Surgery on tear ducts? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-08-2011, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Texas
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Surgery on tear ducts?

It's a long story but you can skip to the bottom if you want.
I've been some problems with my mare lately. She's been pulling back and "spooking" at random things when i'm doing things with her on the ground. I can be standing right next to her just brushing her and all of a sudden she's freaking and pulling back, it's worse on her right side than the left. On her left side she "spooks" if i'm walking up with a saddle pad or saddle. Which if it was another horse I might think that they'd be trying to get out of work. But my mare is not like that at all, sure she's cinchy and you have to be slow and carefull even putting the saddle on her back or pulling the pad into the gullet, and take your time cinching, but that's it.
But she doesn't trip when she's walking, she picks her feet up over the ground poles. I knew I needed to get her teeth floated and thought that would explain her other problem, not taking the bit. Even pulling back hard to avoid it. All this started a few weeks ago.
So I had her appt. today for the vet to take a look at her. I knew her teeth would explain the bridle problem but I needed answers about her eyes before I chalked it up to just bad attitude. I need to know if she could at least see me first.

So we made it to the the vets. First he wanted to do her teeth. So we put her in the stock. He had to give her 2 tranqs and a twitch and she was still fighting! So he ended up having to lay her out. And had to give her another 3 tranqs to finish the job. And guess what. She fought the whole time. The vets helper said he has never seen a horse need that much tranq and still fight, not even the mustangs. The helper said it takes most horses 20 mins to come out of the sedative while she up and standing on her own within 5 mins. He said her teeth were bad and most likely was the cause of her refusing the bit. He said her bottom teeth barely stuck above the gums while her top teeth came down far. That she's going to be loosing some soon. Basically her teeth are doing things that a horse her age (15) should be no where's near doing.

So after that we moved on to her eyes. He looked at them with a light but I don't know if he saw anything that concerned him. She had some eye gunk so he asked about that and was concerned that she might have a blocked tear duct. So he put some dye in eyes and said if their not blocked than the dye will drain through and come out of her nose. Which of course it didn't come out of either side. So he put a catheter through her nose on both sides to try and unclog them. He tried her right side first and never could get it to flush out. And alot of trauma was caused in the process (bloody, sore nose). Then the left side. It took a bit but we finally got it to flush out.

So he was explaining to us that it could be 2-3 things. That her duct was so clogged that he couldn't flush it out, or that some horses don't have tear ducts and have to have surgery to "make" one. He said he would like to wait about 2 weeks for her nose to heal because of the trauma and then have another more in depth look at her. Which he said he didn't have the proper equipment to do it then anyway. So I don't know if they don't have it at all or if at one of their other clinics. He did mention the possibility of moon blindness as well.

So I guess all that rambling leads to this. Has anyone ever had their horse have surgery to make or fix a tear duct? I'm scared to ask what the cost estimate is for that. I'm dang gratefull for my vets though they have amazing prices. I just never had a horse that had to have surgery.

Awesome Miss Take- Storm- 15 yr APHA PHBA Mare
SS Catalena Doll- Claire- 2010 AQHA Filly
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-09-2011, 09:21 AM
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Sliding4ever, my brother was born with a missing tear duct in one eye. The doctors were pretty concerned about it and told us that he needed an operation to open a new one. We looked into it, but it turns out that there was a very high mortality rate in patients that get this operation. If I remember correctly, the anesthetics necessary for the procedure were so strong that some people just couldn't take it. Needless to say, we did not get the operation for him.

Our doctor told us to put an antibiotic ointment in the eye every day to keep it from getting infected. We did this for years and he was perfectly functional. An absence of a tear duct didn't really get in the way of anything.
I do not remember how old he was when it happened but he did finally develop a functioning tear duct on his own.

I don't know much about clogged tear ducts in horses, but I hope this can be helpful to you. Definitely do some research before you consider getting an operation because it might not be necessary.
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-09-2011, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Texas
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Thank you so much for your input.

That gives me alot to think. I'm definately going to research this. I was just hoping that there may be someone on here that has been here before. I'm hoping it's just a bad clog and maybe the regular vet can get it out. But if it comes down to surgery i'll be asking him alot of questions and most likely will not have it done that same day. It's alot to think about especially if I might loose her. I don't even want to think about the amount of tranqs that she'll need to keep down and quiet.

Thanks again?

Awesome Miss Take- Storm- 15 yr APHA PHBA Mare
SS Catalena Doll- Claire- 2010 AQHA Filly
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