Animal Health & Disease Management

Eye problems (new)

Eye problems can affect all animal species.

  • Eye injuries are especially a problem in camels, as their eyes protrude and they gaze on thorny bushes.
  • The three most important conditions affecting the eyes of livestock in Kenya are Pink Eye, Thelazia Eye Worms and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the eye. 



Different types of eye problems may have different causes such as: 

  • Insect bites in the eye
  • Ticks attached around the eyelid
  • Eye worms
  • Foreign bodies in the eye
  • Injury to the eye, for instance by thorns aor herders' sticks
  • Infectious diseases such as pink eye or camel pox
  • Irritating sap from plants such as Euphorbia candelabrum (Luo: bondo, ojouk / Kikuyu, Meru: mathori / Kamba: ndau / Maasai: olpopongi)
  • Snake venom
  • Sun induced cancer
  • Cataract


The most common signs are: 

  • Watery or yellowish discharge from the eye
  • Partially or totally closed eye
  • Swollen eye
  • Reddish eye
  • Thick, whitishfilm covering the eye
  • Abnormal growths in the eye


Prevent eye problems by doing following: 

  • Apply tick grease or other repellants around the eyes.
  • Manually remove ticks.
  • When spraying make sure NOT to spray directly into the eye.
  • Do not hit the animal especially not around the eyes
  • Do not herd where there are many thorny plants or plants with irritating sap
  • Use only leafy trees and shrubs for fencing in the animal pen
  • Separate animals with infectious eye diseases from the rest of the herd
  • Control Camel pox

Review Process

1. William Ayako, KARI Naivasha. Aug-Dec 2009
2. Hugh Cran, Practicing Veterinarian Nakuru. March-Oct 2010
3. Review workshop team. Nov 2-5, 2010

  • For Infonet: Anne, Dr Hugh Cran, private veterinary practitioner
  • For KARI: Dr Mario Younan KARI/KASAL, William Ayako - Animal scientist, KARI Naivasha
  • For Department of Veterinary Services: Dr Josphat Muema – District Veterinary Officer Isiolo, Dr Charity Nguyo - Kabete Extension Division, Mr Patrick Muthui - Senior Livestock Health Assistant Isiolo, Ms Emmah Njeri Njoroge - Senior Livestock Health Assistant Machakos
  • Pastoralists: Dr Ezra Saitoti Kotonto - Private practitioner, Abdi Gollo H.O.D. Segera Ranch
  • Farmers: Benson Chege Kuria and Francis Maina Gilgil and John Mutisya Machakos
  • Language and format: Carol Gachiengo, Journalist and editor.  

4. Review by Dr Mario Younan, Regional Technical Advisor VSF-Germany (2013)

Information Source Links

  • Blood, D.C., Radostits, O.M. and Henderson, J.A. (1983) Veterinary Medicine - A textbook of the Diseases of Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Horses. Sixth Edition - Bailliere Tindall London. ISBN: 0702012866
  • Blowey, R.W. (1986). A Veterinary book for dairy farmers: Farming press limited Wharfedale road, Ipswich, Suffolk IPI 4LG
  • CABI International 2007. Animal Health and Production Compendium. Wallingford UK: CABI International.
  • Hall, H.T.B. (1985). Diseases and parasites of Livestock in the tropics. Second Edition. Longman Group UK. ISBN 0582775140
  • Hunter, A. (1996). Animal health: General principles. Volume 1 (Tropical Agriculturalist) - Macmillan Education Press. ISBN: 0333612027
  • Hunter, A. (1996). Animal health: Specific Diseases. Volume 2 (Tropical Agriculturalist) - Macmillan Education Press. ISBN:0-333-57360-9
  • Merck Veterinary Manual 9th Edition

Table of content