Eye allergies in horses?

I have a horse that every few months will start rubbing his one of eyes on his leg until it gets a bit swollen. It will also drip a bit when this happens (but I don’t know if this comes first or if it is just a result of the rubbing). I usually treat with some antibiotic eye ointment 2x a day for a few days, then things will be fine.

The vet recommended the ointment when he came in with a swollen, drippy eye for the first time, and it does seem to really help. But I’m a little worried now that I see this issue reoccuring every few months.

Today when I got him out, both eyes just looked like someone with allergies starting to react to something (you know, when they start watering a bit and itching?), poor guy. Luckily I caught it before he started rubbing, so no swelling. I’m sure he’ll look fine again by tonight since he got his ointment.

Has anyone else dealt with this? Could this be simply allergies as it seems, or could it be something else like a reoccuring infection that I should call the vet about? Is there something else that I could be doing (or giving him) to prevent this, or am I stuck just keeping an eye out for it and then treating?

I have a horse that sounds like yours… Puffy red cloudy eyes, combined with sporadic tearing. Vet couldn’t find anything wrong with him. The ointment the vet gave us worked while on it but when we stopped the problem reoccured. He does not have heave or hive or any other common allergy symptoms. He lives out 24x7, with access to clean water and hay, get fed Buckey Gro’NWin once a day.

Just a few days ago we decided to try APF on him just to see whether it works. Wow what a difference it make!!! His eyes were clear the next day and the puffiness decreses dramatically.

I think what happened was his immune system was wacked. To give a short background, he injured his hooves when he was 3 months old and on the verge of systematic infection for a long while. To head off the infection, he was under heavy dose of anti-biodics for a few months. He eventually recovered but I always wondered whether getting drenched in heavy anti-biodics for a long time at that young age would not have messed up his immune system.

What is interesting is that a couple of days after we started APF on him, we took him to vet to get his annual shots. Immediately after the shots, his eyes swell up again. After a few more doses of APF, his eyes were much better though not perfect yet. I will see how it goes in the next few days. But that kind of confirm to me that his eyes problem had something to do with his immune system.

I have had a tough time with my mare - in her left eye. Long story, but she got a terrible infection in her eye, began in Oct. Took till July to get it figured out. Two trips to New Bolton - they did not know what the issue was, biopsy came back inconclusive. Brought in their opthamologist and he recommended a human antihistimine in a bottle ($100 for a tiny bottle) but it did the trick.

This Oct her eye looked terrible (even worse than before). Vet looked at it. Gave her antihistimine crystals in her food. Did not help.

Then we had a very hard frost and viola, her eye cleared up.

I think she is allergic to something and it does not happen every year but it is only her left eye. My experience shows that eyes are really hard to treat and most vets don’t much about eyes. If it does not clear up, you might want to try to find someone who specializes in eyes - likely will need to go to a major vet school, but once he looked at my mare, he knew exactly what to do.

have the vet out to rule out uveitis, then allergy test him. I have one that is allergic to every kind of hay we can get here…and his eyes drip and itch all the time.

Gloria, what is APF?

My horse will rub his eyes hard in dusty conditions. He will rub so hard that he will ulcerate his cornea. If APF will prevent this, I am interested.

[QUOTE=dainty do;4495658]Gloria, what is APF?

My horse will rub his eyes hard in dusty conditions. He will rub so hard that he will ulcerate his cornea. If APF will prevent this, I am interested.[/QUOTE]

Dainty,

APF is short for Advanced Protection Formula. It’s a little bottle that you add to the grain about 2~3 oz a day. You can get it from SmartPak. Here is the link:
http://www.smartpakequine.com/ProductClass.aspx?productclassid=2285

It sounds like your horse may have ERU. If it were just allergies both eyes would be affected. Uveitis is very painful and is the leading cause of blindness in horses. Don’t mess around with this.

I have two with eye allergies. This spring they both started around the same time and went to the vet (one of them only has one eye- I do NOT mess around with eyes, I don’t treat and see what happens, they go immediately!) Anyway, I’ve had the one with one eye for 6 years and the other one is my fiance’s mom’s horse, neither have a history of eye allergies. I moved them to my new farm last winter, so they must be allergic to something at the new place. Anyway, we treated with ointment and it would come back when the ointment stopped. So we put them on Tri-Hist. That stopped it. They were on it until this summer, I tried taking them off and they were fine. In the past week one of them started getting some swelling and goopy eyes so back on Tri-Hist she went. Now my one-eyed gelding is starting to get a runny eye so he’ll go back on it as well. It seems to work for them.

ETA: Obviously, with my history, I would recommend talking to the vet about any problems to rule out other possibilities as others have mentioned. I learned first hand unfortunately how fast eyes can go downhill.

Agree completely…get it checked out.:yes:

Thanks for your input everyone!

I had the vet out today to be on the safe side - usually this will pass about a day after treating then won’t have another issue for a few months - but this time it came back again a few days later, which had me worried. My vet said that it doesn’t look like Uveitis, thank goodness. He agrees that it is probably some kind of allergy. We are going to try a week of antihistamine and see if that helps, and he is also going to call an equine opthamologist tonight to see if in the future we could just treat with visine and antihistamine for flare-ups.

[QUOTE=Gloria;4494813]Just a few days ago we decided to try APF on him just to see whether it works. Wow what a difference it make!!! His eyes were clear the next day and the puffiness decreses dramatically.

I think what happened was his immune system was wacked. To give a short background, he injured his hooves when he was 3 months old and on the verge of systematic infection for a long while. To head off the infection, he was under heavy dose of anti-biodics for a few months. He eventually recovered but I always wondered whether getting drenched in heavy anti-biodics for a long time at that young age would not have messed up his immune system.[/QUOTE]

Very interesting. I wonder sometimes about this guy’s immune system, he was orphaned at 1 month old. I may run that past my vet, too, if what we’re trying first doesn’t work.

I did mention to the vet that we switched my guy to a new alfalfa hay 2 weeks ago, too, so he wants me to try soaking that in case of dust being a problem, etc.

How do you allergy test a horse?

Both eyes do get affected, he just usually rubs one more than the other once they are irritated, and it makes that one swell worse - sorry I didn’t mention that.

That’s encouraging that my hunch may have some merit to it. I’ve never dealt with a horse with allergies before, but it really seems to fit more than anything else. We’ll see soon I guess. For now, I’m so happy that the vet thinks it doesn’t look like something more serious (knock wood). Fingers crossed that the antihistamine route helps, it would make me feel better to know for sure how to best help him.

My app mare has allergies galore and when her eyes started watering and itching she had a full work up at Cornell. After ruling out uveitis, infection, foreign bodies, etc. the opthamologist up there recommended Hydroxozine (when she is really bad) and just plain over the counter Visine Allergy drops. At the first sign of any watering or itching a few drops of Visine a few times a day does the trick. If the first dose or two doesn’t work then she gets the Hydroxozine plus I continue with the drops. Works like a charm every time.

That’s great to hear! Hydroxyzine is actually the anti-histamine that my vet has him on this week. And my vet was going to check with an opthamologist to see if we could use visine, too. How do you get the visine in there, btw? I was thinking it may be easiest to put some in a syringe, then squirt it in…

When you do need the hydroxyzine, how long do you usually have her on it, and how long before you generally see that she is feeling better? Thanks!!

This is what it sounds like. Uveitis is very serious and shouldn’t be ignored when it flares up. The telltale sign of it (according to my vet) is the tearing, running down the face. Please make sure your vet looks at this, as the treatment is very specific, and requires your speedy attention when it flares up.

My vet was out yesterday, and said that it doesn’t look like uveitis - thank goodness! :slight_smile:

When giving Hydroxozine I usually have Maggie on it AM and PM for 2 - 3 days. I see results by the 2nd dose. When using the Visine Allergy I back fill a 1cc syringe (I’m concerned about cross contamination so I won’t use it straight from the bottle) and use a few drops.

Perfect, thank you!

(p.s. I love your signature line - very cute!!)

Diagnosing, treating, and managing allergies can be a nightmare but once you find something that works it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Good luck!!

Resurrecting an old one while I wait to hear from the vet.

Do this look like an allergic reaction? A bug bite/sting? Noticed it yesterday after work. The morning girl said she didn’t notice it when she brought him in in the morning. I haven’t seen him itching and the eye itself seems bright and clear. He will let me touch it like normal so it doesn’t seem to be ouchy.

Last night the vet (over the phone) said to give him a dose of banamine since it was swollen but that didn’t do much if anything.

Last night.

This morning