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Corneal Ulcer

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  • Corneal Ulcer

    My god, my poor horse has had the worst luck these days. Poor boy gets over his abscesses and now he gets a corneal ulcer.

    I immediately called the vet when I saw it. (Yesterday afternoon.) She came out and stained the eye. It is a deep corneal ulcer, 7mm in size, and still picking up stain. I was told to treat aggressively with two different meds alternating every two hours until they recheck him Friday. He is also getting banamine. She did dilate the eye yesterday as well. (Still dilated today.)

    Today the eye is much better. Open wide like normal, less swelling and no thick discharge. Also, the membrane under the lid is no longer as red and inflamed. He seems comfortable and acts like his normal self.

    However, she did mention if it did not get better he may need surgery. She wanted to prep me for "worst case scenario". Of course this makes me more worried. However, they said it was not the worst they have seen in terms of ulcers.

    Do any of you have much experience with corneal ulcers? Is it good that it seems to be improving like it is? Any thoughts would be great. Like I said it will be a loooong night for me of treating the eye. I will have tons of time to worry about him. I thought the COLTHers may help inform me and maybe even ease my worries!

  • #2
    Be religious about the treatment. And if it starts looking worse or not improving call vet immediately. You don't want it to get a bacterial or heaven forbid a fungal infection. My daughter's pony had a corneal ulcer that got a secondary fungal infection. He ended up at a vet hospital for about 2 weeks. He had eye surgery and needed meds around the clock. His eye was saved but it has a cloudy area on it.
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh goodness I feel for you! Been there, had a terrible fungal infection and bacterial infection (and like Bird spent some quality time at the Vet Hospital) Be deligent on the meds, and watch for any changes. Eye problems can go south very quickly!
      Just because I talk slow doesn't mean that I actually AM slow.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        How did you all know that there was an infection? I assume the vet took a culture from the eye. Did they do this right away or after there were standing issues?

        Comment


        • #5
          In our case, the eye was so very inflamed that he was immediately admitted, cultured, started on aggressive antibiotics, and orals as well. They did culture several times to assess the infection and fungus, and we had to change meds according to the type infection.

          The Vets did warn us of possible surgery, but thankfully it didn't come to that. He does have a small, cloudy scar to remind us.
          Just because I talk slow doesn't mean that I actually AM slow.

          Comment


          • #6
            Several years ago, I treated a mare with a corneal ulcer about the size of a dime. Vet didn't say it at the time, but he believed it was barely 50/50 she would keep the eye.

            I treated her 6x a day, every day, for 4 weeks. Then 4x a day for another 4 wks, then 2x a day for two weeks or so. I can't remember all the medications exactly... 3 different ointments, each given about 2 or 3x a day-- neopolybac (triple), atropine, and one other (beginning with M? Miconazole? I know it was a steroid).

            I also was told to squirt blood serum into her eye with each treatment. The thought was that the blood-goodies (technical term) would encourage a capillary network to form towards the ulceration and help it heal quicker. I did notice blood vessels growing, and the ulcer's size diminishing as time went on.

            If nothing else, it was really good practice at hitting a vein. I had to pull a vial of blood every day, leave it in the fridge to separate, and suck off the top serum layer to squirt 1cc into the eye several times per day.

            The mare's eye healed extremely well (vet was shocked), with only a pin-sized white scar leftover.
            “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
            ? Albert Einstein

            ~AJ~

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Ugh. How terrible eye problems are! Don't get me wrong, I will do whatever needs to be done for my horse, but I have yet to sleep for more than 4 hours since Wednesday morning. I would sure love to sleep.

              Send some good thoughts my boy's way that his eye will be on the mend!

              Comment


              • #8
                we hit my guy with
                Oflaxacin 1 drop 4x/day X 1 wk then 3x/day for 1 wk- topical antibiotic
                Acular (for pain),
                Silvadene cream 400 mg 3x/day x 2 weeks- topical antifungal
                atropine to keep him dilated (he had a corneal perforation)
                Banamine 5 mg day

                kept him in the barn or in his Guardian mask.
                He healed fine, and we were on the cusp of surgery. Best wishes, I know what your shoes feel like

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow, sorry to hear that! My mare came in with a clenched-tight slightly swollen eye several days ago. Would hardly let us touch her head. We had the vet out right away and it was an ulcer just the size of a pinhead; started right in with ointment and banamine. And when it was rechecked today it was gone, though we are continuing treatment for a few more days just to be sure. Her eye is still dialated from the atropine, so she was stalled during sunny hours until today, and now is out with her fly mask with ducttape on it to make a "shade" for that eye.

                  Poor guy - it's very painful for them. Stay on top of the treatment, and hopefully it will heal fast. Jingles!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When I read the treatment of some of your horses, I am really happy that we caught my mare's right away. It was just luck that the vet was coming to the barn and I wanted her to check her teeth. She was brought in with a big puffy shut eye and the vet checked and treated her right away. We knew it had happened that night because we were there the evening before and she was fine. The vet did the fluorescent stain. On the invoice I see BNP H (LA) and Atropine sulfate 1% ointment. I was not present for the vet visit and my BO treated her for me since I could not get to the farm twice a day. She either stayed in or had her mask on. She healed very quickly... Thank God! When I read about bacterial or fungal infection, I realize how lucky we were!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Been there done that. Please tell me you are also keeping the eye in the dark. When my guy had an ulcer a couple of years back I sewed black material (several layers to make sure no light could get through) to the side of the mask that covered the affected eye as he is on 24/7 pasture with no access to lock him up in the dark. Tied the mask to a breakaway halter as he has a knack of getting fly masks off. He had to have atrophine and antibiotic ointment 4x a day for the first week plus banamine twice a day for the first week and then 2x a day for the second week after re-check. After second re-check (two weeks out) we were good but vet had me keep eye in the dark for another 48 hours as the atrophine had to wear off and eye was still dialated for that time. Good luck and if you follow the vets directions to the T you should be able to get through it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Be diligent about using the eye meds as directed. If you get too tired, or the horse won't let you put in the eye meds, you may have to go to Morven Park or whatever hospital is nearby.

                        My friend's horse had a large ulcer that did not resolve for weeks. She needed to sleep. When he was on meds every 2 hours, she left him at Morven Park. After it went to every 4 hours around the clock, she brought him home, with the eye catheter in place to make giving the eye drops easier. His eye healed beautifully. Many horses lose an eye because of an ulcer. It is hard to stay up night after night, fighting with the horse and putting in eye meds.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Going through some eye problems myself, right now, OP. I feel for you. Doing the banamine as well. Did the neo/polly in tandem with atropine. Since the ulcer has healed but the cloudy remains, we have moved on to sterioid ointment. Many times a day. Banamine for a month. I've got my fingers crossed. And it seems to be responding well.

                          Vet mentioned steroids with an active ulcer could result in a "melting ulcer" and I about messed my drawers. I didn't want to hear any further information on that. Shudder.

                          Nothing more scary than an eye issue. And nothing a horse loves more than having you mess with one multiple times a day.

                          Good luck. Give yours a hug from me. I know just how you feel.
                          "Aye God, Woodrow..."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you can get your hands on either a Guardian Mask, or an eye hood with plastic eye cup it will help you greatly!

                            Also, did the Vet put in a lavage for delivering the meds? Our gelding had one, but I have known others with less severe eye injuries that didn't need one. It does make medicating every few hours much easier (although it comes with its own problems lol!)

                            Sleep.....sorry. I don't think I slept for the whole 4 months we were treating our boy. Can you get a friend or family member to take a shift so you can catch a nap? That's what I had to do; and thank God for horsey friends!
                            Just because I talk slow doesn't mean that I actually AM slow.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Where are the Home Health Aides for horses that work 11 - 7AM?

                              We never use round bales because I'd heard that they are a major cause of corneal injuries when the horse jams it's head into the hay. Maybe some are more dainty, but I have Haflingers...

                              Hang in there, we had a small ulcer from a tiny imbedded burdock "hook", another common offender.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                www.bigdweb.com has the hoods with wire mesh protection, and those with the clear plastic cover protection. Look under the "racing hood" section. Big Dee's also has the pellin, which is much more expensive.
                                Caveat: the STB racing hoods do not fit a WB and must be modified by sewing in addition material or elastic.

                                My vet gives me the meds to keep in the barn, so that when an eye starts weeping, I start medicating before the vet comes out. With corneal ulcers, the quicker you start treating, the better, so that you don't get to the more advanced stages of infection and scarring.

                                Ask your vets to educate you about ulcers and to give you the meds to have on hand so that you can start treatment as soon as there is any eye irritation. You want to do this before the eye is swollen and tightly shut as the horse is in a lot of pain by then.

                                btw, dogs and cats also can get the eye ulcerations, and my dog/cat vet uses the same medicine for them as my horse vet does.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by SFrost View Post
                                  How did you all know that there was an infection? I assume the vet took a culture from the eye. Did they do this right away or after there were standing issues?
                                  I knew there was an infection because the eye became more inflamed and painful for the horse. It also turned a weird brownish color. The vet was out everyday to check it and as it was continuing to look worse sent me to the vet hospital. They cultured out the fungus and it was one they had never seen before. They ended up using the pony for a case study and did some follow-up on him for about a year after he was released. He had a sub-palpebral lavage put in so his meds were much easier to administer and a really cute guardian mask to protect the eye.
                                  Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by ttldr1 View Post
                                    Been there done that. Please tell me you are also keeping the eye in the dark. When my guy had an ulcer a couple of years back I sewed black material (several layers to make sure no light could get through) to the side of the mask that covered the affected eye as he is on 24/7 pasture with no access to lock him up in the dark. Tied the mask to a breakaway halter as he has a knack of getting fly masks off. He had to have atrophine and antibiotic ointment 4x a day for the first week plus banamine twice a day for the first week and then 2x a day for the second week after re-check. After second re-check (two weeks out) we were good but vet had me keep eye in the dark for another 48 hours as the atrophine had to wear off and eye was still dialated for that time. Good luck and if you follow the vets directions to the T you should be able to get through it.

                                    Forgot to mention earlier, but yeah we used a flymask too. Also sewed a strip of fabric (cut off end of flannel or polo wrap) to the inside over the affected eye. Make sure you have TWO such masks... the fabric will get gooky and need to be washed, during which the horse can wear the clean mask.
                                    “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                                    ? Albert Einstein

                                    ~AJ~

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks for all the thoughts and advice.

                                      The vet was out this morning and said the ulcer is smaller. However, she did a different kind of stain that when it takes indicates a possible fungal infection. Of course, it took. So, now a new med. I get to continue to treat every two hours, which I am super excited about.

                                      My other concern is that these vet bills are adding up. Between his last visit a few weeks ago and these were are going to be eating cereal for weeks. To make matters worse I have to go into the hospital myself next week. Sorry for the vet, it is just a lot to deal with.

                                      So, some other questions for you all...if it doesn't look any worse is it getting better? The vet was not all that specific. Just said it was smaller, looked better, but he was not out of the woods yet. Ummm....ok. I tried to ask questions but I was let very unsatisfied. On top of that it was a different vet than the original one they sent out. I wish it was the same person looking at it each time. they want to recheck on tuesday. At what point, if the eye continues to improve, so I say they need to wait longer between visits? I will do what needs to be done, but I have been told this vet will come out a lot and really does charge a lot.

                                      Good news is that he is happy. He gets treats and tons of attention. He never minds me putting in the meds and he even lets me catch him in the field each night.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Also, should ti cost $22.00 to stain the eye? I see that I can get a whole box of staining strips for that.

                                        Comment

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