Scientific journals abound with cutting-edge equine research—far more information than the average practitioner can take in. The Kester News Hour presented at the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention provides a venue to discuss interesting and practical topics from the past year’s professional journals. At the 2015 Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Carol Clark, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, of Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital, in Ocala, Florida, presented the medicine topics, including ophthalmology, gastrointestinal disease, and pain management.


In the first paper Clark discussed, researchers looked at 22 cases of keratomycosis (fungal infection of the cornea, the transparent outer coat of the eye) presented to the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center from 2001 to 2013. In a healthy eye, fungus shouldn’t be present on a corneal scraping embedded within the cornea. But when they evaluated scrapings from horses with keratomycosis, researchers saw fungal hyphae in 100% of the samples when viewed under the microscope; when they cultured the samples, only 60% grew fungi, indicating that corneal cytology was more sensitive than culture in diagnosing the condition, Clark said.

Further, the veterinarians treated 91% of the horses with at least one antifungal and an antibiotic ophthalmic medication. They also treated all the horses for secondary uveitis (inflammation of pupillary tissues), which often occurs secondary to corneal inflammation. Additionally, 91% of the horses underwent a keratectomy (trimming away the plaque where the corneal tissue was undermined). This surgical approach promoted blood vessel migration into the defect and epithelial cell growth to repair damaged corneal tissue. A small corneal scar remained in many cases. Treatment took, on average, 6 ½ weeks, and it took eight weeks for 73% of the cases to regain vision. Clark said thi