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Swollen Eye

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  • Swollen Eye

    For the third time in a month my horse has rubbed his left eye until it was just about swollen shut. The first time it happened we had the vet come out right away because we weren't sure what the heck was going on. She did a full exam of the eye and said he must have gotten some dirt in it and he gave himself some small corneal abrasions. treat him and left me with some ointment for his eye and an extra just in case. So second time he does it we treat it, Sunday it happened again! Gave him some banamine to get the swelling down and treated with the ointment and by Monday he is right as rain. Could he have allergies that are making him rub his eye? I just can not for the life of me figure out why he keeps rubbing the one eye. Was wondering if any of you had any thoughts on it.

  • #2
    I bet there's something hiding in there making him do that - you need to have the vet out, have them block his eyelids so they can get a really good look, and stain it, look behind the 3rd eyelids etc.


    • #3
      The course of antibiotics that the vet has given me for my horses corneal abrasions runs for no less than 10 days treating 3 to 4 times a day. If you go short or light with this protocol you can really have a problem on your hands. Provided this isn't the case, I'd be looking to see where this bugger is jamming his melon when you aren't around. I had a pony who regularly knocked his eye laying down and putting his head under the lowest fence board to get at clover along the road. It was hard to figure this one out because he only did it when he wasn't otherwise entertaining everyone.
      * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by animaldoc View Post
        I bet there's something hiding in there making him do that - you need to have the vet out, have them block his eyelids so they can get a really good look, and stain it, look behind the 3rd eyelids etc.
        She did do that when she came out and could not find anything in there.


        • #5
          I had one that kept having an issue for I swear, 2 and a half months last fall. After 3 vet trips and various ointments and drops I finally screamed uncle and went and bought some OTC Anihist at the feedstore (antihistamine). The vet kept telling me, there is nothing in the eye, no scratch, no dirt, no nothing, it's probably allergies. Only took one 3/4 dose a day (calls for 2 doses I believe) to clear it up. I had a mare two weeks ago that rubbed her eye til it was swollen shut. Banamine and eye ointment got her back on track but not 100%. The Anihist has been doing a great job (only had her on it for about 3 days now). This particular mare is shedding right now though which makes her itch everywhere, so I know why she rubbed the eye. We've had really whacky weather here and last week I had 3 horses with runny eyes (not swollen, just a bit gooey) and my sinuses have been screwed. So something run amok on the plant life I believe (at least out here!).

          You absolutely need to stay on top of it since he does have actual abrasions to the eye, but I don't believe the use of an antihistamine will hurt (you can even give them human benadryl) but of course, talk with your vet to be sure.


          • Original Poster

            He is shedding right now due to the wacky weather we have been having! I talked to the vet again and she said to try a fly mask to see if that stops him from rubbing, if not she sugggested antihistamine as well.
            Thanks for the info!


            • #7
              Could he have uveitis? If his eye is sore, he may respond by rubbing it. Talk with your vet, and also think about whether it is time to find an ophthalmologist.


              • #8
                I'm with AKB--I'd be suspicious of ERU with that history.
                Seek ye an ophthalmologist.
                "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                • #9
                  Another vote for potential uveitis. If you decide you need an ophthalmologist, NC State has one of the best veterinary ophthalmology services in the country.

                  Adams Equine Wellness


                  • #10
                    When the vet did the stain did they check for uveitis? That's just kind of the norm here any time the vets are out to stain the horses, they check for it (bringing up since the last two posters mentioned it). Uveitis never made mine swollen just made them squint like crazy. I know it varies from horse to horse though.


                    • #11
                      I don't know about diagnosing uveitis in horses with a quick exam, but in children it is not that easy. If I see a child with a known predisposing problem (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis) and they have a painful, red eye without an obvious cause, they go right to ophthalmology. My ability to assess for white blood cells in the anterior chamber and other subtleties, is close to zero. Also, I can't check eye pressures.

                      There are times that there is no good substitute for a specialist. Maybe horses are different. I'm sure a general vet can get some idea as to whether or not there is uveitis, but I don't know of any quick, easy, and definitive test for the general practitioner to use on subtle cases.


                      • #12
                        Look into getting a titer for lepto

                        When my older horse (JJ) was diagnosed with uveitis, my vet ran a titer for leptospirosis. He was actually positive for leptospira bratislava, the strain most commonly found in pigs, so he must have been kept someplace where pigs had been.

                        We treated it very successfully with 3 cc's of Banamine three days per week for several years. Then, two years ago, he had a flareup that didn't resolve and ended up with glaucoma, so he lost that eye. So far the uveitis hasn't jumped to the other eye, and with luck, it won't. My vet and I keep a close watch on it.

                        Good luck, hope you get this sorted out. If it is uveitis, stay on top of it. :-)