Eye gunk - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 9 Old 08-14-2013, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Eye gunk

*Not real appetizing pictures warning

One of the yearlings came up with a really gunky eye five/six days ago. A mare later that day. Then another yearling a day later. Followed by a few other horses. Half of the herd has it now. It is not typical runny eyes or seasonal gunk. I had just cleaned their eyes when I took the pictures so there isn't much more than the irritated pink rims to see but the gunk is a bright yellow puss. A lot of tearing. Not much swelling. The horses are masked for minimal fly activity but, not at night. Now today two in my quarantine pasture a few hundred feet away have it. They do not share halters, buckets or the like nor can they touch other horses obviously so its clearly transferred by flies or airborne. So far no one has a fever, no other symptoms. But my yearling filly looks awful today and feels sh*tty too. I have been cleaning eyes 2 or 3 times a day and using Terramycin ointment. (Using ointment in a horse eye is a joke)

Finally called my vet today for an opinion since it just isn't going away. He seems to think that horses cannot get pink eye that spreads like cattle and has never heard of a whole here getting conjunctivitis. Not sure if that is true or not as that's what I've "assumed" it was and treated as such. He said he'd just keep doing what I am doing because he has no idea what else to do. I'm curious if anyone else has seen this before, or pink eye, or has any ideas and I'd really like to know how long it will take to run its course or if I should just start giving penicillin now, might try that on the filly and see if there is any chance it helps. Her eyes look the worst and she clearly feels under the weather today. It doesn't make me happy that this hasn't gotten better, only worse, over the course of the week.

Sorry for the book, pictures attached.




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post #2 of 9 Old 08-14-2013, 04:47 PM
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I have never really heard of a horse getting a bacterial conjunctivitis, but if you were a human patient coming into my office with green goop coming out of your eye, that would be my first bet.

And the fact that it has spread from horse to horse supports the fact that it may be a bacterial infection.

Traditional "pink eye" is a viral infection and usually does not have green goop. Pink eye usually has a lot of watering and sensitive to light with a burning sensation (obviously our equine partners can't tell us if their eyes are burning).

You can try to let it run its course but if its already been a week and it hasn't gotten better, it may be wise to put a anti-bacterial ointment into the horse's eyes to try to kill off the bacterial infection. See if your vet will prescribe you something you can use for your horses.
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-14-2013, 05:10 PM
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allergies? My horses get gooey eyes at certain points of the season from allergys.


Ah nm, I see you said its getting worse tearing and sensitive. Id probably fly mask them and def. Try medication as said above. Something contagious seems likely to me.

Married to my One! 10-11-13 Steampunk style:)

Last edited by Trinity3205; 08-14-2013 at 05:15 PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-14-2013, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Beau - Crazy huh? That is exactly what I started to do as soon as I saw that the fillies eyes looked watery. We have been using Terramycin as I stated above :) It has not made any head way in clearing it up.

Terramycin Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-14-2013, 06:32 PM
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Whoops, missed that you said that.

How many days has it been exactly since you started treating them? Sometimes bacterial infections can last for 7 to 10 days, depending on how bad the "bug" is.

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post #6 of 9 Old 08-14-2013, 09:09 PM
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Are your horses on round bales. Could if they. Are all sticking their heads in the same round bale .... Dust or it is something that is contagious. I personally hate round bales.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-14-2013, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Beau- The first one started 5 or 6 days ago and I started to treat her immediately.

Sachmo- I feed partially off rounds and partially squares. The horses affected are on different hays so I have ruled hay out :/
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-14-2013, 11:14 PM
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Possible it may just still need more time. We typically treat bacterial infections for 7 to 10 days.

If it persists longer than that, it wouldn't hurt for your vet to do a culture of the goop coming out of your horse's eyes. If it is bacterial and a tougher strain, you may need a different antibiotic to match up with it.

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post #9 of 9 Old 08-15-2013, 07:21 PM
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my horses eyes look alot like that during the summer time when flys are out and up to no good:p.... anyways what I do is clean his eyes everyday with saline solution, and put swat around his eyes to keep fly's away.. another thing is go talk to your vet because some of the white gunk could be fly larva, the vet may give you an ointment to put in the horses tear duct..(that's what my vet did)... hope this helped.. and it doesn't look like anything real bad but good luck!
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