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Corneal ulcer-UPDATE #12

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  • Corneal ulcer-UPDATE #12

    Barring complications, how long should a normal corneal ulcer take to heal? My guy is improving slowly, but he is a sale project and I am trying to figure out my schedule with him. Thanks!
    Last edited by caryledee; May. 30, 2011, 09:43 AM.

  • #2
    My mare's corneal ulcer from hell took a couple of months to heal - it was melting and she had to spend four days at the hospital w/ round-the-clock treatments and then treatments 4x a day when I brought her home. She now has scar tissue & a nice big cloudy spot on her eye along w/ some vision loss. Her other ulcer wasn't nearly as bad and took about a week of at home treatments. They are nasty to deal with!!
    "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


    • Original Poster

      I feel for you! Going through this once is a royal pain; can't imagine having it turn into a melting ulcer! I've done 5 days of treatments so far. Horse and I are both getting tired of the routine!


      • #4
        I must be in the seldom group then, it seemed to be weeks of every time I turned around doing either drops or ointment. I learned to give the horse a bit of carrot after every Rx, and the thought of the carrot made things much more cooperative.

        It's now a year later, and the eye is blemish free.

        So, patient persistence pays. Sadly, there's no other way!!
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


        • Original Poster

          Weeks?? It is going to be a long summer if that is the case! Did you continue riding her while it healed? My vet said I could ride, but even in the indoor ring, the sunlight comes in really strong in places and I know it bothers his eye.


          • #6
            My old guy has one right now.

            We started with a severe case of conjuntivitis about 2 weeks ago. Vet came out...we started administrating eye meds and antibotics.. Eye cleared up.

            I had the chiro out on Monday and saw a cloudy spot in his eye. I could make out what it was and the chiro told me it was either an ulcer or infection.

            Called the vet...came out..said it was indeed an ulcer. We started meds (banimine and eye ointment) on Monday. He came back yesterday to recheck...said ulcer is now half the size and blood vessels look good. So I'm guessing in my case, probably one more week.


            • #7
              Depends on the size and depth.
              I've had a horse with one, and have one myself. Horse got antibiotics a few times a day in eye, kept inside and wearing a fly mask to help keep out light. He was better in a few weeks. No scar tissue left behind. Didn't ride him, it was too painful.
              Mine was much more severe. EXTREMELY painful, and I'm no whimp. I had times of laying down and moaning, despite some heavy pain killers. Doctor put a contact lens over mine that dissolved eventually after healed and YAY, no pain with that on. I however have scar tissue on that eye. Every once in a while it tears off and I have the original injury again. Apparently the cornea doesn't heal well, and often just grows scar tissue over the ulcer, and often leaves a blind spot.
              SO, please treat VERY carefully and faithfully. If you are careful, your horse may be just fine after it is healed, and it may not even be visible.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you for the information! I am treating 4x per day and only turning out only at night, per the vet. It is interesting to hear a human perspective as well. How did you get yours?


                • #9
                  Horse eyes heal slowly compared to other species. And are quite reactive (like ours). Poor tear production makes them heal slowly and increases the chances for complications. Stay on top of it. And be patient but observant.


                  • #10
                    It took weeks for my horse. It was a really deep one that almost required surgery. He had to have two different ointments several times a day. It was every 3-4 hours. I didn't sleep for weeks and it was awful. I stayed really on top of it and made sure he got his meds. The vets were really surprised at how well it healed and the scar is very small.

                    I turned my guy out at night with his mask. In fact, he now wears a mask year round. I did ride him once the squinting went down. Always at dusk and always with a regular fly mask with tape over the eye area. It seemed to do him good to get out and work.

                    The whole experience was a nightmare but it really helped our bond.

                    Good luck!


                    • #11
                      It depends. I've had horses with ulcers that healed spontaneously and others that took weeks. Another treatment that I've used is the horse's own blood serum. I'm not sure if it really helped but it didn't hurt. (That was a nasty one, happened while I was on vacation, sitter missed it????, her ONE and only eye was nearly 100% white and she was nearly blind.) After a year no scar was even visible but the cloudiness was noticeable for months.


                      • Original Poster

                        3 weeks into treatment, and no change. Vet is coming back today for the umpteenth time. We've done culturing, serum, and 2 days ago he scratched it with needle to try to get it to heal, but it doesn't look much better to me. I believe he wants to take him to the clinic today. Here is my dilemma: there are several good opthalmologists in the area. If this was your horse, would you go with one of them at this point, or continue on with regular vet clinic? Horse isn't getting worse, just not getting better. TIA.


                        • #13
                          Have had ulcers that took weeks. A year later the eyes were blemish free.

                          However at this point in time, I would, were I you, happily consult with an opthalmologist, before I haul him into a clinic for more of the same Rx.
                          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks merrygoround! Do you remember if you could visably see the ulcer shrinking? That is what is bothering me the most; day after day I see no change.


                            • #15
                              Ophthalmologist. I feel fairly certain my vet would have referred me by now. We did have a referral about 5 years ago, different primary vet, though.


                              • #16
                                Get him to the specialist as soon as possible - that's what I would do (and did for my mare - she saw the specialist w/ in hours of me noticing something was wrong - my primary vet called him). I will not mess around w/ eyes.
                                "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


                                • #17
                                  My horse had an indolent ulcer that would not heal. Vet came and did everything possible but it required and expert and surgery. I wasted a lot of time and energy not to mention $ by not taking him to Tufts within the first few weeks. Uclers are so painful and need special treatment if they don't heal within the first 7-10 days. Consult an opthamologist asap. he had the surgery and has a small scar but sees the jumps quite well
                                  Good Luck!


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thanks! I'll give them a call tomorrow.
                                    Jacqui-Do you know what type of surgery was done?


                                    • #19
                                      He had a conjunctival flap done at Tufts. It introduces a blood supply to the eye to speed healing of the indolent ulcer. He was there for a about 3 days and then returned in a couple of weeks to have the flap trimmed. It saved his eye! He has a small scar but can see just fine and has no other complications. We treated at home for 2 months with no success, he saw the opthamologist and they tried a contact lens first and it seemed to heal-fast forward 3 months later and entire eye was swollen, sore and actually peeling 1st layer, thus the surgery. It was a horrible experience for my guy
                                      I am lucky it turned out as well as it did. Good Luck and I hope for a speedy recovery for you horse.