Would you be able to put me in touch with someone that knows about uveitis in horses? My horse lost one eye to it and currently has a real bad case in his good eye. He has been on all types of medications, but we cannot seem to get the eye to calm down. The vet took him off all medications, because he feels the meds are not getting at the right spot. He has implants in both eyes. I am desperate to get this taken care of, so he is not completely blind. Thank you for your time! ~Jessica
I can only tell you what I would do if it were my horse since I am not a veterinarian. I'm not sure what type alternatives you gravitate to so I will offer several options. I'm sure you are aware that moonblindness, uveitis & or periodic opthalmia disorder is really still a little known disease. The recurring bouts of inflammation do lead to blindess, infact it is the most common inner eye disorder & a leading cause of blindness.
All roads lead to immune system weakness-viral, parasitic, & or bacterial. This is very serious & I am so glad you have been working with your vet. I am very sad the results have not been more favorable.
Uveitis may be a symptom of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Interestingly immune weakness & B12 deficiency have similar root causes: parasites & bacteria to name only a few similarities. By chance has your horse had a history of antibiotic use or diarrhea?? I ask because these can lead to B12 deficiency & I'm sure your aware of the link of immune stresses & antibiotic overuse. B12 is also very important in assisting the liver-a key organ in detoxification!
I have included a draft of an article I put together on uveitis-I don’t think we ever ran it in the magazine, but hopefully you will find some good information in it.
Healthy Sustenance for MOON BLINDNESS .
HHH: Symptoms of Uveitis.
-Does your horse prefer to be approached on one side over the other?
-Is your horse performance better on one side than the other?
-Has your horse run into things or acts spooky?
-Does your horse have recurring eye issues?
- Test for nutritional deficiencies, Minute worm larvae & Leptospirosis, all causes for Moon Blindness.
HHH: Support your horse’s special needs immediately.
-Early diagnosis may prevent blindness!
-Keep the horse in familiar surroundings.
-Always speak to your horse & let him/her know you are there.
-Don’t surprise your horse or walk up on the sightless side.
-Address your horses nutritional needs & suppressed immune system.
-Limit or avoid overprescribed steroids which further suppress the immune system.
HHH: Maintain a healthy immune system as the first line of defense.
-Consider Equilite’s *Echinacea (also includes eyebright) & *GarliC (with zinc).
-Equine Science’s Super Immune Booster includes-Red clover, Kelp, Cleaver, Hawthorne Berry, Garlic, Rosehip, Nettle & Pau D’ Arco Bark.
-Silver Linings #24 contains various herbs with a variety of immune properties: anitbacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-infection etc. such as barberry, echinacea, garlic, rose hips, olive leaf, & red clover.
-Stimulate the immune system, as well as increase circulation around the eye with acupuncture, or with accupressure BL1, BL2, TH23, GB1 & ST1.
-The immune system can also be activated with aromatherapy & chiropractic treatments.
-Continue to support the immune system even after symptoms decrease or appear to have passed.
-In a study of steroid use & suppressed immune, Vitamin A was found supportive, as well as decreased a variety of bacterial infections.
HHH: Vitamin A deficiency is the classic sign of Night Blindness.
-Without enough Vitamin A delivered to the retina, the eye can’t make enough visual purple ( a purple pigment in the outer segment of retinal rhods ), as well as is linked to night blindness & other eye disorders.
-Feed really green fresh organic hay/grass, & or cod liver oil to your horse if Vitamin A deficient. Runny eyes & dry coat may indicate a worm infestation & a possible A & copper deficiency. Overhead power lines have also been linked to Vit. A deficiency!
-Vitamin A may be supported with extra zinc. (Note: Zinc, a trace mineral, is very concentrated in the eye & is responsible for several chemical reactions in the eye.)
-Red Raspberry is known for it’s high vitamin A content.
HHH: Riboflavin deficiency is linked to periodic ophthalmia.
-Feed non chemical fresh green hay, high in B2 to aid the eyes ability to withstand bright light. Deficiencies in horses may show by signs of difficulty in urinating, & issues of the eye, mouth & lips. (TIP: Red clover herb supports urination.)
-Nutrition studies show low B2 as one cause of Moon Blindness.
-Check if your horse’s tongue is rosy pink. A purple (or magenta 6) cast may be a sign of riboflaven deficiency.
-B2 may protect the eye through a chain reaction which eventually releases glutathione, a possible shield from damage to the proteins in the lens.
-B1 & B2 support nerve function, therefore deficiency may show as hyperexcitability or nervousness.
HHH: Vitamin C has shown support with eye disorders & immunity.
-Large doses of Vitamin C has ben safely used as an antibiotic support.
-Equilite’s Citrus C/Q is an excellent quercitin, bioflavinoid, antioxidant C blend for horses.
-Quercitin has been specifically accredited for delaying diabetic cataracs.
- Tissue degeneration from chemically burned eyes was well supported by Vitamin C drops used on rabbits. Vitamin C was also found to nourish the eyes aqueous humor, notably containing 18-20 times more C than in the blood.
-Ascorbic powders may be used in lieu of antihistamines for allergic eye flare ups.
-Vitamin C has solid scientific literature to support its use. It can be used as prevention for allergy symptoms such as Uckele (1-800-248-0330) Pure C..10 Alleviate runny eye symptoms with Farnam Clear Eyes (1800-234-2269) or drop sterile saline solution into your horse’s eyes.
-Note: Some horses resent drops or ointment put in their eyes.
-Vaccinations are linked to Vitamin C depletion.
HHH: Leptospirosis, another possible cause of periodic opthalmia, is a contageous disease of a bacteria called Leptospira.
-A vet may prescribe penicillin antibiotic, but it won’t remove the bacteria from the kidney.
-Prevent infected urine from contaminating outside water sources by separating cattle, a suspected source when mixed with horses.
-Consider Silver Lining #25 for bacterial infection. #27 may also be desired to support the kidney, especially if there are any signs of swelling which indicates the kidneys can’t keep up with .the toxic load being released through the kidneys.
-Infection prevention for the eye might also include rue, golden seal & celadine (equal parts) + a few drops of Bach Flower Crab Apple.
HHH: Supply a UV blocking mask for daylight exposure.
-Keep your horse from rubbing the area, further irritating the eye due to fly pests.
-Masks may reduce localized hypersensitivity & allergic reaction which lead to ocular inflammation.
HHH: There are numerous quality equine supports specific for the eye .
Look for products containing: quercetin, Devil's Claw, yucca, chamomile, turmeric, sarsaparilla, white willow bark, rose hips, bioflavonoids, arnica
-I am currently using Equine Science’s EYE SUPPORT BLEND on a one blind eyed horse to support his good eye. The formula contains: Eyebright, Bilberry, Gingo, & Rosehips.
-Silver Lining #21 Bright Eyes (along with #27 for the Liver) is an effective support for night vision containing herbs such as eye bright & billberry to strengthen eyesight,
-Support cleansing the Liver with Oregon Grape & Yellow Dock.
-Witch Hazel can be used as a tonic to the eye.
-Cold laser treatment has been helpful in combating eye infection.
-Use euphrasia (the herb eyebright) for eye inflammation; even diluted (5 drops per 2 tbsp) sterile saline solution.
-Blood Circulation is also important for eye health. Equine Science makes a great product called Cipex: (Circulatory Performance Enhancer) to aid circulation to tissues & spped repair. It contains; Hawthorne, Buckwheat, Nettle, Willow, Meadowsweet, Rosehip, Echinacea, & Peppermint.
-Check your local health food store for Homeopathic Euphrasia eye drops that can be used 2-3 times a day.
-Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, a few drops-followed by castor oil, can be administered. Also, Botanical Animal Flower Essences offers CrisEase, which contains arnica.
-Antioxidants like C (& E), the mineral selenium, & carotenoids (found in leafy greens) may aid macular degeneration.
HHH: Address inflammation naturally.
Many vets suggest daily bute use, although you may also wish to consider a natural alternative such as Equine Science (1-800-479-3537) Herbal Bute. It contains Devils Claw, Cats Claw, White Willow, Meadowsweet, Peppermint & Alfalfa (1-2 scoops a day). I've used about 2 tablespoons of Devils Claw as an alternative to bute as well.
Jessica, in the end I'm sure you really just want to know what I would use on my horse if he had uveitis. The answer is I would first cleanse the liver & boost the immune system with an herbal combination for at least a month, maybe 2.
I would also use an eyebright herbal formula like Equine Sciences EYE SUPPORT BLEND now & forever. The first month or two I would also use their Cipex in conjunction. I would also make sure he is on a good natural wormer. I personally use 2-3 natural ones: Equine Science NHD Wormer (Slippery Elm, Kelp, Juniper Berry, Cascara Sagrada, & Clove); The natural Horse Vet's Natural wormer paste in a tube or usually Silver Lining # 13 (for 10 days each month). I also use DE.
I would absolutely use an eye wash & keep my horse out of the wind. I would keep records of changes & make notes on past data I recall if I had not already done so. I would keep an aloe vera gel on hand (or juice to use in my washes)-or to soothe the eye area from wind & dust. I would personally not use antibiotics or Bute-although a natural alternative might help if needed. Additional Vitamins C, A & B12 might be considered for sure & I would do a fecal exam-I’d ask my vet about the possibility of Leptospira as well.
I hope I have assisted in providing you with many options for helping you soothe & heal the eye as well as support your horse. In the end the choices are yours & whatever you do must be effective in saving his other eye.
Please keep us posted on your direction after you have consulted your vet & after allowing 1-2 months to evaluate natural alternatives.
Healthy Horse Hints
pg 87/88 /1a pg 138 /1b pg 146 /1c pg 440 /1d pg 254&255 /1e pg 306 /1f pg 442 /1g pg 569 1f/pg 633 Complete Book of Vitamins by Prevention Magazine.
pg 369 /3. Pg 617 Horseman’s Veterinary Encyclopedia by Will Haden DVM.
pg 176 Herbal Horsekeeping by Robert McDowell
pg 29/30 Vet Clinic HORSES by John McEwen BVMS
pg 44 /6a pg40 & 41 /6b pg 49 Natural Horse Care by Pat Coleby
pg 58 Feeding Horses by Melyni Worth
pg 211 Complete Holistic Care & Healing for Horses by Mary Brennan, DVM
American Academy of Opthamology.
Pg 254 /10a pg 163 Horse JournalGuide™ to Equine Supplements & Nutraceuticals by E. Kellon VMD.
I cannot thank you enough for your reply. We have tried all medications with the vets and nothing has seemed to work, which is why I am doing some research. The B12 deficiency is very interesting to me. RV has been on many medications over the last two years and he did have lyme disease before he came down with the uveitis (may have flared it up). He was on medication for that, and has been on internal and external medication for all of his flare ups. I am going to show my vet this article. I do want to tell my story and educate other horse owners, because many people have no idea this disease is as serious as it is. When RV first came in with a swollen eye, the vets were not very concerned, as they thought he bunked it. Needless to say it turned out to be different! I want to educate horse owners to pay more attention, and take their horses eye’s seriously.