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Uveitis in developing dressage horse

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  • Uveitis in developing dressage horse

    I just bought (less than a month ago) a very talented but green dressage horse. I was just about to apply for insurance. The day the vet came out to do spring vaccines and coggins, the mare's eye is totally swollen. Turns out she has uveitis. Still determining the cause, current treatment seems to be working. The vet check was very through and there was NO mention of uveitis. The previous owner said she had an eye infection in the past but was treated and no further issues. Now I am wondering if that was actually a uveitis flare up.

    Is this just bad timing? What would you do, just suck it up and accept the horse for how she is? I was planning on reselling her eventually...

  • #2
    I've just been through this, only before I knew there was anything going on, horse was blind in one eye. Her infections were completely silent. The vet ophthalmologist who saw her suspects leptospirosis which is often implicated in recurring uveitis. Lepto can be treated. And there is a bovine vaccine that is sometimes used. In the meantime, treat the eye aggressively. If your vet thinks it's warranted, have the eyelid catheter put in and treat with all of the big guns. It's possible to save eyes and save sight, but if the cause of the infections is leptospirosis, you need to treat that.

    Don't give up. I had another horse that I thought I would have to have the eye removed because of injury and infection, but we were able to save both the eye and his sight.

    A one eyed horse can be a happy horse. My mare shows no signs whatsoever of being blind in one eye. If your girl is a good and talented dressage prospect, I'd suck it up, just accept, and treat aggressively.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks for the input!

      Comment


      • #4
        What viney said. Blindness is the best "lameness" to have, especially for a dressage horse. My boy had silent attacks for a long time when I accidentally found out he was about 80 percent blind. As long as you know, it's pretty easy to deal with. Eventually he we lost all sight and still competed I 1 to the end. For a long time he had beautiful brown eyes and you never knew. Eventually they started whitening and shrinking. Luckily by then they had changed the rules and allowed blind horses on show dressage.

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        • #5
          I can't speak to the original condition, but I can say that there's a young one-eyed mare at my barn who is boss-mare and an excellent dressage prospect. She is shown successfully in dressage and has a very nice career ahead of her. Her lost eye hasn't slowed her down a bit in life.
          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

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          • #6
            I rode a horse successfully in the jumpers who had uveitis. The barn were very vigilant about treating him at the least sign of any flare up as you're doing with your mare. He wore a flymask any time he left the stable and at shows we endeavoured to park him under a tent if he had to wait by the ring.

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            • #7
              I went through this with my mare a few years back. Went on for 9 long months. She did not have uveitis but instead an allergy. Took mine to New Bolton twice. Finally, second time around, she saw the eye doctor (who came in from NJ once a month). He put her on some sort of antihistamine and it cleared up in two days. It was a human drug made by Bayer, cost $100 for a tiny bottle but it worked.

              Advice, find someone who only does eyes. It makes a huge difference. Even the vets at NB did not know what was wrong. This guy clearly did.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks for the responses! They are giving me hope. Do you think her resale value is out the window? It will likely depend on the severity of maintenance required I am thinking.

                Comment


                • #9
                  We have a friend whose 5 year old has uveitis. She took him to an ophthalmologist and got a cyclosporine implant. He is doing well. NC State has an opthalmologist who does a lot of uveitis research and treatment.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I second the implant....definitely worth looking into!
                    Cornerstone Equestrian
                    Home of Amazing (Balou du Rouet/Voltaire) 2005 KWPN Stallion
                    RPSI, KWPN reg B, and IHF nominated
                    www.cornerstonefarmpa.com

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tangerinefour View Post
                      I just bought (less than a month ago) a very talented but green dressage horse. I was just about to apply for insurance. The day the vet came out to do spring vaccines and coggins, the mare's eye is totally swollen. Turns out she has uveitis. Still determining the cause, current treatment seems to be working. The vet check was very through and there was NO mention of uveitis. The previous owner said she had an eye infection in the past but was treated and no further issues. Now I am wondering if that was actually a uveitis flare up.

                      Is this just bad timing? What would you do, just suck it up and accept the horse for how she is? I was planning on reselling her eventually...
                      We just went through the cyclosporine implant for our appy. Dr. Gilger at NC State University developed this implant. The vets there are truly amazing and I would do it all over again.

                      The implant does not "fix" the damage that has already been done nor does it stop or prevent the disease, it will only prolong the progression of the disease. I was lucky to have a great vet who recognized it after our discussions and we decided to treat it aggressively as I did not want her to be in pain and have to give eye meds four or more times a day for the rest of her life.

                      She is a fairly young mare (9 years old) so we decided to go for it. She is 5 weeks post surgery and so far so good but I really could never tell when she was having an attack, the stoic animals they are. It's very silent disease, so much so that some horses are already blind before its recognized, and then it's too late to be a canidate for the implant.

                      Good luck with your horse and PM me if you have any questions regarding the surgery.
                      Last edited by NCHappyAppy; May. 11, 2013, 09:08 PM. Reason: Misspelling

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I just put my 2.5 year old down in part because of uveitis. I personally won't knowingly buy a horse with uveitis again, although I'd deal with it if I bought a horse and then they came down with it.

                        I don't think her potential resale value is completely out the window, but I think you're likely looking at a smaller market of people -- ones who have had good experience managing uveitis and are willing to take that on. The better she responds to meds and the longer she goes between episodes, the more marketable she'll be.
                        Halt Near X | Horse Bloggers - Blog Directory

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Halt Near X View Post
                          I just put my 2.5 year old down in part because of uveitis. I personally won't knowingly buy a horse with uveitis again, although I'd deal with it if I bought a horse and then they came down with it.
                          I am so sorry about your horse. Ditto on not buying another with uveitis. I can go as far to say that I would run away from any horse (such as an appy) that even had the potential to have uveitis.

                          I will certainly do what is best now that I have one but never again if I can help it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I say find a good ophthalmologist. I've seen a couple horses misdiagnosed, and when dealing with eyes you are best off working with a specialist. if it is uveitis, there are some good treatment and management plans. As for the resale issue, will that's more difficult. I always worry about an infection spreading to the other eye. I'd potentially consider a horse with stable eyes for a discounted price, but its certainly a concern to buyers.
                            http://community.webshots.com/user/Kikki500

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