Eosinophilic Keratitis

 

Soxie, a Paint mare, was seen by Dr. Paul one autumn day because the owner noticed that she suddenly had VERY swollen and painful eyelids. The eyelids and tissues around the eyes were so swollen that Dr. Paul had a hard time looking at her eyeballs. Soxie was put on some anti-inflammatory medication to bring the swelling down. When Soxie was re-checked a few days later, the swelling had come down dramatically allowing Dr. Paul to see that Soxie actually had large but shallow ulcers in the exact same location near the outer edge of both eyes! Dr. Paul immediately started Soxie on aggressive eye ulcer medication.

 

Despite this treatment, Soxie did not seem to improve. When she was re-checked again, she had now developed thick white plaques over both the ulcerated areas. Worried that she was developing a serious fungal infection, Dr. Paul and Dr. Melissa recommended Soxie be referred to the University of Minnesota to see a veterinary ophthalmologist. At the hospital, Soxie was diagnosed with EOSINOPHILIC KERATITIS.

What is it?

Eosinophilic keratitis is immune-mediated inflammation of the ocular (eye) surface. The body’s immune system begins to attack the cornea and ocular tissue with a particular type of white blood cell called eosinophils. The affected areas tend to be the edges of the eye extending inwards towards the center of the cornea. As the condition progresses, the affected areas will be covered by white, necrotic plaques that are composed of white blood cells (mainly eosinophils).

It can occur in just one eye or both at the same time. Although it is not clearly understood what the cause of eosinophilic keratitis is, sometimes it is associated with hypersensitivity to parasites or other stimuli that can cause a large immune system response. Treatment consists of steroids, immune-system modulating drugs, and antibiotics applied to the eyes. Treatment may be required for 10-20 weeks. Some cases reoccur despite aggressive medical treatment and may need surgery to remove the affected area of the cornea.

In Soxie’s case, treatment was continued for months and over time, the plaques and abnormal areas of her corneas healed leaving small cloudy scar areas.  A year later, Soxie’s eyes look almost totally normal and she has not had a reoccurrence.

Recent Blog Posts

It’s all about TEAMWORK!

This week, Dr. Mary, Dr, Eva and Dr. Melissa working together with the help of another veterinarian (who also happened to own the equine patient), learned to perform a standing enucleation (eye removal). Cooperating and coordinating to learn these new procedures is vital to our success as veterinarians. In some practices, it can be an every man/woman for themselves philosophy…or even worse, veterinarians work in competition with each other for cases and patients.

Read More
Let’s Talk CBD

It’s been awhile since we have had a blog…so let’s make this one a good one. Let’s talk CBD products and horses. Here we go…

Read More
A Diary From a Pasture Weeder

The other night, I spent an hour or so weeding. I was not weeding my flower or vegetable garden; I was weeding my horse’s pasture—by hand. We had moved in about a month ago, and I had already planned out where I wanted to put fencing, how I wanted to divide my pastures, and what fencing I was installing. My horse was moving here the next weekend, and I still had a lot of work to do. There are many things to think about when converting an acreage into a safe home for your horse. I had already planned for many things, but until I moved in, I hadn’t had a chance to take one final step. I had to ensure my pastures were free of noxious weeds. After an extensive survey, I located three potential hazards: hoary allyssum, night shade, and maple trees.

Read More

Exceptional Equine Veterinary Care

Weitz Equine Veterinary Services is a full service, ambulatory equine veterinary practice based out of Northfield, MN
and serving the following areas: Carver County, Dakota County, Goodhue County, Rice County & Scott County.

Request Your Horse’s Appointment