Silage eye: The introduction of silage supplementation at grass or indoors has triggered some cases of an ailment commonly known as silage eye or ocular listeriosis. The ailment is generally characterised by sheep displaying sore, watery eyes and temporary blindness. Characteristic symptoms are animals appearing with watery eyes which have a cloudy appearance on closer inspection on top of the eye. Affected sheep can often be seen opening and closing their eyes more often or possibly with swollen or closed eyes. As is to be expected, sheep will be frightened and easily startled if separated from close physical contact with other sheep. The ailment is usually triggered by sheep eating silage in round feeders and at close contact with other sheep, with some reports suggesting that sheep burrowing their heads into a bale can be increase the incidence in comparison to sheep eating indoors. The ailment is usually associated with sheep eating mouldy silage and can spike in cold windy conditions, much like the weather we have experienced in recent weeks.
If left untreated it can lead to long-term blindness. Treatment advice from vets typically includes administering an eye ointment or an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injection into the tissue around the eye. Take care not to use anti-inflammatories without the advice of your vet as incorrect administration can trigger an abortion.