Eye Injury - UPDATED! (pg.2)

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Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2003
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Morson, Ontario, Canada
I am hoping you can view these photos and shed some light on what you suspect might have happened here. I am at a loss. I do not know if it is an infection, if he got a bug in there, if he got dirt in there, or if he poked his eyeball with hay or something else. I tried bringing him into the barn and tieing him up and tried to flush the eye with water and then put some mild (non-steroidal) antibiotic ointment in. Then by tonight, just a few hours later, it looked like there was a little puss. It was fine this morning, so I really don't know. I think there is a locum here this week. I hope I can catch him before he goes back tomorrow, IF he's not already gone! He really needs it to be looked at! I just hope it is nothing that will cause him to lose the eye! I am just wondering if it was likely caused by him banging it on something, since it is so swollen? I couldn't even get it opened enough to get a look at the eyeball to see if there was damage. With the swelling, it is making it too tight and leaving me nothing to grab onto to try to force it open. It is not running(tearing) as I have seen it do when there is a scratch to eye, and it did not seem to be real painful too him when I was trying to look in, so I am at a loss. Wondering if the locum is gone back already, if I should ewait the weekend out and see if the swelling goes down or if I should take him somewhere else? It would be a several hour drive to get him to a vet other than the closest one at 80 miles away, IF he is still in town. I know you guys are not vets, just wondering if you have had any experience with this type of sudden swelling...almost like someone punched him in the eye, or like a person would get a black eye from being hit there. If I felt more likely that that was all it was, I would wait out the weekend to see if the size started to reduce.




Mona, Because of your vet situation, my suggestion is different than what I would give someone who's vet was in fairly easy driving distance............Keep checking his eye to make sure the actual eyeball is not affected. If it is, then all bets are off and I would recommend doing the 80 mile drive. You'll know the signs, I'm sure.

Just from your photos, with the eyeball not clouding up, etc...........I would continue to do hot compresses and flushing with either saline or an eye wash. I would also alternate the hot compresses with cold ones, like one would do for a human's black eye. I know I'm rambling here, so excuse me, but as long as his eye isn't clouding up and just puffy, you just may be dealing exactly that -- a "black eye" situation.
I would make the drive Mona - I know it is far for you - but I think he needs to be looked at as soon as possible. Is this your new boy? Poor guy - keep us posted on how he is doing.
It's not the 80 mile drive I am worried about...if THAT vet (locum) is in town I will either take him there tomorrow or he can come here...either way is fine. 80 miles is nothing, IF there is someone available. It is that if there is no locum here, then it is a trip to eithr Kenora (where they do not have large animal facilities either) or to Winnipeg. Winnipeg would be no less than a 5 hour drive, Kenora only half as far, but I have never dealt with them there at all for anything.

Believe me, I KNOW the importance of getting eye issues to a vet...have had a couple through the years, but this one just seems differentl, like it is more an exterior swelling vs an eyeball injury, but, as I said, I could not get the eye open enough to get a good enough look. It was too late tonight when I saw it to even call the vet, as they were already closed, and they have no emergency service, so Kenora was my only other option. Not ready to do that until I talk to my vet, at least by phone to find out about the locum too.

Oh, I forgot to answer...yes and no...this is a new boy, but I sold him when I found/bought the smaller one. Both are BTU sons.
Mona I just went through this exact same thing with Silver Belle. She came in looking like that one day last week. Not sure what happened but lately she is itchy and shedding but still too chilly to bathe and she has been rubbing herself like crazy on everything fences and stall walls etc. so she could have poked herself on something or got hit with a bug in the eyeball I have no clue. Flys are out here now big time. I had two kinds of antibiotic eye ointment but I knew if I used the wrong type it could make matters worse so instead

I used cold packs, cold washrags with ice pack inside for first aid on the swelling. She had a fit but I kept on doing it. Figured it was painful so I hit her up with banamine. That sure helped.

Then it began to tear gunky junk I kept wiping that out. Swelling went down significantly but came back up the next day so I did banamine again. It went back down again for a while with that and still came back up, more gunky junk coming out. Gave up and called the vet who was backed up with emergencies all over the place and said to continue ice packs and banamine as long as that seemed to be helping till they could get there the next day. By time vet came it was already way down and finally back to normal. Still don't know what happened but she's fine.
Mona, from what I can see that looks a lot like the eye lid injury my filly Secret had a year ago. In her case she had shoved her way through the field fence (where the nose can fit through the head can fit through, and if the head fits through then the whole horse must somehow follow, that seems to be her motto!) and in the process I believe that she snagged her eyelid on a piece of broken wire--it seems the wire sort of went in under the lid & then ripped it inside.

Initially her eye looked okay, and I assumed it was just an eyelid injury. I was cleaning it like I normally do, but then it really swelled up the 2nd or 3rd day--the lid swelled so bad that it made the eyeball look like it was shrinking. That was a concern, so I had the vet out. She sedated Secret & flushed it really well with saline--something I couldn't have done very well without any sedative--then treated it with penicillin. That's the treatment I continued--flushing (as best I could) with water and then putting penicillin into it. It came along really well in no time at all.

I now swear by penicillin for eyes--just plain old penicillin, syringed into the eye. It works way better than any drops I've ever used, and is so much easier to apply. It puts a white film over the eye for a few minutes, so it's easy to tell when there's enough it. It's what all the vets here recommend and now that I've used it I can see why. (Sometimes they'll prescribe Special Formula, but only if they are 100% certain that there is no damage to the cornea--Special Formula does contain a small amount of steroid, so cannot be used on an ulcerated eye.)

I can't see the eye itself in your pictures so I cannot see what the cornea looks like. If it were my horse & I could see the eye and it looks to be okay, I would treat the horse the same as what I did with Secret. But that's just me & my experience, I'm not a vet!
Mona --

Years ago, one of my big horses must have run into something. His eye then remined me of one of those bubble eyed gold fish.

The treatment for him was the vet flushed it our really well and left me with 2 kinds of drops and antibiotic eye ointment. The morning after the evening she treated him, he was dramatically better. He had to stay in the stall for a period of time (week? I forget) because one of the drops dialated his eye.

I do know eye injuries are nothing to fool around with, and I know you know it, too. I hope you can get someone out (I know your situation in that department and feel for you!).

Good luck!

I had a mare look like that and I flushed it with eye flush and it was a big piece of hay stuck up under the upper eyelid
Hi Mona,

Poor guy!! I went thru this not too long ago. Vet had me give banamine as it will help with the swelling and also apply ice. Once the swelling is down you will be able to look at the cornea and surrounding tissues. I wouldn't put any ointments of any type on there without knowing if the cornea has any damage as that could do more harm than good. If it was a kick or a bump the vet did tell me that the horses have the ability to slightly retract the eyeball to prevent damage.

I hope its minor and he's feeling better soon,

My guy who had an eye look like that had been stung are the bees out up there yet? We had to flush with cold water and vet prescribed benedryl for the sting. benedryl wont hurt and could help.
Mona, don't know if it'd work for this application but worked

for our BabyZee when he had a similar looking eye lid, last

summer. We used eye wash, cold compresses --AND--

Earl Grey tea bags

My farrier swears by Earl Grey for eye irritations......

I steeped a bag in warm water, let cool and I'd lay it on his

eye squuezing the moisture onto the eye. I did it 4 to 5

times a day.

It must have felt good as he'd lay his head over in my hand.

Isn't an instant fix and with Zee - he eventually had a small

piece of hay chaff show up in the corner of his eye.....I'm

guessing that was what was causing the irritation.

Hope your boy feels better soon.
Awwww. My friend has a mare who's eyes get really puffy in the summer. It seems to be an allergic reaction of some kind; they look almost like your guy's eye. I guess it can't really be that since it's only the one eye. I wonder if he got stung. Whatever it is, I hope it clears up fast and that it's not too serious. Keep us posted Mona!
Reading the other responses reminds me of my other biggie who did get puffy eyes (both) a lot like your boy but for him. I think it was a reaction to that spot on fly repellant. But, reading, makes me think it may be some kind of a reaction to a bug bite.
Use really warm and then ice cold tea bags Mona.......see how it looks...a bit of saline to wash it as you can, a bit of banamine will help the inflam. I don't think the cornea is damaged but the swelling needs to go down a bit. Being one whose vets are forever away or unavailable I empathize greatly. Non steroidal ointment can't hurt.
Well GREAT news!! I went out this morning to do my chores while waiting for the vet clinic to open to call, and found the swelling in Waterford's eye had gone waaaaaay down! I am not even going to bother calling. I am thinking now after seeing the improvement from just overnight, that he was bitten/stung by some sort of insect. That thought never even crossed my mind last night! Thank goodness that's all it was!! Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions!! It's really a great place to come to ask for advice. Here are pics from this morning.






And here he is saying, "OK now, enough of the photo session...get on with your chores and just feed me my breakfast already!"

Mona, I am so glad that everyhting looks like it will be ok!

Mona..cute last pictures...I wouldn't be worried either since it went down so fast. I bet is was just a bite or sting.

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