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jphshs 02-25-2012 07:32 AM

Dealing with UVeitis
Our 25 yr. old Half Arab gelding was diagnosised 2 years ago with this in the right eye. Since Oct. of 2011, the left eye has been flaring up and has not responded to treatment. For the 1st time now, BOTH eyes are involved and I am at the panic stage. He isn't panicing but he is scared now. Almost totally blind. I am currently using 2 ointments and drops in the eyes. He wears a guardian mask when out. During the original diagnosis, I duct taped over the fly mask on the right eye which allowed him to go out during the morning hours. We brought him in once the sun got straight overhead and was at it's brightest. But now with both eyes, I can't do that.

I have read here that many of you are dealing with this same issue and have dealth with it before. I am searching for your stories about how you helped your horses handle this, particularly when both eyes are involved. What can I expect? Is he going to hurt himself? How do I give him as much relief as possible? I keep the barn as dim as possible when he is in. I even have darkening shades over his stall windows and leave a lighter mask on him in the stalls. Does the wind affect your horses? It seems to with him.

Also, we are suspicious of Cushings. Blood work was drawn this week but he has been tested 3 times before with negative results. If he HAS cushings, how will that affect the UVeitis?

All in all, I am just loking for a steady shoulder to lean on right now. My vets are doing all they can but you still need as much support as you can find. I greatly appreciate any and all replys and suggestions.

Tayz 02-25-2012 08:36 AM

I can'tgive you any suggestions or tips, just to give him a hug for me :( thats soo sad and obviously your trying everything to help him. Goodluck I hope its not crushings xx :(

spirit88 02-25-2012 10:44 AM

I cant give any help never have delt with that eye problem sending your boy healing vibes.

snootyfox 02-25-2012 11:34 AM

Been in your shoes once before and lost the horse's eye. Now am in your shoes again with my present horse. If your vets aren't eye specialists I can refer you to two of the top eye vets on the east coast. One is in Lex, Ky and the other is in Lou, KY. May not be able to have an in person appointment but maybe a phone consult with your vets. They have a drastic measure now that involves a steroid injection in the back of the eye. The success rate in pretty outstanding . I also started into some interesting alternative treatments in support of the conventional and my present horse has been free of flares and I'm reducing his eye ointments.

My original vet was trying to help but actually making things worse! PM me if you want their contact info (not comfortable publicly posting their numbers without permission).

CiscoKidd 02-25-2012 11:54 AM


I don't have many suggestions but I know how difficult and scary uveitis is. My moms horse, Teddy, recently lost vision completely in one eye from uveitis. He had many flare ups over the course of 7 years and the uveitis finally took his vision this year. We treat his flare ups with oral dexamethesone, atropine to dilate his pupil, and banamine for pain. He used to get devils claw everyday because some think uveitis is an inflammation issue. He also used to get a Vitamin C supplement to boost his immune system because some experts believe uveitis is an immune deficiency. Now he gets a daily multi-vitamin supplement. Even with his vision gone we still deal with occasional flare ups- I think it only a matter of time before his eye needs to be removed, right now he shows no signs of pain. While he was going blind he was very, very spooky, since going completely blind in his one eye he is much calmer. The vet thinks that when he was losing his vision he was probably seeing weird flashes of light, and blurry vision. She compared it to "looking through a stained glass window". There used to be horse at the barn I board at that was blind in both eyes due to uveitis. He adjusted very well and was able to be turned out with other horses.
It sounds like you are doing all of the right things for your horse. The guardian mask blocks out a lot of light. Teddy used to have a guardian mask too, one day he lost it in the field and we never found it again! Now we turn him out with a fly mask with duct tape covering his bad eye, especially on windy days. I pray that Teddy's other eye stays healthy- I can only imagine how terrifying this is for you to go through.

equiniphile 02-25-2012 12:26 PM

I have two horses with uveitis; one is a gray Percheron and one is a 25 y/o. I'm sorry, I really have to advice....they both have respond okay to treatment, though my vet suspects the 25 y/o is now completely blind in the infected eye. He still manages very well; we're still galloping out on trail and earning Grand Champion ribbons at the county fair.

Good luck!

jphshs 02-25-2012 04:20 PM

I sooooo appreciate all of your posts. I am mentally note readyto deal with removing the eye..disfiguring this magnificant animal is not something I want to think about. Plus, if he does have cushings, and cushings can ****** healing of some things, I would worry, that with his age, surgical removal of the eye may not be an option.

Snootyfox: We had been approved to go to UNC where they were pioneering that shot but the initial workup cost was unbelieveable. The shot itself was going to be absorbed b the study. I ills me that $ has to be considered when it comes to his well-being but unfortunately, teachers don't make a lot of money so I am forced to make those decisions. I appreciate the offer for the references...may take you up on those. We are in consultation on a regular basis with UNC, Ohio State, and occassionally Texas A&M.

Please keep any suggestions coming.

When using the Atropine: what were you advised about turn out and direct sun? I have one vet saying "NO!" and the other saying the guardian mask should block the UV rays.

I also have someone offering to try essential oils on him....something called a "Rainbow", I believe. Anyone had any experience in this direction with any success?

equiniphile 02-25-2012 05:36 PM

My vet advised me not to turn out without a flymask with the Atrophine.

CiscoKidd 02-25-2012 05:45 PM


Originally Posted by jphshs (Post 1378239)

When using the Atropine: what were you advised about turn out and direct sun? I have one vet saying "NO!" and the other saying the guardian mask should block the UV rays.

Teddy usually had the most flareups during the summer so he was usually kept in during the day and turned out at night. When he was out at night we put on a flymask and duct tape covering the bad eye since the sun would come up before he was brought in. In the winter he was turned out during the day with a flymask and duct tape. He always seemed to do just fine with both options.

jphshs 02-26-2012 07:58 AM

I have done the duct tape routine and you are all right. It does work! But right now, I am dealing with BOTH eyes in flare ups, so I am scared to tape either eye. Don't want to cause him to panic and run. By the way only use duct tape...I will share privately what happend when I tried another "monkey" brand.

I have changed his stall water buckets to the lightest color I have, trying to help him find them. I was able to put him out yesterday for about 1 1/2 hour before he started running at the fence line. When he came in he dove into his water so I am guessing he couldn't find the 200 gal. tank in his pasture that has been in the same place for 8 years. That really bothers me. I have to go to work tomorrow so my neighbor is going to watch him. I hope we can get one of the eyes to clear enough to bring back some sight. Is that a dream or a possibility? Maybe the guardian mask is too dark when he is out (I really don't thinks so, just grasping at straws) and wonder if I should try a regular mask? Appreciate your thoughts on this.....

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