Cows usually have dark brown or black eyes however, there have been multiple reports of blue eyed cows. So the greater question is can cows have blue eyes or these are just mythological stories. Check out the article below as we discuss whether cows can indeed have blue eyes.
Can Cows Have Blue Eyes
Cows can have blue eyes but, there are two factors that can cause your cow to have blue eyes. For starters genetics can cause cows to have blue eyes whilst on the other hand, a disease known as Bovine Iritis can also cause blue eyes in cows. In order to differentiate whether your cow naturally has blue eyes or if it’s suffering from a diseases that causes blue eyes, continue reading the article to learn more.
Blue Eyes Caused By Genetics In Cows
As previously mentioned in the article, cows can have blue eyes as a result of their genetics. This means that your cow can have blue eyes if its parents had genes that cause cows to have blue eyes. The gene is referred to as Oculocutaneous Hypopigmentation (OH) and it is non-lethal in nature. OH is caused by the recessive mutation of the gene on a single cow chromosome. Research shows that Angus or Angus-cross cows usually carry the OH mutation in their genes. Cows that have OH genes have eyes with irises that are pale blue around the pupil with a tan periphery. The coats of blue eyed cows have a slightly bleached color. Various researches conducted show that cows that have blue eyes are sensitive to light but, they are able to function normally just like any other cow. It is worth mentioning that it is normal for a perfectly looking cow to give birth to a blue eyed cow. This is just a sign that both parents of the cow had OH genetics. In order to be certain that your cows have OH genes, you can always conduct a DNA test.
How To Avoid Blue Eyes Caused By Genetics In Cows
In order to avoid having cows that have blue eyes you need to start by determining which cows have the OH genes. This means you would have to do DNA tests for all of your cows. Once you have determined which cows have the OH genes make sure that you breed carrier cows of the OH genes with non-carrier cows. This helps to ensure that the gene is suppressed. An alternative would be to breed non-carrier cows together in a bid to avoid blue eyed cows.
Blue Eyes Caused By Bovine Iritis In Cows
Cows can have blue eyes which are caused by a diseases known as Bovine Iritis or silage eye. Bovine Iritis is caused by a bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes that usually harbors in moldy feed and bedding. When this bacteria enters the eye of a cow, it forces the eyes to have a bluish whitish color. In order to treat this disease in cattle you have to administer antibiotics prescribed to you by the vet. These will help to get rid of the infection. Failure to treat Bovine Iritis in cows can lead to blindness or death in cows.
NB: other diseases like blue tongue infection and Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis can cause blue eyes in cattle if left untreated. Therefore, always consult a vet if your cow shows signs of illness.
How To Avoid Blue Eyes Caused By Bovine Iritis In Cows
The best way to avoid Bovine Iritis in cows is to ensure that the silage is clean at all times. This helps to ensure that bacteria does not penetrate into the silage. Furthermore, you should always repair damaged silage bales quickly because penetration of air encourages the built up of Listeria monocytogenes.
Is It Rare For A Cow To Have Blue Eyes?
It is very rare for a cow to have blue eyes. This is because blue eyes in cows are caused by a recessive gene known as Oculocutaneous Hypopigmentation (OH) which is very rare. This gene can only be found in Angus or Angus cross cows that have the OH mutation. When a cow that has blue eyes is born it means that both parents of the calf had OH genes in their DNA of which this usually happens in rare scenarios. DNA tests can be used in order to determine if the OH gene is present in your cows.
How Do You Treat Blue Eye In Cattle?
Blue eyes in cattle are caused by a number of things. For starters, if your cow was born with blue eyes then there is a chance that it has Oculocutaneous Hypopigmentation (OH) genes. If this is the case, you will not be able to treat the condition. However, if your cow was born without blue eyes and later on develops blue eyes, there is a good chance that it is sick. In order to treat blue eyes in cattle that are caused by a disease one has to consult the vet. The vet will diagnose the exact problem and provide antibiotics or any other medication that can help to treat blue eyes in cattle.
Will Pink Eye Blind A Cow?
Yes pink eye can blind a cow when left untreated. Pink eye is a disease caused by a bacteria known as Moraxella bovis. Pink eye causes the cows eyes to become watery and an ulcer usually develops followed by cloudiness in the eye. When left untreated, pink eye is very painful to cows and the ulcer can rapture leading to serious blindness in a cow although this is very rare. Therefore, it’s always important to treat pink eye in its early stages.
Cows can have blue eyes if they have OH genes. If your cow was born without blue eyes but, later develops blue eyes it means that its suffering from a certain disease that need to be cured. Therefore, it’s always important to seek your vet’s guidance especially when you are unsure of the disease.