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More questions about a corneal ulcer

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  • More questions about a corneal ulcer

    I posted before about my guy getting a corneal ulcer (about two weeks ago). It has been healing really well. Last vet check on tuesday of last week the vet was very surprised at how well the healing was going. Said that they normally don't heal that well and that there was no stain leaking under where the healing was taking place. She said there was still a 2mm defect in the center of the ulcer and that I needed to continue meds every 3 hours until it healed. (It was a 7mm defect!) She was going to recheck today. However, the defect is still there. I called and told them I was going to give it more time.

    It looks like it is getting smaller, but not as fast as before. I admit that I have had to cut back on the meds as I can't get up in the middle of the night like I was. (I have to work to pay the darn vet bills.) He is still getting it frequently though. The eye looks good. No pain to light, no discharge, no squinting, no swelling, no redness. I can just still see the ulcer and the defect. It almost looks like a scratch now. A thin white line in the center of the ulcer. It is thinner than it was on Friday.

    So, all that background to ask, how long should this sucker take to heal? It gets more difficult to judge progress as it is smaller. I of course second guess myself and wonder if it has stopped healing. I could have the vet out again, but a $200 bill to tell me to do the same thing I am now is just not feasible at this point. Plus, he is not in any pain. (that I can see.)

    How long has it take to heal ulcers in you guys experience? Have they ever just stopped healing?

  • #2
    I had an older mare who got them frequently. The longest one took to heal was about a month and half.


    • #3
      Yes, they can just stop healing. I worked with a mare recently that had this problem - her cornea just stopped producing epithelial cells, and the result was a chronic, or "indolent", ulcer. She was getting 5 different medications at 2 hour intervals (I was the lucky extern that got to get up at 4 am to give them, so I feel your pain!) and it still wasn't healing. The day before I left the externship, the ophthalmologist came out for a recheck and debrided the cornea with a very dilute acid, to make it angry and hopefully encourage it to heal. It's been about a month, and I talked to one of the interns about a week ago - she said it's doing well. If this doesn't work, she may lose the eye.

      Corneal ulcers are nothing to mess around with in horses - they can very quickly progress to fungal ulcers, which basically look like the cornea is "melting" off the eye. If you have any doubt at all, I'd have it rechecked.

      Adams Equine Wellness


      • Original Poster

        He is on fungal meds. So, I hope that will help fight off any chance of fungus.


        • #5
          Keep up the meds at the most frequent intervals that you can! My horse had an ulcer heal beautifully only to reappear 3 months later. It was a disaster! The opthomologist said that the new cells never really attached. We ended up having to do surgery to save his eye, Tufts performed a conjuctival flap which gave his eye a blood supply to help speed up the healing and protect his eye at the same time. He has great vision now but still has a scar on his eye. Good Luck and keep up the all the medication until your vet see no stain at all.


          • #6
            My late mare had an indolent corneal ulcer that took several months of continued treatment to heal. It finally did heal, but would flare up every other month or so for the remainder of her life (two years). When it flared up, we would treat with blood serum and that seemed to heal it pretty well.

            Good luck - I know how frustrating these ulcers can be!
            In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)