Researchers Compare Similar Equine Eye Conditions

Corneal degeneration and calcific band keratopathy are a lot alike, but have some key differences, researchers found.

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Researchers Compare Similar Equine Eye Conditions
Excessive tearing could suggest a number of potentially serious equine eye conditions. Veterinarians should examine cases carefully and then determine an appropriate treatment course. | Photo: Erica Larson
Equine corneal degeneration (CD) and calcific band keratopathy (CBK) are relatively similar conditions affecting the horse’s eyes. In both conditions, minerals and/or lipids (fats) are deposited on the cornea, potentially resulting in painful corneal ulceration.

Researchers recently took a closer look at the two conditions to compare their similarities and differences. They ultimately determined that the two ailments, despite some differences, are relatively similar and could represent a continuum of disease severity.

In the study, the team evaluated the medical records of horses diagnosed with CD or CBK at the University of California (UC), Davis, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. One key finding was that horses diagnosed with CD or CBK were significantly older than the general hospital population, with a median age of 16 or 18 years, respectively.

“Older horses tend to have more trouble healing their corneas, and corneal sensitivity declines with age,” said study author Sara M. Thomasy, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVO, associate professor of comparative ophthalmology at UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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