Recognizing and Treating Corneal Ulcers in Horses

There are six main classes of corneal ulcers in horses that veterinarians must consider and properly diagnose to institute appropriate therapy.

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Corneal ulcers in horses
Corneal mineralization due to calcium deposits are recognized as multiple white opacities in horizontal patterns across the central or lower cornea. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Catherine Nunnery

Corneal ulcers are the most common ophthalmic condition equine practitioners see in the field. Some are simple scratches that heal quickly with appropriate treatment, while others are more complex, involve infection, and can take longer to heal. Regardless of their severity, and they must be managed appropriately to prevent/treat infection, control pain, and speed healing.

“When an ulcer is slow to heal, one must carefully examine the eye to determine what kind of ulcer you are dealing with,” said Catherine Nunnery, DVM, Dipl. ACVO, during a presentation at the 2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas.

Classifying ulcers correctly will ensure the timely application of appropriate therapy

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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