By Barry Whitworth, DVM / Area Food/Animal Quality and Health Specialist for Eastern Oklahoma
Cancer eye is the most common tumor-affecting cattle. The tumor may be found on the eye, the third eyelid or on the upper and lower eyelids. The condition causes significant losses to cattle producers due to loss of production, treatment cost, early culling, and slaughter condemnation. Several treatment options are available, but the most important factor in treatment is early detection.
Although the cause is not completely understood, certain factors such as genetics, nutrition, ultraviolet light, lack of pigmentation around the eye, and viruses predispose cattle to developing cancer eye. All breeds of cattle may develop cancer eye but breeds lacking pigmentation around the eye are more susceptible than others. Herefords, Hereford crosses and Holsteins tend to have more cases.
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