Ovine infectious keratoconjunctivitis in sheep: the farmers perspective
08 Oct 2019
Williams, H. J., Duncan, J. S., Fisher, S. N., Coates, A., Stokes, J. E., Gillespie, A.
The objective of this study was to gather current, farmer-reported data on the frequency of occurrence, risk factors and treatment practices for the sheep eye disease, ovine infectious keratoconjunctivitis (OIKC).
A questionnaire regarding eye disease in sheep was completed by 135 farmers from four livestock markets. Most farmers (87%) had observed OIKC in their flock, 88% of these within the last 2 years.
Farmers reported observing most cases in the winter months (51%) and fewest in the summer (10%). They proposed housing and forage feeding from racks as factors associated with OIKC.
A variety of treatment protocols were used by farmers. The three most popular treatments used were: cloxacillin eye ointment, intramuscular oxytetracycline injection and topical tetracycline spray applied to the eye. Only 62% of treatments were considered very effective by the farmers, with no difference in farmer perceived efficacy between these three most commonly used treatments (p=0.6).
Farmers used 15 different terms to describe a photograph of a sheep with OIKC, including many colloquial terms. We hypothesise that this could result in communication problems between veterinary surgeons and farmers.