Just like a human eye, the lacrimal gland releases lacrimal fluid which lubricates your horse’s eye. Further like a human, there is a lacrimal caruncle, which is that very small prominence at the inside corner of the eyelid. Your horse has two tiny holes near the caruncle which come together to form a tear duct which opens into the nasal cavity just above the nostril. This is the naso-lacrimal duct and it’s about 12 inches long.
Basically the naso-lacrimal duct’s job is to carry tears (also called lacrimal fluid) from the eye down into the nose. Interestingly a horse’s tears are not supposed to flow down the horse’s face; if they do, then likely the naso-lacrimal duct is plugged with dirt or other debris. Sometimes a saline/antibiotic flush can be used to flush the area between the nose and eye. With the need for surgery, your horse’s specific situation cannot be remedied with a simple flush.
If it were my horse, I would kindly ask my vet if he would give a B12 injection before the surgery. Penicillin often causes intestinal lining discomfort and a loss of appetite can occur. B12 injections offer support by maintaining appetite and offering a general feeling of well being. Anesthetics can also have negative after-effects with horses. Encourage intravenous Vitamin C (15 grams) just prior to use to lessen trauma and stress, promote healing, and reduce after-effects. Additionally, oral vitamin C (I prefer grape seed because it is stronger; Gateway Products carry’s grape seed 1-888-918-1118; www.gp-equine.com) has shown to reduce swelling as well. Vitamin E also promotes healing.
In answer to your desire to eliminate bute, once your decision is made, either simultaneously or in lieu of bute and/or penicillin, supplement high dose proteolytic enzymes such as Enzymedica’s Virastop and Repair (1-888-918-1118). I use these regularly with my rescue (Happy Horse Haven) horses. They are capsules (normally for human use) but you simply break them open and use as a top dressing on feed. DO NOT open in advance as it will destroy their potency. I use the Virastop for maximum immune support and I use Repair for support against inflammation. You cannot overdose and they would be very valuable both pre- and post-surgery. Since the stent will be in for a month, I would certainly consider the enzymes before, during and after that time.
You probably already have RESCUE REMEDY on hand as a staple barn support, but if not, you might just get some homeopathic arnica to aid in decreasing inflammation, pain, shock and bruising after minor surgery. Ask your vet, but I might consider 30X up to 30c 5X per day on day 1 then 3X per day for 7 days. Even higher potencies are used after major surgery, such as for colic.
I hope I have given you enough natural options to assist you in making decisions you, your vet and your horse are comfortable with. Always consult your veterinarian before giving any supplementation before or after surgery.
Here’s to your horse’s healthy recovery,
Shari Frederick, Healthy Horse Hints
P.S. Do not underestimate the value of your presence before and after surgery as well as regularly during recovery. Horses are more sensitive than many people realize and if you have a rapport with your horse (which I am certain you do), your horse looks to you for reassurance. During the stressful situation associated with surgery, your horse will remain calmer and more confident, therefore reducing the immune burden. On the other hand, if your presence adds additional stress from your own fear or discomfort, it is best to wait to be with your horse when you are more settled and can focus on being a loving caretaker.
Shari Frederick, BS, NMD, LE, a nutritional educator, assists horseowners in making healthier, more natural choices in horse care. She is an independent author, international lecturer and self-styled naturalist. At her Happy Horse Haven Rescue in Texas, detoxification and liver/kidney/immune supports are the FIRST steps in rehab for nearly every arriving horse. Visit Shari’s websites, horserescuefaces.com , healthyhorsehints.com