This section is from the book "The Farmers Ready Reference Or Hand Book Of Diseases Of Horses And Cattle", by S. C. Orr. . Also available from Amazon: The Farmer's Ready Reference;.
Contagious ophthalmia in cattle is comparatively a new disease in Kansas, only having made its appearance about five or six years ago. It does not sweep the entire country, but is rather enzootic in its habits, although when it enters a herd it continues until all have had it. It is an inflammatory condition involving some of the inner structures of the eye and the eyelids.
Symptoms. - There will be a watery discharge from the eye; the lids will be kept closed. As the disease progresses, the eyelids will become swollen; the cornea will have a whitish color, and the animal will grow dumpish and lose its appetite. In very severe cases the swelling continues until the eye-ball is ruptured and its contents discharged, precluding all possibility of restoring sight.
Treatment. - Place the patient in a dark, cool stable; four ounces of Epsom salt should be dissolved in a quart of water and given as a drench twice a day; if the bowels become too loose, give only once a day. In mild cases, bathing twice a day with cold water may reduce the inflammation; but, if there is much swelling, bathe twice a day with hot water, and each time wipe the skin dry and apply a little of the following, all around and in the eye: Nitrate of potash, forty grains; sulphate of zinc, forty grains; fluid extract of belladonna, four drachms; water, one pint. If the eye-ball ruptures, syringe it out with the same lotion.