Eye Question

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Apr 20, 2005
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Southwest Oklahoma
My new mare has an eye problem. I've sort of got it under control now, but there is a definite problem that needs to be resolved.

I've been keeping it clean twice a day and using Vetyrcin eye gel. The Vet told me to continue that, as it seems to be helping. I am sure it is some kind of inflammation because the banamine gives her very good relief.

In the photos you can see the white at the top of the eyes--this white is appears to be swollen EYELIDS. It is on both sides. Now, the eyelids are white--before they were inflammed red.

The eye doctor I used before does not answer the phone--the office is in the OKC area, so she is either not there or covered up with injured animals.

I have a call into OSU vet hospital. Meanwhile, does anyone have any ideas or has seen such a thing?


Did the mare come to you with this problem, or did it start recently? My mares started (I'm guessing) rubbing their eyes a few weeks ago, resulting in outer eye area swelling/inflammation but without the accompanying inner swelling your mare has. I went the Vetericyn route and also now make them wear fly masks for turnout. Not sure if insects or allergens were the culprit, but they have been much better since.

I hope you get her figured out.
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Has the vet examined this horse, or just spoken to you? If she hasn't examined this eye yet, I would ask if she could. I'm not sure as the pictures are blurry for me, as I have poison sumac in my eyes right now, but it looks like she may have a bridge over the pupil. Are both eyes equal in size, or is this one smaller, do the lashes turn under and rub the eye. I'm sure your vet will use a pin light to see if this pupil reacts normal or if you need to treat with atropin or other meds. Might be something simple like alleries, we have an old gelding, 32, that suffers from spring allergies, so I can sympathize.
Hard to see on these pictures, but appears to be swollen conjunctiva or conjunctivitis. Usually an inflammatory issue due to allergy or irritation from bugs. Treatment is an anti-inflammatory (usually topical steroids), ***BUT*** steroids should never be used without a Vet first examining and staining the eye as steroids can make eye problems worse.

Dr. Taylor
Yes, she has seen the vet. He does not have equipment for specialized examination, just for routine exam.

"Eyes have been producing pus. No lesions in eyes, left eye has old corneal scarring. Eyelids protruding, possible allergy related/glaucoma. Both tearducts open".

He didn't say anything about the eyelashes, and he looked at everything carefully; maybe he was looking for that.

I know she had "triple antibiotic" ointment in the past which seemed to help; do not know if she had steroid treatment.

I was told she had "weepy eyes" when she came to me, and has been seen by a vet before for the issue. She wears a fly mask all day. I've had horses with weepy eyes before and that did not worry me.

If it is simply conjunctavitis, I guess I'll have to wait till the seasons change. Maybe vet will suggest an ointment for her, instead of just the Vetrecin gel. Am also trying the Opcon A eye drops which I use for Dapper Dan. I just hate to keep messing with her eyes if there is a better way. The banamine seems to give her the most relief, but I can only do it ocassionally. The weird protruding eyelid is what bothers me.

She has no trouble seeing and is sleek and sassy. She is a very sweet girl and healthy. Sometimes she is in the pasture, sometimes on a dry lot; I'm not sure I can tell either way makes a difference to her eyes. She is 20.
We have an appt. on Wednesday with an animal ophthamologist. We will meet her at an Equine Medical Center. Really did not want to trailer the horse 3 hours one way, but I do want this resolved and my local vets, though super, are not "eye guys". I've discontinued all the eye medications, except using the saline for cleaning. Not doing anything else until I find out more what is going on. The best case scenario will be "that's who she is, just deal with it and here is how you do that".

Took a while to connect with the doctor and arrange an appt. because of the storms and damage. Maybe that has been a good thing, as she is better adjusted now and comfortable with her new home and regimen.

The doctor told me that banamine is particularly effective for eye discomfort. Maybe because eyes are so vascular??
Will be interested to see what the results of your appointment are. Please be sure to let us know.
Just got home from the ophthamology appointment and thought I would share what I learned about my horse.

She had two old injuries. One was to the third eyelid. Fortunately, it healed with the edges rounded instead of as sharp corners. The other was to the cornea. It has healed also, so nothing to do there. Some signs of glaucoma, but not to worry at this point. The swelling is conjunctivitis. So the antibiotic ointment wasnt' really the solution. The doctor prescribed Sochlor or Muro 128 -- 5%. Not the 2%, which is useless. It is available over the counter and I got the Muro 128 on the way home. It was $24 for a small bottle. My pharmacy did not have the Sochlor. The drops twice a day at first, then once, then as needed. Also a half dose of Banamine once a week.

I had her teeth done by the equine dentist 3 weeks ago. She had very long points in the back, injuring the upper jaw. The eye doctor said this could have contributed to the eye problem.

So, we'll see if this eye drop solves the problem!

She was very glad to get home from her long day in the trailer and do some rolling.

It was good to visit the Equine Medical facility near Edmond, OK. I liked the big screened doors. They were the same as big barn doors, sliding on rails, but were screens. Ventilation without the flies. Many horses and donkeys there, mostly tornado injuries. Outdoor pens under shady trees, in addition to covered "waiting rooms".

As an aside, we were discussing care of brood mares. The doctor had just done a surgery on a QH. The owner brought the QH in and said to remove the eye--"she's just a brood mare". The docter said she could save the eye, and the owner agreed to the surgery.
Glad to hear you have some answers and hopefully are able to offer your mini some relief.

I agree an eye should be saved whenever possible, in reference to the QH mare. I don't know why someone would opt for removal if there is a good shot at recovery, removal is not cheap.......base price by equine optomologist from penn vet (new Bolton near Philly) was $2500 for a standing procedure if the horse was placid enough or $5000 for a horse that needed to be operated on while completely flat out . Luckily my gypsy mare was an ideal candidate for the standing procedure and 1.5 years later is a wonderful riding mare, no one notices until they move her forelock away from her eye.

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