A corneal ulcer is an abrasion (scratch) to the cornea. They can be superficial and simple or deep and complex. Ulcers can be caused by a variety of objects, but it is some sort of trauma to the eye (dirt, rocks, sticks, hitting it on something, etc.).
Signs of Corneal Ulceration:
These are the most common signs that owners usually notice in acute painful eyes. This can be very similar to the signs of other eye problems. Therefore, it is very important to consult with your veterinarian whenever you have concerns about your horse’s eyes. Often it is necessary to sedate the horse and numb the eyelids in order for the veterinarian to fully examine the eye.
Your vet can diagnose a corneal ulcer based on the findings of a complete ophthalmic examination. A lot of corneal ulcerations are not present to the naked eye, which is why a thorough evaluation, and the use of fluorescein stain is needed to diagnose. This is the most common cause of eye pain in the horse.
Uveitis means inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye. The uveal tract consists of the iris, the ciliary body and the choroid. These are the vascular (blood vessel) and pigmented structures of the eye.
Uveitis can be caused by:
Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU), as its name implies, is a chronic, recurrent form of uveitis and is also known as:
We are unsure exactly what causes some horses to develop a recurrent form of uveitis and others to only have a single episode. If not treated aggressively, the repetitive bouts of inflammation can cause scarring and permanent damage to the eye, including blindness. ERU is one of the most common causes of blindness in the horse. The recurrent episodes of inflammation can occur in one or both eyes. It is impossible to predict when an episode will recur, however some owners have reported seasonal patterns or increased likelihood of an episode around vaccination or deworming. Your veterinarian can help you tailor your preventative care program to help decrease the potential for a flare up.
Common signs of uveitis you may observe include:
These are the most common signs that owners usually notice in the beginning stages of the disease. Signs of uveitis can be very similar to the signs of other eye problems. Therefore it is very important to consult with your veterinarian whenever you have concerns about your horse’s eyes. Often it is necessary to sedate the horse and numb the eyelids in order for the veterinarian to fully examine the eye. Although the signs may be similar, treatment for uveitis is drastically different than treatment for other eye problems, such as corneal ulceration.
Your vet can diagnose uveitis based on the findings of a complete ophthalmic examination. If two or more episodes of uveitis are documented, then a diagnosis of ERU is made. It is possible to observe some of the chronic changes that have occurred when an eye is not actively inflamed. This is why a full ophthalmic exam is an important part of a pre-purchase examination.
**ALL eye injuries are considered an EMERGENCY and a veterinarian should be contacted immediately**