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  1. #1
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    Mar. 4, 2008
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    Default Tattooing eyeliner on a horse - info & recommendations

    My gelding has a bald face and blue eyes and while he has some natural eyeliner, he also has quite a bit of pink skin around his eyes. He's had issues and subsequent eye surgeries in the past and I'm beginning to think about having eyeliner tattooed around his eyes. I'll call my vet for recommendations as I don't think they tattoo in their clinic but I have a couple of questions.

    1) Has anyone had experience with tattooing around their horse's eyes (for medical, not cosmetic purposes)?

    2) Do you know of any reputable vets fairly close to Indiana that perform this procedure? I'm thinking that maybe OSU in Columbus might have an Opthamologist on staff that could do it.

    Thanks in advance for any info.
    Last edited by AEM74; Apr. 25, 2012 at 09:28 AM.
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham



  2. #2
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    This is a joke, right?
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    3 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Why in the world would this be a joke? Tattooing eyeliner around the eyes of horses who lack pigment in that area is a recommended and beneficial procedure, but not all vets can do it. The tattooing provides UV protection and helps prevent cancerous conditions around the eye. Think football players with the black smudges under their eyes.

    Before getting snarky, why don't you spend 90 seconds on a Google search to inform yourself? Believe me, I have better things to do than post "joke" threads on COTH. I'm looking for sound solutions for my horse's eye pigment issues.

    Anyone else have some actual helpful insight? Thanks!
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham


    3 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Sep. 14, 2004
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    Default

    OP - did you happen to read the tattoo article in the current Paint Horse Connection? Pretty informative. Unfortunately, it stated APHA doesn't keep a list of equine tattoo artists...other than those that do lip tattoos...and to check with vets.
    Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
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  5. #5
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    Central Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by KSAQHA View Post
    OP - did you happen to read the tattoo article in the current Paint Horse Connection? Pretty informative. Unfortunately, it stated APHA doesn't keep a list of equine tattoo artists...other than those that do lip tattoos...and to check with vets.
    Yes, I did see that article, thank you so much. A friend of mine subscribes to that magazine, thought of my guy when she read it, and brought it to the barn for me. The vet featured in that piece is in TX, so a very long haul from IN!

    As I said, I'll call my vet, but I just wondered if anyone has personal experience with the procedure or could recommend a vet to do it.

    Thanks again.
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham



  6. #6
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    Just make sure who ever does it that you check them out good first. The two vets around here that do it will only do it under general so the cost if I recall is about $2000. There is someone else that does it standing but have heard nothing good. Like I said, just make sure you check them out.



  7. #7
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    Feb. 25, 2012
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    Montana
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    well I WISH I had had it done (I have a bald faced gelding with blue eyes and no makeup) but have never lived near where someone competent was performing it. Sooooo, my horse just had an eye removed. I hope you find someone. Good luck!



  8. #8
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    I would suggest calling the vet from the article. The medical community, esp something specialized like this, is pretty connected and I bet he/she can find someone closer to you .
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  9. #9
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    Sep. 28, 2005
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    NE
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    For what it's worth here is my experience. I have a Paint with a half white face with blue eye and he always has more problems with it than the brown/blue eye on the dark side of his face. Absolutely the pink skin is the problem in my opinion - he always wears a fly mask, but I wanted more permanent protection. I also had read about tatooing and was determined to try it. My vet was honest with me that they had never done it, but said they had other clients that might also be interested so found a human tatoo artist to come in and I took him to the clinic to have it done. I can't remember how much it was now, but it looked nice at first, but faded to a light gray fairly quickly so I was disappointed and figured they just didn't know how to do it properly on a horse. About 2 years later they mentioned that they had another client who wanted to do it and found another tatoo artist who had experience doing dogs ? Apparently they are sometimes done for cosmetic reasons, so I thought good they might be better. This time it was done with white so it wouldn't show !!?? I was so mad, my vet actually discounted it but i couldn't believe they didn't question the guy. So I've given up unless I can find someone who has actually done a horse before ! I would definitely ask your vet and then ask questions of the tatoo person directly.
    Last edited by Nlevie; Apr. 25, 2012 at 01:07 PM. Reason: spelling



  10. #10
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    Sep. 11, 2009
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    Hi,

    I wrote the article in the Paint Horse Connection. Dr. Seale is wonderful, and he might know of someone in your area that performs the procedure. Chat with your local vets and ask if they know anyone; you might also network with some of the Paint breeders in your area and see if they have any leads as well. If you need any suggestions to get you started, please feel free to email me at jhein@apha.com.

    Thanks! It's great to see that so many folks read the article. :-)


    3 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Mar. 4, 2008
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    Thank you so much for the information, everyone. I appreciate it. To start, I'll contact my vet and also Dr. Seale who's featured in the article.

    And thank you Ozzerati, for writing the article and bringing this condition and the tattooing option to light (no pub intended). It's an important topic and one that little is known about.

    I'll update this post as I learn more....
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham



  12. #12
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    May. 18, 2006
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    Richmond, VA
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    If you look on my profile pic, you will see that I am in the same boat. I spoke to my vet about it and she offered to explore it w/ me (she'd provide the anesthesia if I found a tat artist). She pointed out that the sun damage wuld have occured earlier in his life and suggested that good fly masks throughout the year might be a better option. So we went with the fly masks. I have 4 in rotation (2 are always lost in the pasture) and he has them on (or starts his day w/ them on) all year round. I'd be interested in what you decide to do and who you use.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beau's mom View Post
    She pointed out that the sun damage wuld have occured earlier in his life and suggested that good fly masks throughout the year might be a better option. So we went with the fly masks. I have 4 in rotation (2 are always lost in the pasture) and he has them on (or starts his day w/ them on) all year round.
    Yes, I see you're in the same boat (cute horse, btw). I *try* to keep fly masks on him year round but we go through about 1 per week, b/c he gets them off and his pasture mates shred them, which is very frustrating.

    He's a draft cross and the Cashels fit him best so I usually have a couple of backups on hand but when you have a situation like we did just this week where he's gone through 2 in a week (wore a brand new one a grand total of 2 times), I ran out of backups and the local TSC doesn't carry the warmblood size. So now I have to reorder online, wait for them to ship, etc. Meanwhile, he's outside "naked". Sigh...

    I also keep sunscreen on him and we do night turnout in the summer months, but I still feel like I could/should do more.
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham



  14. #14
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    Jun. 15, 2010
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    If you put a snug breakaway halter over the flymask does it help keep them on any longer?



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    If you put a snug breakaway halter over the flymask does it help keep them on any longer?
    Yup, that's what we'll start doing. I'm going to Rolex this weekend and fly masks are on the shopping list. When I get home we'll start turning him out with his halter on (it's a break away) and see if that helps. Thanks!

    P.S. I emailed Dr. Seale. We'll see what he has to say...
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham



  16. #16
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    Sep. 29, 2009
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    Back in the early 90's some trainer in WA did that to some arabians, and the trainer got in big trouble, also changed markings on the horses, eye liner to mention just a few things.

    Also "they" were doing facial surgery on the horses too. One breeding stallion (not saying his name) had his facial features "fixed" so he looked better in the halter ring, he won lots too. Huge stink in the breed.



    Just a garden variety tattoo artist could do the eyeliner if you want to go that route.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmh_rider View Post
    Just a garden variety tattoo artist could do the eyeliner if you want to go that route.
    LOL, NOT


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  18. #18
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    Feb. 6, 2012
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    I don't know anything about tattooing horses and read this thread out of curiosity... The only thing I would add is that permanent eyeliner in humans is said to only last 1-3 years depending on how dark the original color used. And, starts to fade almost immediately. Based on Nlevie's experiences, I wonder if horses have the same fading issues? If they do, you may want to start with a dark color. May look silly at first but if you get an extra year out of it, I think it would be worth it! Best of luck to you!!!



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmh_rider View Post
    Just a garden variety tattoo artist could do the eyeliner if you want to go that route.
    With all due respect, hell to the no! Anyone coming at my horse's eyes with a needle better have a DVM behind their name.

    Quote Originally Posted by RunHikeGolden View Post
    I don't know anything about tattooing horses and read this thread out of curiosity... The only thing I would add is that permanent eyeliner in humans is said to only last 1-3 years depending on how dark the original color used. And, starts to fade almost immediately. Based on Nlevie's experiences, I wonder if horses have the same fading issues? If they do, you may want to start with a dark color. May look silly at first but if you get an extra year out of it, I think it would be worth it! Best of luck to you!!!
    Thank you for your thoughts. The article in Paint Horse Journal did mention that the tattoo might fade over time as skin sloughs off. It also mentioned that it's best to tattoo the horse when it's young b/c the skin is softer and accepts the ink better. My guy is 14 so not young, but better late than never I suppose.

    BTW, I heard back from Dr. Seale already and he recommended a vet in MI. Said I could use him as a referral. I'll contact the MI vet and also my local vet tomorrow and see where that leads.
    "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham



  20. #20
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    A friend had her four year old mare's eyes tattooed and that lasted some five years, then she had it redone.
    It help very much with the irritation, that even with a mask she was having.

    I don't think the vet charged much and my impression is that many vets do that.
    Our small animal vet tattooed the registration number on my dog's thigh inside and a friend's collie nose.
    That is not such a strange procedure.

    I would definitely try to get it done, those kinds of cancers are considerably more serious that many realize, that never had to deal with them.

    I wish people would quit breeding something that is almost an unsoundness.



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