Conjunctivitis In Horses


Do you know horses also contract conjunctivitis? They are quite prone to having pink eye just like humans. Conjunctivitis or pink eye is the inflammation of the eye wherein the white portion of the horse’s eye known as sclera turns red and the eyelids swell up due to infection or damage. Moreover, the lacrimal gland (tear gland) also gets inflamed due to the foreign elements, bacteria and or virus thereby producing a yellowish green discharge from the eyes. This causes the horse to itch his eyes with his knees further abrading the eye and worsening the condition.

What Are The Major Causes Of Eye Infection or Pink Eye In Horse?

  • Bacteria
  • Virus
  • Foreign Particle-like dust or pollen
  • Flies (their bite may transfer bacteria or virus to the horse’s eye)
  • Parasites
  • Worm Infection
  • Less production of tears
  • Physical Injury
  • Abnormal eyelid
  • Infection of the conjunctiva and or uvea

Symptoms Of Conjunctivitis

Here are the most common symptoms of conjunctivitis in horses.

  • Redness in the white of the eye
  • Itching and irritation of eyelid
  • Swelling In the Eyelids
  • Half Shut Eyes
  • Mucus or discharge from eyes
  • Excessive tears
  • Squinting in presence of bright light (light sensitivity)
  • Rubbing of eyes
  • Shaking of the head to ease irritation
  • Reaction to dust

How Is The Diagnosis Made?

A vet can easily detect the infection through obvious signs like swollen lids, redness, and discharge. He may also use a fluorescein stain to check if any foreign particle like pollen or dust has caused the infection. He may also check your equine’s overall health to assure if any underlying illness like worm infection, etc isn’t causing the infection in the eye.

Treatment Of Conjunctivitis

Antibiotic ointment may be suggested by the vet to treat the eye if the infection is due to bacteria, virus or environmental particles. He would also advise you to wash your horse’s eye regularly with saline water. Conjunctivitis may also occur as a secondary infection to an underlying parasitic infection. In that case, wormer will be best suited for your equine.

To avoid further infection, regular grooming and healthy food which is good for eyes must be added to the diet. And keep a watch on your horse because animals are completely dependent on us for their care.