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Corneal Ulcers

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  • Corneal Ulcers

    Anyone have experience with corneal ulcers? My horse managed to scrape his eye on something a few weeks ago. We took him to the vet right away and got gentamycin to put in it 4-6 times a day. The bluish/white spot appears to be getting smaller but seems like its taking forever to heal and I am not sure he can see the best out of it. I am keeping him in a dark stall with no turnout. Just curious to hear anyone elses experiences with these. As they are very scary!!

  • #2
    Dealt with them a few times...they are scary and can take a long time to clear up.

    Work closely with your vet. My vet would re-check OFTEN....as in daily initially or every couple of days.

    Mine were usually treated with both Atropine and an antibiotic ointment. Often the horse was also put on banamine.

    Can be a real pain to treat if they start fussing about putting stuff in their eye but very important to stay on top of and have a good vet helping you! I don't remember having to keep them locked up for weeks...but did keep a good fly mask on until it was healed.

    Good luck...most heal well with proper treatment.
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Jan. 2, 2011, 10:19 PM.
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


    • #3
      My horse had a corneal ulcer over the summer from a scratch/grass seed stuck in his eye. While it was a huge pain and caused almost a month of no work it healed up just fine with atropine and antibiotics. He will be wearing a fine mesh fly mask this summer!


      • #4
        Ugh, yes. My horse has had two, but he seems to have sensitive eyes. Anyway, my horse got scraped in the eye and we used that same cream every two hours for two days, then every four hours, and that was for about a week. Very long and somewhat scary since it was a decent ulcer, but if you just stay on top of it, it'll be fine.

        I agree though, flymasks made me feel so much better. After the two he has had, I was scared he would lose one of his pretty eyes!
        Dream Again Farm


        • #5
          Get yourself a vet that knows what to do...FAST!!!

          Rasta managed to get both a corneal ulcer AND two corneal ABCESSES year before last - it took about 3 and a half months of medicating the eye with his own serum and antibiotics, as well as oral meds before it was healed...lots of consults with very good equine opthamologists along the way to monitor/adjust the meds and regimens also. My vet is an eventer, a friend, wonderfully smart/knowledgable, obsessive about getting things right, and incredibly good at networking with the best vets across the country...hence all the consults, and the great results. I learned how to squirt serum into Rasta's eye, as well as live on little to no sleep as this had to happen every 4 hours so at 10 pm. 2 am, and 6 am - I came home from work 2x/day to do meds, and then started all over again when I got home. This all started the weekend of Thanksgiving and was pretty much over by mid March. Good luck!!!!
          ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


          • #6
            eyes are nothing to mess with. hav eyour vet come out to reassess every 7 days.
            if you arn't seeing marked improvement i'd suggest a lavage or hospitalization. eye issues get away from you quickly.
            chaque pas est fait ensemble


            • #7
              My gelding got a corneal ulcer on his left eye a week after he ripped half of his right eyelid off. It was awesome.

              My vet gave me two different drops to put in his eye, but I honestly don't remember what they are. It seemed slow to get better, especially compared with how fast the flesh wound healed. But it did. I also kept him out of the sun. He's all good now. Just be diligent about the drops.


              • #8
                We moved your thread here to Horse Care where it's a bit of a better fit, and you might get some more input from folks from other disciplines.

                Mod 1


                • #9
                  I've just been treating a corneal ulcer.

                  The best thing to do is a lavage system. That way, you can treat the eye without having to actually stick tiny tubes and syringes in there. He should be treated 6-8 times a day. Banamine is a very good pain med for eyes, I did injectable solution orally. Too many sticks to actually inject it. Atropine is important to prevent the pupil from shutting down. I did his own serum as well. Sew a piece of black fabric to the inside of a fly mask so the whole side of the bad eye is covered, then your guy can go out in a small paddock.

                  Eyes require instant veterinary support. Best of luck.


                  Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                  • #10
                    Dealing with this now!

                    The vet is coming back next week, but for right now I am just using a saline wash and fly mask.


                    • #11
                      My horse got a corneal ulcer a few years ago, from a piece of hay. I did everything above, but in about 24 hours she developed both fungal and bacterial infections. We ended up doing a corneal transplant, and after 10 days at the vet she came home on antibiotics, Atropine and Banamine. The good news is, she healed fine and now has 75% vision in the eye (as opposed to the other option, removing the eye completely). In hindsight I probably should have just saved a massive amount of money and had the eye removed, as we only do trail riding and dressage.
                      While the lavage (best thing ever!) was in she was on supervised turnout only. After it came out she went out with a fly mask. And always came back in without it, no matter how creative I was.
                      In spite of all that, she healed really well- albeit slowly- and has never had a problem with it.
                      That was my experience. Sounds like yours is going much better. Good luck!


                      • #12
                        My gelding got a really nasty deep corneal ulcer a few years back. It was a nightmare but in all reality it could have gone a lot worse. I had to medicate with 2 different meds every 2-3 hours 24 hours a day for a week. I didn't sleep for that week, I can tell you that. After that there were still many weeks of meds several times a day. They were really worried he would not get to keep his eye in the beginning but it all worked out. He still does have a scar though.

                        The vet said since I was so psychotic about getting the meds in so often it saved his eye. So, I suggest you do the same. Also, make sure your vet is really good with eyes. They go bad fast and are nothing to mess with. Good luck!


                        • #13
                          I've had several over the years, and most were pretty uneventful. Even one that was very slow to heal at least kept going in the right direction, and eventually resolved just fine.

                          But then this fall, my youngest mare got a corneal ulcer with an extremely agressive fungal infection, and lost an eye. We were treating several times a day with miconazole, silver sulfadiazine, and serum, and it would hold steady for several days, then suddenly worsen. We took her to the vet hospital and had a conjunctival graft done, and the fungus ate completely through the conjunctival graft in about two days, she was in so much pain she started impacting and had to be put on fluids, and we had to enucleate anyhow.

                          Though it sounds like yours is headed in the right direction, a recheck might be in order.

                          And as previous posters have mentioned, my horses have always gone out with a flymask on during recovery.
                          "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                          -Edward Hoagland


                          • #14
                            Corneal Ulcers

                            My experience with corneal ulcers is that they take WAY longer to heal than you would ever expect. We treated the ones (several, due to uveitis complications) very aggressively and they still took much longer than you would think for them to heal.

                            I think it is because a cut of that size (miniscule, in comparison) would heal so quickly that you expect the eye to do the same... however, it does not. As others have said, it is important for the vet to examine frequently as well.

                            Good luck!


                            • #15
                              Haven't had it in a horse, but my bunny had a nasty corneal ulcer that took FOREVER to heal. It was large, and his advanced age made it worse, but it took at least a year to fully heal with vet assistance. Brutal.


                              • #16
                                Vision Issues?

                                Anyone ever have one cause permanent vision/blindness issues?


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by sar2008 View Post
                                  Anyone ever have one cause permanent vision/blindness issues?
                                  When we had the conjunctival graft surgery done, the veterinary opthamologist warned me that my mare could have some scarring and vision loss as a result. Since she ended up losing the eye, I can't say how extensive the damage would have been afterwards. So it is certainly possible, though I think the vast majority heal with little or no sight obstruction.
                                  "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                  -Edward Hoagland


                                  • #18
                                    Yep, had one this fall due to my horse not closing his eye when going for a nice roll - he got a rock stuck under his eye lid .

                                    It was a bad spot to get meds to, because it was in the upper left corner of the eye, under the lid. But it was also a good spot because it was closest to where the new blood supply grew into the edge of the eye.

                                    Honestly, you have to be very, very diligent in getting the meds in - we had 2 drops (one for lubrication, one made from his plasma for the white cells), and 3 different ointments plus monistat. A lot to do, 4x/day. It was horrible and he got very uncooperative half way through. But I persevered and 3? 4? weeks later (can't even remember now, just remember being extremely tired!!) we got the all clear. I've been through a lot of horse 'things' and this was definitely one of the worst for treatment.

                                    Knowing what I know now - I'd have had my vet put the lavage in from the get go. But since my horse was fine with the ointments, just not the drops, it seemed like a lot to do when we were so close to being done.

                                    Good luck - you have my sympathy. The best you can do is follow the vet's directions exactly and hope your vet is very good with eyes!
                                    ~* Be kind to one another *~


                                    • #19
                                      Had several to deal with in one horse's eye. It took forever to heal, I used a combination of drugs, the vet used atropine sparingly,but did use it. Since it was summer with night turn out, a face mask sufficed until dark. The antibiotic was a compounded medication, the name of which escapes me.

                                      I carried a lot of small pieces of carrot, and after each drop or smear of ointment was applied, I came up with a piece of carrot. It took a few days, but the ointment was much better tolerated with a piece of carrot in the future.

                                      Patience and diligence are the keys.
                                      Taking it day by day!


                                      • #20
                                        Just a heads-up--I had my mare get scratch her eye WHILE wearing her fly mask...we're guessing she got a piece of hay stuck in one of the holes? (My boarding barn at that time used round bales.) Thankfully she had her fly mask removed every day so we caught it right away.
                                        I think fly masks are often better than nothing, but unfortunately they're not foolproof.
                                        Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique