Hi COTH friends!
Disclaimer: I’m a DVM who practices in small animal but did mixed track with a fair amount of equine in vet school. I’m working with my barn vet on this issue, as well as with a friend who is a boarded Ophthalmologist, but am REALLY curious to see if anyone has encountered similar issues.
I have a 7yo TB who had his left eye enucleated as a 3yo after a track accident. I got him as a late 4yo and had no problems with the surgery site until May 2013 at which time it swelled up over the course of 2 days. Aspirated the swelling and we got serum and could feel something firm and “rubbery” in the socket. We assumed hematoma, treated with topical and systemic NSAIDs as well as a pressure bandage for a couple days, swelling resolved, socket went back to normal. Our theory at the time was he had knocked his head on something and bumped a vascular bundle and bled into the socket.
Fast forward to about 10 weeks ago, I got a text from BM with photo saying socket was swollen. I blew it off as a repeat of the 2013 incident and we just put surpass on it every day for a few days. Resolved on it’s own again.
Fast forward to last Saturday, skin around the socket is puffy AGAIN (for those counting that’s 3x in 1yr). Surpass and bute have no effect, swelling gets worse, skin at medial edge of surgery scar ruptures and… ta da! Purulent discharge!
I cultured it today and flushed w/dilute betadine. The pocket of infection is quite small. I can’t palpate any instability or crepitus in his zygomatic arch (read: I don’t think he has a fractured eyesocket). I’m in CA and he lives in pasture so foxtails are always a possibility although how one would have majikally gotten inside his head, IDK. Started TMS today, we can radiograph or ultrasound if swelling returns. Barn vet doesn’t think it’s a tooth root abscess since he has no nasal discharge. Honestly it doesn’t seem to bother him at all unless I am trying to poke the sterile culture swab in it, LOL. I’m keeping a fly mask on him, obviously, and he did come in from pasture while we sort this out.
Anyone with one-eyed ponies ever have any weird complications several years after the surgery?? The equine vet at my small animal practice (large animal folks rent the facility out back) said he’d never heard of anything like it.