Swollen eye - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Swollen eye

Since I have owned my horse atleast 3 times a year he comes from the pasture with a swollen eye(s)! I just don't get it! It's usually so swollen that I have trouble spearding his eye lids. Now I have a triple antibiotic ophthalmic ointment that I got from the first time his eyes were swollen shut and I always used that to treat his eye and usually his eye is back to normal in a day or so.

For instance today my boy came in with his right eye swollen. I applied the triple antibiotic ophthalmic ointment and put his fly mask on (making sure that it was not rubbing his eye) and left him be. Came back a few hours later and his eye was already looking better. He was opening his eye and the swelling went down obviously.

Now my question is could this just be allgeries or infection? He has no scatches or anything like that on his eye.

Chad Barnes 6-16-85~7-22-13
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 08:02 PM
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I don't want to scare you but have you had him checked for Moon Blindness/Equine Recurrent Uveitis?

Those sound like pretty textbook signs to me... :/ I would be skeptical that allergies would cease to be irritating just because his flymask is on...but I suppose it could happen.

My mare used to have constantly watery eyes in the sun and sometimes her eyes would get swollen. Her flymask always "solved" it so I figured it was nothing. Then, this last April she had a massive flare up which ended with her being diagnosed with ERU. She's had it, undiagnosed, for long enough that now she's basically blind. She can see blurry shapes close to her but really nothing else. If it had been caught sooner, there's a chance she would still have more of her eyesight. :(

In any case, get his eyes checked by a vet. If it is ERU, the sooner it's caught, the better chance he has of continuing to have full eyesight. If it isn't ERU, the vet will probably be able to prescribe some kind of something to help his eyes stay comfortable (swelling is generally uncomfortable, no matter the cause).

I'm hoping for the best for you guys! :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzaner gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat

Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat

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Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 08:29 PM
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My horse had a swollen eye. She musta rubbed it and got it infected somehow, that's probably what happened with your boy as well. I called my vet and he recommended flushing it out every 4-6 hours with salt water (add sea salt to water), then flushing that out with clean water almost immediately after. I kept a clean fly mask on her 24/7 and continued this treatment for four days, the swelling was gone in two and it has never come back.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Wallaby! I looked up what you mention and my boy does show other signs of that problem. Like every 4-6 months his eye or eyes are swollen but his eyes do not always tear. I think I may call my vet and discuss it with him. What are other signs that your horse showed?

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post #5 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a picture of his swollen eye earlier this morning. It has since gotten better, this is how his eye always looka whenever he comes in with a swollen eye.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1023.jpg (74.5 KB, 274 views)

Chad Barnes 6-16-85~7-22-13
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 10:10 PM
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Definitely rinse rinse rinse! Like I said before, he probably rubbed his eye on the wrong thing and got irritated. Also give your vet a call.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you TrojanCowgirl but as I said my horse eyes becomes swollen about 3 times a year and I know how to treat his eye, just wondering if there were maybe other reasons why is eye would be swelling other then irrtation because I do believe it is something more.

His eye should not swell up this often. After researching what Wallaby had to say about Equine Recurrent Uveitis this may be a pretty good chance he experiences this. He has many other symptoms that it states.

Chad Barnes 6-16-85~7-22-13
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-29-2012, 11:03 PM
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Its good to look into the worst case scenario of course but its likely as simple as some horses are more sensitive than others. I have a mare who has been with me for fourteen years and a handful of times throwout the summer she'll have a swollen eye. 90% of the time its from dust or bugs, so keeping her fly mask on prevents it all together. When it does happen I rinse well and apply Terramycin then put the fly mask on her.

My mare will, as said, get a swollen eye from flys, dust, something irritating her so she itches her head and just the dirt from whatever she itched in to (her own leg, a wall etc..) can cause it.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 12:04 AM
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Yeah, definitely call your vet. Advice over the phone is free.

In any case, since you know this only happens when he doesn't have a flymask on, I'd just make the effort to have a mask on him whenever he goes out to the pasture. Yknow, to cut off whatever may be going on before it happens.


With my girl, every sunny summer (this also happened a few times during the fall) day that she didn't have a flymask on, I'd go out to see her and find her with "tears" running down her face and flies all over those tears. She'd also rub the areas where the tears ran and sometimes she'd end up with little sores where she had been scratching.
Anyway, I'd get a flymask on her and the tears would cease. I always figured that the flies were the precipitory event - like, the flies irritated her eyes, causing the tears - but now I know that wasn't the case.
There were a few times where her eyes would appear slightly swollen but the swelling would "disappear" with the tears so I figured they were interconnected.

Now, since she's been diagnosed and wears a flymask on everyday where there's a chance for sun, I've noticed that sometimes her eyes will look slightly swollen if I'm a little too late with the mask but it's not a big deal and the mask clears it right up.


Anyway, call your vet. He/she will probably know exactly what to do. :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzaner gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat

Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat

~
Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-30-2012, 02:48 AM
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Hi! This is a shot in the dark, but have you ever checked for eyelashes? I had a mare with really long eyelashes when I was younger who would come up with a swollen eye at times and upon investigation every single time hers would be an eyelash caught under her lid.

So I got in the routine of trimming her eyelashes and it helped! I would remove the hair and rinse it and within an hour it would start being normal again.

Just a thought. Sometimes the scary stuff can be so simple.
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