Eye injury - The Horse Forum
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Eye injury

Yesterday Florian rubbed or scratched his eye overnight. The vet said there is no ulcer and this is conjunctivitis. But it wasn't my usual vet so i can't say if that was correct. His eye was extremely swollen and goopy yesterday. It looks much better today, as far as swelling.

I do not like the cloudiness. Please tell me this is normal for healing? Today is day 2.

I'm treating it like an ulcer. The vet said antibiotic cream twice daily- I'm doing every 6 hours. It can't hurt to do extra. Especially with as easily as eyes get infected.
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:37 PM
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Did the vet "stain" the eye?
Do a really thorough exam of the eyes?
What was the light like when he did the exam?

Conjunctivitis in people usually takes 24 hours to start to show improvement...
I'm not sure how long it takes for improvement in a horse honestly...
Anytime I had to take care of a horse with a corneal scratch it still was teary 24 hours post vet and salves administered...better but still runny tracks.
I don't know if that cloudy look is normal or not for a horse...
Did you put in a call to your vet again and ask?

I googled it and found many pictures of horses with conjunctivitis in various stages...here are just a couple, there were hundreds...

If in doubt, call another vet for second opinion with a farm call and exam done...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:08 PM
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The cloudiness is a result of edema (fluid) in the eye from the inflammation, which is common with an eye injury. You said the swelling has gone down, so that's good news. Conjunctivitis usually clears up in 2-7 days for horses when treated properly.

I would not administer the antibiotics more than the vet prescribed. This can cause side effects like burning, itching, and redness so giving him too much might make it difficult to tell if the eye is getting worse or reacting adversely to the antibiotics. Plus antibiotics don't just kill the bad bacteria, they kill the good bacteria too so I would not overdo it.

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Old 04-06-2019, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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The vet did stain the eye but I'm not certain she stained the entire eye- or just got it in the corner of the eye. He is not easy to medicate and was flinging his head away so while she got the stain in, I can't say if it was enough.

She did say to continue the antibiotic in case this is a corneal abrasion. She couldn't get a good look at the corners of the eye due to swelling. Corneal injuries need to be treated every 6 hours, which is why I'm not waiting 12 hours. I would rather give him extra antibiotic and not get an infection, than not give enough antibiotic.

In case anyone has a very difficult horse to medicate, hopefully these tips will help:

I finally figured out how to get the eye ointment in him. I put him in the horse trailer - backing him into the slant stall backwards. Then you tip his head towards you, and squirt it in the eye. My attempts in the stall, resulted in him rushing backwards, and flinging his head away. I tried cornering him in the paddock, but he just backs up around the tree, so that didn't work either. I tried tying him, and that only made him worse.

The vet held his eye open with one hand, while administering the medication in the other hand- while running after him as he scoots backwards. That didn't work too well because he doesn't want you holding his eye open with your hand.

I realized that it is much easier to just sit your hand on his face with the syringe- rest your hand near his eye and wait. Once he relaxes and stops head flinging, you can just give a squirt. If you are lucky and time it right, the medication goes right in. No more fighting. It helps to use a small syringe and not the vial the medication comes in. You want the medication under pressure so it will squirt out.

My last vet said to apply it with your finger, but that definitely does not work with him.
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Old 04-07-2019, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 4horses View Post
It can't hurt to do extra.
It can actually - as mentioned they kill good bacteria. Think about oral antibiotics or any type. Sometimes half the battle and the crappy feeling in sick people is trying to battle the side effects of the antibiotics. Alcohol gel is great for disinfecting your skin but use it 24/7 on open wounds the wound will never heal. hope that makes sense?
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Old 04-07-2019, 07:49 AM
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So, in your opinion you're saying the vet did not do a good exam and likely missed something.
You did not mention vet administering tranquilizer so the horse was cooperative and not so reactive...
I'm not understanding why "quieting" drugs were not used for examination of a eye injury obviously so painful.

If you are in such doubt...call for a second opinion.

If the horse is being over-medicated then if there are secondary reaction results from that it falls on you for doing not what you were instructed to do.
To much medication can be detrimental to recovery....
Not enough or the wrong kind can also be detrimental too...
The best outcome occurs when proper exam, proper diagnosis and correct medication administered in proper amounts all come together.

I would at the least make a phone call...
Sometimes, peace of mind is worth the $ spent to achieve it.

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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Old 04-07-2019, 02:16 PM
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I would clean it off with some eye wash, the eye in the picture looks a little dirty still. Not sure if it's cause of the ointment or what. Not sure about the cloudiness, don't know what is normal for this horse.
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Old 04-08-2019, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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I texted the vet with pictures. She is going to take another look at it. It looks like a corneal abscess (the round circle on the bottom). The vet said to continue the antibiotic and we will probably add an antifungal medication. Most likely this was a corneal ulcer that healed over, trapping bacteria underneath.
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Old 04-08-2019, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Kalraii- if there is a corneal ulcer, you definitely want to be aggressive with the antibiotic. Sometimes every 2 hours or so depending on the severity. While killing good bacteria is a concern, in eye injuries, more aggressive is better than less aggressive. Under treat and you could lose the eye from infection.
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Old 04-08-2019, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2019
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My gelding had a scratch in his eye and it got infected. We tried that ointment that goes into the eye for it and it NEVER worked. Lots of rearing, trampling, kicking out, and pain for nothing. Cost us about $670 in those itty bitty tubes of ointments then he almost lost his eye. Had to get the vet to put him under, treat the infected area, and have stitches. Totaled around 4k in the end. He has a blind spot in his eye now and won't even let us touch the left side of his face around his eye.
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