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Student fights to beat pinkeye in cattle

Student fights to beat pinkeye in cattle

By Scout Nelson

Marcus McCaskill, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student, is on a mission to make pinkeye in cattle a relic of the past. This disease not only affects the health of the animals but also inflicts significant economic losses on the beef industry each year.

McCaskill, pursuing a dual degree in veterinary medicine through a collaborative program between UNL and Iowa State University, is dedicating his studies to tackling this issue.

Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised on a family farm, McCaskill developed a deep connection with animals, particularly cattle. His hands-on experience on his family’s operation has fueled his passion for veterinary science and specifically for addressing the challenges of pinkeye in cattle.

At UNL, McCaskill did impactful research at the University of Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center. Here, he focused on identifying the pathogens that cause pinkeye by analyzing the DNA from eye swabs of affected cattle. His findings indicated a significantly higher presence of Moraxella bovis bacteria in cattle with pinkeye compared to healthy ones.

The repercussions of pinkeye extend beyond animal discomfort; they translate into economic setbacks for ranchers due to reduced weight gain and meat production in affected cattle. McCaskill’s work aims to alleviate the immediate symptoms of pinkeye and curb its spread, thereby minimizing economic losses.

With the support of his advisor, Dr. Loy, McCaskill is exploring various strategies to manage and eventually eradicate this disease. By improving disease management practices, there is potential to enhance the overall health of cattle herds and, by extension, support the economic stability of the beef industry in Nebraska and beyond.

McCaskill’s efforts illustrate the critical role of veterinary research in solving industry-wide challenges. Through science and innovation, he and other researchers are striving to create healthier cattle populations, which in turn can lead to more robust and economically viable ranching operations.

Photo Credit -istock-123ducu

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Categories: Nebraska, Business, Livestock, Beef Cattle

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