Pinkeye, also known as viral keratoconjunctivitis, has been reported in goats. Pinkeye in goats is a mycoplasmal disease, not related to pink eye in cattle. An infection with the mycoplasma organism on the surface of the eye can cause pinkeye in goats and sheep. The organism can also enter the bloodstream and cause septicemia, abortion, respiratory problems, and arthritis in multiple joints (refer to CAE or CAEV). Flare-ups occur in times of stress, overcrowding, kidding, or lambing. Pinkeye can be spread by direct or indirect contact with infected animals or their body fluids. Newborn goats and lambs can spread the organisms from the mother’s mouth to her udder and in turn become infected by ingesting contaminated milk.
Symptoms: Cloudiness of the cornea. A mycoplasmal infection should be suspected in goats and sheep with severe pneumonia.
Diagnosis: Mycoplasma strains can be identified by bacterial culture or staining of discharges from the eye. Examiners must be careful in interpreting results of positive cultures as nonpathogenic mycoplasma is common (D.G. Pugh, Sheep & Goat Medicine). Consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Prevention: No vaccine is available in the United States. Providing good fly control, preventing stress and overcrowding, and separating infected animals from healthy ones will help prevent the spread of disease.