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.

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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.