pinkeye can be considerable and it is a major welfare concern, but not all cattle with the disease are treated by farmers. This study was conducted to understand the perceptions and practices of Australian farmers regarding the treatment of pinkeye: factors influencing when farmers treat pinkeye, treatments used and considered effective, and reasons for not treating. Data were gathered using a custom designed online questionnaire. Farmer responses suitable for assessment (n = 985) were analysed using descriptive analyses along with univariable and multivariable ordinal logistic regression models to evaluate the association of 15 explanatory variables with the outcome “when do you treat pinkeye?”. Results revealed three variables, farm size, times yarded and ranking of the pain caused by pinkeye, were significantly associated with the frequency of pinkeye treatment. Specifically, farmers with smaller farm sizes were more likely to treat their cattle for pinkeye more frequently. So too were those who yarded their cattle more, and those that rated pinkeye as highly painful. The most used treatments for pinkeye in Australia were pinkeye ointments (n = 861), followed by eye patches (n = 637), pinkeye spray (n = 623), fly control (n = 507), and pinkeye powder (n = 408). Over half of those who had used subconjunctival injection, pinkeye ointments, eye patches, injectable antibiotics and veterinarians rated them as highly effective treatments. Kerosene is still used by some farmers (n = 106). The most common reason for not treating pinkeye was that it was ‘too difficult to treat individuals’. These findings provide insight into the attitudes of Australian farmers to the treatment of pinkeye and should be used to improve pinkeye outcomes in cattle.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Veterinary Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier B.V.
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