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Speak to me of your experience with uveitis, please

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  • Speak to me of your experience with uveitis, please

    My 2.5 year old was diagnosed with bilateral recurrent uveitis. Vet is involved and he is being treated.

    I'm really just interested in anecdotal experience. There's a lot available about the future for horses with uveitis in one eye, or in one eye that later spreads to the other, but not for both silmutaneously. Although any uveitis experience is welcome and appreciated, here or in PMs.

    In particular -- how frequent are the episodes? Were both eyes generally affected in the same episode, or would one episode be in one eye and a later episode catch the other? Did the pain levels from episode to episode stay about the same, or did it increase as time went on? How long did it take to lose vision entirely (in one or both eyes)?

    When all is said and done, how comfortable were you actually able to keep your horse through all of this?
    Last edited by Halt Near X; Feb. 21, 2013, 07:18 PM.
  • Original Poster

    Bumping for the evening/heading into weekend crowd.


    • #3
      my old pony has it. she is basically blind - but she is much older than your horse. she usually has a flare up during the late summer. i always give her banaine before and day of vaccinations. i give her a daily herbal medication - a Chinese herb. she gets around perfectly well, but she doesnt do much - like i said - she is pretty old.

      good luck with your horse!


      • #4
        ERU is such a variable disease, however, my impression of the bilateral cases are that these are the most resistant, the most difficult, etc... My one mare that was affected in both eyes has undergone the equivalent of "pharmacologic" enucleation in both eyes, in an effort to "end" the horrific inflammatory cycles, pain, etc... Clearly, she is now blind, but had we not had her undergo this rather radical therapy, her vision would have been lost anyway... Hopefully, this way, she has gotten "comfortable" sooner... I breed Appaloosas and Knabstruppers, so I am very familiar with the condition... My best advice to you is please find yourself a competent Equine Opthalmologist and if you're anywhere near NC State Vet School (Raleigh, NC), I highly recommend Dr. Gilger and his staff (http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/vhc/efac/equine/ophthal.html)!!! And, again, many of the answers to some of your questions are so variable and dependent on so many factors... Just have an opthalmologist evaluate your horse... Good Luck!
        Last edited by mitma; Feb. 21, 2013, 09:02 PM. Reason: typo
        Gleann Oighrig LLC
        Showing, Sales, Breeding, and Boarding
        Manakin-Sabot, Virginia


        • Original Poster

          Thanks, Bastile, that's helpful.

          mitma, he will be seeing an ophthalmologist.

          I know the answers to my questions are "it depends," and I realize my guy is an outlier in a lot of ways already, so even if there were a "normal" progression I doubt he'd be following it.

          I'm not looking for a roadmap for what I can expect. I'm just looking for stories of how it worked out for other people, if they're willing to share. It IS helpful to know Bastile's horse only flares up about once a year and doesn't require a lot of maintenance between episodes, or that your sense is that it's more difficult to treat with both eyes involved.

          It just helps provide some context for what "it depends" CAN mean. I do better with context.


          • #6
            If the cause appears to be autoimmune instead of infectious, there are cyclosporine implants that can be placed in the eye...



            • #7
              One of my horses had it, and it developed when he was about 12. With management, he was able to keep his eye and his vision. In periods of stress, it would flare. Similarly, if there was a lot of dust or pollen in the air, he'd flare too. He had excellent treatment through Rood & Riddle, and they actually flew a specialist out from California to see him. His case was complicated because flares would be cocombinant with a systemic fungal infection. No one could figure out the cause of either, but we did come up with a good management program.
              Piaffe Girl -- Dressage. Fashionably.


              • #8
                I had an appy with this condition but not diagnosed until he was quite old. He had a blue and a brown eye. The vet had me give him horse aspirin every day. I had to keep his eyes washed because they would tear and cause problems on the skin of his white face.

                He lived a very long time and the uveitis was really never a problem for him. He was quite proud and very stoic.
                Live in the sunshine.
                Swim in the sea.
                Drink the wild air.


                • #9
                  Hi I thought Id share my experience. I keep a mask on her 24/7 unless its actually raining. That helps the most. I have a guardian mask and also a sun blocking Kenningston mask. The quardian blocks the most sunlight but I have the other on standby when the gaurdian is too nasty to be put back on. The cashel also blocks sunlight but she wont keep it on. I ride my mare with a mask on as well when its sunny out.

                  Id definitly invest in a guardian mask and make sure you measure correctly!

                  I also have her on 15,000 mgs of MSM.
                  Last edited by ActNatural; Apr. 29, 2013, 11:22 AM.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Halt Near X View Post
                    My 2.5 year old was diagnosed with bilateral recurrent uveitis. Vet is involved and he is being treated.

                    I'm really just interested in anecdotal experience. There's a lot available about the future for horses with uveitis in one eye, or in one eye that later spreads to the other, but not for both silmutaneously. Although any uveitis experience is welcome and appreciated, here or in PMs.

                    In particular -- how frequent are the episodes? Were both eyes generally affected in the same episode, or would one episode be in one eye and a later episode catch the other? Did the pain levels from episode to episode stay about the same, or did it increase as time went on? How long did it take to lose vision entirely (in one or both eyes)?

                    When all is said and done, how comfortable were you actually able to keep your horse through all of this?
                    can be known as moon blindness- here in uk not as common as in usa
                    lots of thing can cause it, worms are tops, as it can be via parasites
                    and cats,

                    my old horse ossy had it came apprant same age as yours but for me it was worms that cause it that migrated to behind the optic nearve as i had resuced ossy as a 4mth old foal and yes i did worm him with the appropeiate wormer for his age and worms that come within the seasons of the year

                    warmed him and he passed this gunky stuff that i didnt recognised so i called the vets, he had a 20% chance of living and they said they could have operated on him to take out the badly damged intestines which were passing through his bottom- hence the stuff i didnt reconised ----- but they said he wouldnt make to the operating table, as this foal was undernorished so they could try and help him via other medication and having a team of vets with him every day for a month 3 times a day -

                    obviously he survived- feed wise it was trial error by self that sorted different feeding to maintian his weight as at that time wasnt any thing out there that helpd horses with digestive problems as they only counted for 5% of the market how feeds have changed -lol and good to

                    at that time was sheer hard work but he was young and grew up with it
                    he died last year aged 22yrs in his life time he gave back do much more he was my daughters 2nd pony he was han xtb surposed to been 16.2h but worms stunted his growth so ended up at 15hhs nice good looking chestnut small horse

                    in his time he won every thing he was asked to do from mixed events like dressage , show jumping, eventing, one and 2 day, pony club activities, riding club activities, did polo, with the pony club, did x/c , and hunter trials, . team chasing, was used as general hack coudl turn his oof to anything and never ever came below 2nd

                    his condition of the eye in the hand side over years worsened but never stopped him, and they it migrtaed to the right eye, he was still competing in his teens when he was completely blind in the left and also had a caterah

                    he was semi retired at 19 and retired fully at 20 with the odd hack out just for a change of scenery and nice walk round the block

                    i did have medication on he atall times if his eyes flared up which they often did which was maxacell steriods and another pain killier cream for the eye

                    things you can do to help improve your horse to live normal lifestyle and still have fun with

                    1---------- remember hes blind or going blind so this most important for you and him to be susccessful partnership

                    a------ your voice is your biggest aid and asset so speak clearly to him like you would another human
                    b- dont talk baby talk to him- this will confuse him and these horses with thses problems you dont need to confuse them which will make them panic you need to be confident direct and assetive so that they can trust you completely

                    b-------- dont worry as hes young he will grow up with the problem and adjust himself to it and dont think he cant do things becuase he can so 1st of always walk on his sighted side so if he did panic hes not going to trample you or run you over that wont help you or him

                    c---------- everything in his stable or field must stay in the same position
                    this will help co ordinate - his feed water and hay

                    d- if he has freind in the field you might find this freind on left side of him when grazzing this would be the side he can see so clever with, or you might find that hes the eye that has it to the fence line - again dont worry hes keep ing his good on on the rest of the field and dont take of his whiskers as they help with the echo - from the fence line they will be used as feelers
                    unlike us humans whom only relay on our others sense when we lost one animals still have all there senses and the whiksers are one them and he will use them a lot more now

                    2-------- keep the horse in when really windy or direct sunlight as this will make the eyes weep and hurt him and will bring the condition more so

                    3- buy guadian fly mask and fly sheet- be kind and support the horse if the eyes weep the fly will bite likewise they bite anyways so covering his body and head will at least take some of the discomfort away and it will also aid him in living a normal life

                    4- use shaving rather than straw as small particals and pours of the straw will effect the eyes

                    5- buy a small water spray bottle spray the stable in the air with water to dampen down any dust particals or hay spours do this before you bring neddy for night or to be used

                    6- feed haylage for the same reasons as the spours wont go into the ponys eyes when eating or if feeding hay get a hay bar and let him feed with head down rather than up at a hay net

                    7---- when hes being broken in or riden make your aids slightly stronger for exsample if using your leg add a bit more pressure when you want something do mess about or hessitate give a direct signal

                    for example- when debs used to jump ossy- and the jump was off the one side she would go left ossy give more on the right side of her leg aid to push him forwards onto left approach and then up os up boy

                    as we all know when you jump a jump the jump dissapears under the horses head as he approaches it but if one cant see it in the 1st place then once must be confidence encourage the horse via legs and seats and use your voice

                    good luck and by the way i have four blind horses and all lived and worked well till a good age and yours can to but its up to you to be confident remember hessitation creatsa doubt, lack of confidence creates a doubt confusion creates a doubt in a horses mind

                    and a doubt in a horses mind is a fear factor they only have 2
                    1st is to flee- 2nd is to advade you when ridden driven or handled