Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Moraxella bovis

Synonym(s): Pink eye causal organism

Contributor(s): Veronica Fowler, Vetstream Ltd , Tammy Hassel




  • Kingdom: bacteria.
  • Phylum: proteobacteria.
  • Class: gammaproteobacteria.
  • Order: pseudomonadales.
  • Family: moraxellaceae.
  • Genus: moraxella.
  • Species: moraxella bovis.


  • Moraxella bacteria are named after ophthalmogist V. Morax.

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Clinical Effects



  • Moraxella bovis is found on mucus membranes, and can survive for 2-3 days in the salivary glands and on body surfaces of flies.

Life cycle

  • May proliferate harmlessly on conjunctiva.
  • Invasion of and proliferation within conjunctival tissues produces inflammation.


  • Transmission is achieved either by direct contact, exposure to infectious aerosols or via flies (vector transmission).

Pathological effects

  • Moraxella bovis causes damage to the superficial structures of the eye in young animals.
  • Two types of fimbriae are responsible for disease pathogenesis. Q fimbriae is required for colonization and I fimbriae is responsible for persistence.
  • Older animals are more resistant, believed to be due to accquired immunity to the fimbriae antigens.
  • During infection lytic enzymes are produced.
  • May induce production of local secretory IgA.

Other Host Effects

  • Can result in:
    • Weight loss.
    • Milk production decreases.


Control via animal

  • Infected animals should be isolated from the rest of the herd.
  • Fly control on the animal.
  • Symptomatic relief of conjunctivitis involves placing animal in darkened environment.

Control via chemotherapies

Control via environment

  • Fly control in the environment.


  • Commerically available bacterins exist, but their efficacy is questionable.
  • Vaccination using products containing cytotoxin and fimbriae show promise.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Angelos J A (2015) Infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (pinkeye). Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 31 (1), 61-79 PubMed.
  • Alexander D (2010) Infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis: a review of cases in clinical practice. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 26 (3), 487-503 PubMed.
  • Postma G C, Carfagnini J C & Minatel L (2008) Moraxella bovis pathogenicity: an update. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis 31 (6), 449-58 PubMed.
  • McConnel C S, Shum L & House J K (2007) Infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis antimicrobial therapy. Aust Vet J 85 (1-2), 65-9 VetMedResource.
  • McConnel C S & House J K (2005) Infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis vaccine development. Aust Vet J 83 (8), 506-10 PubMed.