Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU) or “moon blindness” is an inflammation of the inside of the eye. It is associated in some cases with leptospira bacteria, it also has an immune-mediated component. Uveitis can be sub clinical where no outward signs are seen until the horse turns up blind in one or both eyes. Uveitis can be very painful, and can effect one or both eyes, usually in time both eyes are affected. Uveitis isn’t contagious and studies have shown that the condition, and blindness, does seem to be more prominent in Appaloosas, and Paints, compared to other breeds, the list of high risk breeds however, is sadly growing over time. Changing weather and environments are also a large factor in increasing conditions.
ERU is usually treated with topical corticosteroids (after your DVM has determined there are no corneal ulcers), and topical antibiotics. Often, Banamine is used systemically to help with the inflammation.
Aspirin therapy is used in some cases between flare-ups to decrease the progression of the disease. Uveitis usually does progress over time often to blindness and even then can still flare up, and be painful for the horse. It is recommended to have your horse tested.
Aside from aspirin therapy, (ask your DVM and the veterinary ophthalmologist) there is little that can be done to prevent ERU from reoccurring. Recurrent Uveitis, a leading cause of blindness in horses, often developing as a sequel to systemic leptospirosis.
Bute, Banamine and atropine have been used in the profession for many years and is currently being used and becoming known that these are only producing some, temporary relief at best.
Alternative therapies such as the use of a Guardian Mask with 95% Sunshades™ have proven to help alleviate the symptoms associated with horses suffering Uveitis. The special patented 95% Sunshades help occlude harmful UV rays that cause the irritation and weeping associated with this disease. (Please refer to the Testimonials page to read about other horse owners that have experienced cases of uveitis in their horses. Also please refer to the FAQ page for frequently asked questions) The recommended use is in all daylight hours, year round. Not just during flare ups, it is important to continue protection year round.
There is a special feed supplement formula made by Advanced Biological Concepts named “Master Jack”. When used in conjunction with mask protection, horse owners have experienced increased positive results to help combat and control uveitis.
The bacterial organism leptospira is associated with some cases of recurrent equine uveitis (aka moon blindness). Blood tests, cultures, etc., can be done however the cause of ERU is not always identifiable. There is also an immune-mediated component to the disease.
Leptospira can cause of abortion in mares, and despite extensive clinical research, the etiology of equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is still unknown.
Equine recurrent uveitis, is an important ocular disease and the most common cause of blindness in horses and mules world wide.
Ocular emergencies include any condition which threatens the integrity of the globe or vision. Etiologies include trauma, burns, infections, uveitis, corneal ulceration, optic neuritis, central blindness, and the uncommon cases of equine glaucoma, early cataracts, cancer, and headshaking.
An accurate diagnosis is critical for appropriate treatment for these problems. The prognosis may still be poor or grave with appropriate diagnosis; however, aggressive treatment is the only chance these eyes have to not only save their vision, but more so to help save their lives.
Frequent reevaluations are also an important part of treating emergencies because additional problems can become evident over time which will also need treatment. Most ocular and orbital injuries or acute ocular inflammation in horses result in similar signs of adnexal swelling.
In cases of uveitis there will be a blue or white cloudiness and often a light or heavy discharge from the eye. Horses may also display behavioral stress and try to rub their eyes against objects to try to relieve the pain. Horses have even been observed dunking their heads in water sources to also try to alleviate the pain. Horses can also continually seek shade. Sometimes symptoms are only visible in one eye, or both eyes.
Data gathered from various sources including horse owners, veterinarians, and Guardian Mask.
Always remember to seek the advice of your Veterinarian before treatment.
N:B – All of the above information and advice comes directly from Guardian Horse