I Just hit the 8 week mark of dealing with corneal ulcers in my 6 year old WB mare. Likely due to some kind of impact. There is a bit of a long story associated… 8 weeks ago took my horse to the vet to get her teeth done and had noticed a slightly droopy eyelid in right eye a couple of days before. No discharge or redness so just waited until vet appointment to get it checked. Vet looked at the eye and stained it with no uptake. However, put something in her eye that was supposed to drain out her nose and it never did. Vet gave me Tobradex ointment to put in twice a day. I diligently did the treatment, at 10 days didn’t see much improvement. Vet told me to take her off the ointment on the Saturday and do nothing so she could take a swab on Monday. By Sunday her eye was getting droopy with discharge. Called the vet, she said bring her in on Monday.
Brought her in on Monday morning and her eye looked terrible, getting cloudy and swollen. Vet put her on Atropine drops 2x daily, Tobradex ointment 2x daily and Tobradex drops 1x daily. 10 cc banamine 2x day. Recheck 2-3 days. Couldn’t get a hold of the vet after day 2, day 4 brought horse to the vet and still not seeing much improvement. Vet said she was going to call a specialist. Didn’t call the specialist… Fast forward another week and my #2 vet (who is now #1) was on vacation but had the fill-in come to the barn and he essentially said the same thing, she needs to see a specialist. Great.
Finally got a hold of my vet and brought her to the clinic, she seemed to think her eye was improving. Took her off the banamine and switched to bute and continued treatment minus the atropine and midday drops. 72 hours later the eye looked awful, AWFUL. Cloudy, and now 3 dots forming. Called vet and of course couldn’t get a hold of her. Called other vet who was back from vacation. He came out immediately, restained the eye and sure enough, there were 3 small ulcers on her cornea. Switched meds to Tobramycin ointment 4x a day, plus atropone 1x a day, plus previcox. A few days into new treatment eye was getting droopy and inflamed again. Vet consulted with equine ophthalmologist and tried new treatment of Coproflaxacin every 4 hours, Fluconazole (antifungal) 4x day, atropine 1x a day and 5 cc banamine twice a day.
2 weeks into treatment and vet checked again and no stain uptake anymore (fungal or bacterial), but looks to be healing very very slowly. Vet rechecked three days ago and thought her eye was open much wider and suggested taking off the atropine and banamine and going with Coproflaxacin treatment 4x a day and same with antifungal. After about 12 hours coming off the banamine the swelling and droopy eyelid had returned. Contacted vet and he advised to put back on the Atropine and banamine. Last night gave 5 cc banamine and this morning it didn’t seem to make a difference, eyelid still droopy. Eye itself doesn’t seem to be changing much (worse or better), if anything maybe a tad more cloudy, but hard to say if it is just the light coming off her very dilated pupil, or if it is just the result of the increased inflammation. Vet is coming out later today to have another look…
SO. Those with corneal ulcer experience (or other eye issues), any ideas? Do you think the swelling is due to something else, maybe the associated Uveitis? Should we be seeing more progress by now? I know it can take a long time for corneal ulcers to heal, but I am wondering what kind of progress we should be seeing along the way? The fact we were treating steroids to begin with didn’t help. but that was 4 weeks ago now. Any experience with other meds?
I live in a fairly remote area where there are only so many large animal vets, and we don’t have any local equine ophthalmologists. Other challenge I am running into is that the specialists all require referrals from a vet, and for some reason none of mine are at that point of referral yet. Mare is outside but wears a fly mask with one side covered to keep her out of the light.