What is it?
The conjunctiva is a thin membrane which protects the eyeball, see my blog. Conjunctivitis is when this is inflamed! It can be infectious - but this depends on the cause! One or both eyes can be affected.
- The conjunctiva is red
- The conjunctiva and/or eyelids are swollen
- Discharge which may be clear watery fluid or yellow green pus, or anything in between!
- Irritated eye
- Closed or squinting eyes
- Rubbing eyes
- Foreign bodies entering the eye, for example; grit, dust or mud
- A bacterial or viral infection
- Eye injury
- Secondary infection
- Insufficient tear production
- Flies can carry bacteria and will transfer from one horse to another
- Dust, heat, pollen or other allergens
Call the vet as often there will be other complications which can lead to permanent damage if not treated correctly. You can bathe the eye with warm water, wiping the discharge away, using cotton wool (one cotton ball to one wipe). If the foreign body can easily be removed do so BUT don't poke around to remove it!
Keeping the horse out of a dusty environment and out of the wind will help reduce irritation. Vet may prescribe an antibiotic gel or ointment. The best way to apply these is to rest your hand on the horse's cheek. Bathing the eye with cold tea (no milk) is also generally very effective!
Fly masks in summer will prevent flies landing on or around the eyes and introducing infection.
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Until next time!