Eye infections in horses
Posted August 26, 2017
infections are common in horses and can negatively impact training
and quality of life. However, many eye infections can be prevented.
Dr. Lucien Vallone, clinical assistant professor at the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences,
provided some insight on preserving your horse’s vision.
“When dealing with eye infections, early intervention is
important,” Vallone said. “One way to help preserve your horse’s
overall eye health is to report any changes in eye condition to a
veterinarian immediately. A healthy eye should not have excessive
tearing, squinting, or any ocular opacity that causes the eye to
change from its normal coloration.”
Vallone said that some eye infections, such as those of the
cornea, can be caused by bacteria and fungi. Other serious eye
conditions include tumors of the ocular surface and eyelids, with
the most common tumor being squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin
Another common cause of eye infections includes Equine Recurrent
Uveitis (ERU), a disease characterized by eye inflammation. Vallone
said the damage from this disease is progressive and can lead to
scarring within the eye, cataracts, glaucoma, and even blindness.
This disease has no cure, but it can be treated by reducing the
amount of inflammation in the eye, as needed.
Many eye infections also can be caused by hazards in the horse’s
environment, such as excessive dust, sharp fence posts, or other
obstacles. It is important to check your horse’s eyes daily to
prevent any infection from worsening.
Without treatment, eye infections and diseases could lead to
serious conditions, including blindness.
“Our biggest fear of not treating an equine eye condition is
that we could miss the opportunity to preserve vision and comfort,”
Vallone said. “Early intervention is best and can help lead to a
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