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Common Signs of Eye Problems in Horses, Wisconsin Equine Vet Clinic



horse eye

     “Your horses’ well-being is our primary concern.”  

   What are the most common signs of eye problems?  

There are many different eye diseases in horses but most of them present with similar signs. Some of the more common signs of eye disease include:

1) Squinting ““ definitely indicates pain and is often exacerbated by bright light.

2) Eyelid swelling ““ can be present in either the upper or lower eyelid or both. Sometimes the swelling can be very dramatic and even swell the eye shut.

3) Tearing ““ a small amount of tears at the inside corner of the eye can be normal in some horses. Excessive tearing can indicate pain, inflammation or a foreign body lodged in the eye

4) Thick discharge ““ this can be yellow, clear or brown. Some discharge in the inside corner can be normal, excessive discharge especially with any of other signs should be evaluated as it may be a sign of serious infection.

5) Cloudy/grey areas on the eye ““ these cloudy areas may be associated with other signs such as tearing and squinting. In other cases they may show up fairly suddenly in a horse that otherwise seems normal. Any cloudiness of the eye should be evaluated immediately as it may indicate severe eye problems that can progress rapidly.

6) Redness ““ this can sometimes be difficult to evaluate if the horse has pigment around the eye. It is often obvious if swelling is also present.

7) Growths/masses on or around the eye ““ they can be on the eye itself or on the skin around the eye. Some masses start as discoloration or hair loss. Any mass that is growing or changing color should be evaluated. Small masses are easier to remove earlier rather than later.

 If any of these signs are noted call your veterinarian immediately. Remember eyes heal amazingly well but may go downhill quickly if left untreated. A quick call to your veterinarian will help you decide the seriousness of the condition.

The Wisconsin Equine Clinic is located at:  39151 Delafield Rd | Oconomowoc | Wisconsin 53066 | Phone: 262-569-1550 | Fax: 262-569-9566    This article is extracted from the Wisconsin Equine Clinic website.  WEC is a new contributor to Performance Horse Digest/Horse Digest Magazine.  Look for their article in the February 2014 issue of Performance Horse Digest.


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