Equine Recurrent Uveitis: The Latest

Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is an incurable and painful eye condition that can result in vision loss and reduce affected horses’ function and value. Here’s a look at the latest research and findings on this frustrating condition.
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Equine Recurrent Uveitis
ERU is a spontaneous disease characterized by recurring episodes of intraocular (within the eye) inflammation. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Fernando Malalana

Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is an incurable and painful eye condition that can result in vision loss and reduce affected horses’ function and value. The last time practitioners discussed this disease at the annual British Equine Veterinary Association Congress was in 2011, so Fernando Malalana, DVM, Dipl. ECEIM, FHEA, MRCVS, brought 2018 attendees up to speed on the latest ERU developments. The Congress took place Sept. 12-15 in Birmingham, U.K.

What Is It?

“ERU is a spontaneous disease characterized by recurring episodes of intraocular (within the eye) inflammation,” said Malalana, senior lecturer in equine internal medicine at the University of Liverpool Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital, in the U.K.

Because of its recurrent nature and positive response to immunomodulatory drugs, researchers believe ERU is an autoimmune disease, he said. The repeated bouts of inflammation are caused by leukocytes (white blood cells) in the eye that become activated, initiating an immune response

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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