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Talk to me about Uveitis

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  • Talk to me about Uveitis

    This may get a little long... bear with me!

    On the last day of my vacation my barn owner's husband called and said my mare had a slightly puffy lower eyelid, but nothing major. I went to go and see her on Thursday when I got into town, and the entire lower lid was inflamed, and her eye was cloudy. If I turned the lights on, she completely held it shut.

    Of course I panicked and called the vet. They were out this afternoon, and diagnosed it as uveitis and perscribed eyedrops five to six times a day and a follow up visit Monday or Tuesday. I was hoping COTH could give me jingles, and words of wisdom.

    Can anyone share uveitis stories, both acute and long term? I'd really appreciate it!

    Mods, can you move this to Off Course or Horse Care? Wrong forum!
    Last edited by magicteetango; Sep. 11, 2009, 06:59 PM. Reason: Blonde moment

  • #2
    I have seen 2 cases....one a not good outcome...the other a good outcome.
    Needs to be treated aggressively with correct treatment. If there is a good opthomologist <sp> that you can call get them out ASAP. Where I am in NJ we have a dog/cat eye doc who also does horses and she truly savedthe mares sight.

    The not so good outcome was not diagnosed immediately and when it was it was already pretty bad.

    Long term.....lots of things that need to be done....including being careful worming and what vaccines given.

    All of this needs to be answered by a really good vet experienced in caring for this...its a really tough one to manage sometimes....be aggressive in getting proper care is my 2 cents
    Adriane
    Happily retired but used to be:
    www.ParrotNutz.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Don't wait!!!

      I'm sad to tell you this, but I lost my first horse to recurrent equine uveitis. Don't wait to get treament and treat aggressively. I lost my boy in 2001, but I understand that there are more treatment options now. My farrier took one of his horses to Ohio State University and had some sort of insert put into his horse's eye, and it is doing well.

      My experience with it was that it was a slow progression from first "flare up" until he lost sight in both eyes and couldn't adjust to being totally blind. He lost vision in one eye first, did well with use of just one eye (we were still jumping and placing at hunter shows!), but had a really bad episode that took a few weeks to get under control. I think that what the beginning of the end. He rapidly began losing sight in that eye and became an unsafe horse to have in the barn. Only my sister or myself could handle him (I boarded him at a barn and he knocked out the owner's son) and after exploring the limited options available the decision was made to put him down.

      I found treating the uveitis to be difficult, especially when the horse didn't want you near his eye. My directions from vet were to keep the horse in during the flare ups (I actually covered over his window) and to keep him the dark, since the atropine would dilate the pupil. If I remember correctly, I had 3 different ointments that I was to administer 3 times a day, during the flare ups. For some reason, my horse tended to have these flare ups just twice a year, in the spring and the fall. I always called the vet out each time, just to make sure it was okay to follow the normal course of treatment. I have since found out that for the difficult to treat horse, a catheter of some sort can be placed to better administer the meds, so keep that in mind! Oh, I think I was giving Banamine or bute, too!

      To all the readers, don't think that you can "treat" eye problems yourself (I know we all get into the "home doctoring" mode ), call a vet!!! You can cause more problems by administering ointments without checking for corneal ulcers! Your horse's eyes are worth spending the money on a vet call.

      Best of luck to you and your horse.
      Last edited by ex-racer owner; Sep. 11, 2009, 08:38 PM. Reason: Added another line about treatment

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ex-racer owner View Post
        I'm sad to tell you this, but I lost my first horse to recurrent equine uveitis. Don't wait to get treament and treat aggressively. I lost my boy in 2001, but I understand that there are more treatment options now. My farrier took one of his horses to Ohio State University and had some sort of insert put into his horse's eye, and it is doing well.

        My experience with it was that it was a slow progression from first "flare up" until he lost sight in both eyes and couldn't adjust to being totally blind. He lost vision in one eye first, did well with use of just one eye (we were still jumping and placing at hunter shows!), but had a really bad episode that took a few weeks to get under control. I think that what the beginning of the end. He rapidly began losing sight in that eye and became an unsafe horse to have in the barn. Only my sister or myself could handle him (I boarded him at a barn and he knocked out the owner's son) and after exploring the limited options available the decision was made to put him down.

        I found treating the uveitis to be difficult, especially when the horse didn't want you near his eye. My directions from vet were to keep the horse in during the flare ups (I actually covered over his window) and to keep him the dark, since the atropine would dilate the pupil. If I remember correctly, I had 3 different ointments that I was to administer 3 times a day, during the flare ups. For some reason, my horse tended to have these flare ups just twice a year, in the spring and the fall. I always called the vet out each time, just to make sure it was okay to follow the normal course of treatment. I have since found out that for the difficult to treat horse, a catheter of some sort can be placed to better administer the meds, so keep that in mind!

        To all the readers, don't think that you can "treat" eye problems yourself (I know we all get into the "home doctoring" mode ), call a vet!!! You can cause more problems by administering ointments without checking for corneal ulcers! Your horse's eyes are worth spending the money on a vet call.

        Best of luck to you and your horse.
        I totally agree!!

        With eyes do not wait....vet ASAP. Please no home doctoring.....and yes atropine and 2 oinments is what my friend was given. Plus the one horse got some sort of shot in her eye.

        Never ever wait with an eye....please
        Adriane
        Happily retired but used to be:
        www.ParrotNutz.com

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          "Of course I panicked and called the vet. They were out this afternoon, and diagnosed it as uveitis and perscribed eyedrops five to six times a day and a follow up visit Monday or Tuesday. I was hoping COTH could give me jingles, and words of wisdom."

          I definitely did call the vet as soon as I knew as I was told it did not require veterinary assistance, and I was out of state but came the very next day and called. I am following their directions of the eyedrops five to six times a day, and having a follow up visit on Monday or Tuesday which is what my vet suggested.

          They mentioned the catheter as she can be a little difficult, but I believe I'll be able to handle this without that. How often do these cases recur if given the proper treatment?

          Casey was given banamine intraveneously earlier today, and is on paste for the next five days, tapering from the 1000lb dose down to a 500lb dose leading up to their visit. I'm assuming this condition is very painful if they're perscribing relatively strong pain killers?

          Thank you for the advice already given, scary as it may be. She's the horse I've been waiting for my entire life, and I am so worried about where this could lead. I am using the top clinic in the area, but I am unaware of any specialists in the Central PA area.

          Comment


          • #6
            Since you're so on top of things, I'm sure she'll be fine

            I've seen it get quite bad, but only when things weren't caught in time, or it was just going to be way too aggressive to treat anyways. Most though have been perfectly manageable. I know a dressage horse who's had it for 6 years, and only had one flair up, the one that caused the diagnosis. It can be a tricky bugger, but it sounds like you're doing everything right. Good luck!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I hope so, I am so worried. The vet only gave me drops, no ointment. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about that? I would like to call in the morning but I don't want to show how neurotic I am!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by magicteetango View Post
                I hope so, I am so worried. The vet only gave me drops, no ointment. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about that? I would like to call in the morning but I don't want to show how neurotic I am!
                Take comfort in knowing that no matter how neurotic you think you are I am sure they have dealt with worse. Plus if you don't call you'll worry all weekend.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  That's very true, I guess I will call

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Don't ever worry about being neurotic when it comes to your horse's health and well-being!

                    As I mentioned before, my experience occurred over a decade ago (when it began) and I am sure that advances have been made in the treatment of it. So, if you were given just one type of drops, there may be a new medication that came out since I last had to treat for uveitis. Hopefully, someone else that has a more current experience will post with a similar treatment to what you are administering.

                    If you have any doubts about your vet, you can always get a second opinion, too.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I don't doubt the vet, but I lost my first horse due to a veterinary mistake, so ever since I get pretty nervous. Thank you for the support and info, I've decided to definitely call in the AM just to be sure.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by magicteetango View Post
                        I don't doubt the vet, but I lost my first horse due to a veterinary mistake, so ever since I get pretty nervous. Thank you for the support and info, I've decided to definitely call in the AM just to be sure.
                        Always better safe than sorry.....like someone else said....I am sure there are far mor neurotic clients they have dealt with.

                        If you have a really good clinic they should be on top of the best treatments.
                        And there are many.
                        It is a tricky one to treat, in some cases, and in others, like another poster said it doesn't flare.
                        Do not worry about bothering the vet....call. It will make you feel better too. And yes Banamine is very useful as it is painful.

                        My friend's horse wore a mask to go out in the sun when the eye flared.
                        Adriane
                        Happily retired but used to be:
                        www.ParrotNutz.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          DON"T MESS AROUND WITH EYES! I have a mare who has been totally blind for about 4 years because of ERU and cared for another one for several years. You're smart to call the vet out quickly.

                          There are things you can do to help control flareups. I had good luck with daily aspirin and Guardian Masks www.guardianmask.com The masks are expensive, but IMHO worth it.

                          Go to 'Horse Care' and do a search. There have been LOTS of threads about ERU. Good luck!
                          Y'all ain't right!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by magicteetango View Post
                            Casey was given banamine intraveneously earlier today, and is on paste for the next five days, tapering from the 1000lb dose down to a 500lb dose leading up to their visit. I'm assuming this condition is very painful if they're perscribing relatively strong pain killers?
                            Banamine is usually given with eye issues. Not necessarily only for pain but also for anti-inflammatory. We had a filly at the clinic this summer that had septic uveitis. She was put on drops multiple times a day, banamine and a few other medications. Fortunately, she cleared up and is now able to see out of both eyes. The other case I know of was dealt with by a friend of mine. Her horse was diagnosed with uveitis and didn't fair as well as the filly. Did the vet say anything about keeping a flymask on your horse? We kept one on the filly during the day and the stall light off to try to protect the eye a bit more.
                            "There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse." - Robert Smith Surtees

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have a positive story! My 9 year old Appy was diagnosed with uveitis. The first flare up took a while to get under control, and we used several different ointments and drops, along with daily banamine for a few months. He wears a mask 24/7, even while being ridden. But since that initial flare-up which caused the diagnosis he was not had a single problem. The vet can still see a little cloudiness in his eye but he has not had another flare up in over a year. We are currently making the switch from dressage to the hunters and I have not noticed his sight hindering his jumping at all. Just be sure you are religious with the meds and instructions from the vet and invest in a few fly masks. Make sure you get one with UV protection, I use the Defender masks. I am constantly checking his eye, certain I will find a problem, but in over a year I have not had any sort of flare up (even with the stress of him being moved cross country). Good luck!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My mare was diagnosed with uveitis a few months ago. I immediately bought her a Guardian mask, and began tracking all aspects of her life (each day my BO and I track any changes in how her eye looks - we look with a flashlight to gauge pupil constriciton, as well as obvious signs like excessive blinking, inflammation, etc-, we also track the weather, her temperament/mood, what exercise she had, whether she's in heat or not - some people have seen a connection between flareups and heat cycles - and whether she got any meds that day). All of this is so that we can start to see a pattern which might tell us what leads to the next flareup. The good news is, there has not been another flareup yet. I am diligent about her Guardian mask, she does not leave the barn in daylight without it, and we've made some lifestyle changes for her to lower her stress levels (as stress can bring on a flareup as well).

                                This month the rest of the barn got dewormed with ivermectin. We suspect that ivermectin brought on her last flareup, so instead of willy-nilly deworming, we did a fecal, and based on the results, we chose not to deworm, but if we had dewormed, we were going to bute her for 4 days before and 4 days after as a precautionary measure.

                                The other thing I've started doing (you all may think I'm nuts, but sometimes you worry so much, you've got to do something to make yourself feel better ), I've started preparing her for a time when she might lose her eyesight. I've taught her to be led from the off side (that's her bad eye, and I'd rather not have her jump on whoever's leading her if she sees something funny from that side and spooks), I'm teaching her lots of voice commands (including "up" and "down", as we have a few little ledges to be navigated on the way out of the barn and into the paddock), and I've made sure that whenever she gets turned out, she's out with my other horse, a kind, sweet gelding who adores her, so that she gets used to following him around. Like I said, these might be silly things that, in the end, won't help, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something.

                                Good luck, OP. Please keep us posted. I am very interested in hearing from anyone who has come upon problems, solutions or ideas to share when it comes to uveitis, so feel free, anyone, to PM me as well.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  sunico that was some excellent advice (others have given good advice too).

                                  I should have mentioned that the mare I managed for years was on 24/7 turnout. Daily aspirin & Guardian Mask did a great job managing flareups (which responded well to banamine). She only had a handful over the years though her eyesight did decline. I was on top of her management because I had such a hard experience with my own horse.

                                  My mare was already blind in one eye when I got her. My vet thought it was the result of some sort of trauma. We didn't know any better then. The poor gal had a terrible flareup when she was at someone else's place. She was totally blind within a matter of hours. The vet there didn't know what we were dealing with and by the time I picked her up (in FL) and was able to get her to an opthamologist, it was too late. She had glaucoma that required treatment every 4 hours 'round the clock. That went on for a couple months before I finally got the vets to tell me that she would never regain any use of that eye and would always need expensive medication to manage the pain. I had the eyeball removed and the relief was evident almost immediately.

                                  I'm sharing this so maybe someone else will understand why I say DON'T MESS AROUND WITH EYES. It's good to get your vet out quickly, but local vets don't usually have the equipment and expertise that a specialist does.

                                  Thankfully, Candi is an amazing horse and she has handled being blind very well. She has one shriveled up eyeball that is useless - no light, no dark, no shadow, just blackness. She's been living with blindness for years now, and is pretty darned happy. She has some sort of radar or internal map that lets her know where all the obstacles in her paddock and the big pasture are. She knows the fenceline and enjoys the company of a few sweet mares. Like sunico, I taught her a couple simple commands right away. "up" is useful for grade changes and trailer loading, etc. "whoa" is great for anytime she might be heading toward something she needs to avoid. That mare will stop on a dime the second I say whoa even if she's nowhere near me.
                                  Y'all ain't right!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My horse has had uveitis for the past several years. Catch flareups early, that's very important. After a few flareups and you get the routine, your vet can get you some medication to have on hand so you don't have to wait for the vet to come out if it's a weekend or holiday. Atropine dialates the eye and provides some relief, as does banamine. Flurbiprofen is another anti-inflammatory administered directly to the eye (can be drops or ointment, don't worry). I also used neomycin to prevent infection with all the immune suppressors going on in the eye. I treated at least 6 flareups over the course of 2 years this way. He lost little vision because of timely treatment.
                                    We then found out about a study going on using a cyclosporin implant to treat it. Topical cyclosporin is available but it doesn't penetrate well and has had limited success. The implant has thus far been promising, so we had it done. It was an outpatient surgery, but they did still use full anesthesia. He has only had one flareup in the past two years. He has only lost at most 20% vision in his affected eye, and it somtimes looks slightly couldy in certain light. He can still jump and ride across country. Since his pain levels have been decreasing with the implant, he only wears a flymask in very bright turnout conditions. I can ride without one.
                                    Even so, I have also prepared my horse for blindness. He's the sort of high strung creature who doesn't take to new things well. Teach impeccable ground manners based on voice commands. Lead from both sides. And perhaps most importantly, find a stable with management you trust completely, to give the medication five times a day when you can't be there, to watch his eye's condition and notify you for any reason. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Just wanted to give an update, Casey's first bout of uveitis cleard with no issues, but she has had another one in the other eye =( We caught it within 24 hours and it appears her symptoms are relieved but she's on eyedrops 4x a day for a few more days, then twice, complete with ointment... And she's been put on doxy and blood tests have been ran for both lyme and something I cannot pronounce (sorry, lol).

                                      My vet is worried it is immune related as she's an 8yo Thoroughbred and he says it's rare for it to occur for her breed (non app or paint) and age, let alone twice in two eyes. Has anyone ran blood for uveitis before?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        There is a terrific veterinary ophthalmologist at UPenn... Mary Lassaline (sp?). My local vet consulted with her several times when my horse was treated for a different kind of eye issue a couple of years ago. (We were worried it was immune mediated also, luckily it turned out to be nothing major and he is fine now.)

                                        There are some good resources here, too: http://www.equineeyecare.com/

                                        Good luck. Eye issues are scary.
                                        **********
                                        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                        -PaulaEdwina

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