Equine enucleation

*UPDATE* I will be keeping track of Spiker’s progress on this blog! Click on the link at the top of the page to read about his updates after his enucleation surgery.

After 13 long months of battling uveitis, my 11-year old gelding “Spiker Bain” is had his right eye removed (enucleated) on Monday October 19th, 2009.

He has recovered well from surgery, however is now facing secondary challenges with mild colic. He was supposed to return home on Wednesday but has been kept longer for observation. Despite feeling gastrically uncomfortable, he seems to be handling his modified eyesight very well so far, and clearly is ready to go home and get out of the hospital.

While eye removal (properly known as enucleation) is a squeamish topic for many owners of horses with Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU), glaucoma and other serious eye conditions, it can provide permanent relief to reoccurring pain. Many horse owners have reported improved attitude and health of their equine friend once the surgery has been performed. There are many options for showhorses, such as special prosthetics that can be painted to match the healthy eye. After an adjustment period, many horses are able to return to work and competition. I myself hope that my gelding will be one of the successful ones!

After surgery, my brave big guy

To learn more about enucleation and equine prosthetics, visit Saving Face When a Horse Loses an Eye and the very detailed Equine Ophthalmology (it is a PDF file, so you will need Adobe Reader or Preview to download and read it) that outlines various enucleation methods in horses.

3 thoughts on “Equine enucleation

  1. Hi, my horse has been battling ERU since February this year (although I suspect longer but nothing showed up in the pre-purchase check). She has had three flare-ups and I am now considering enucleation. It seems to me to be the only option at this stage and I don’t see any progress being made in just keep treating each episode and then holding my breath until it reoccurs. Please keep us updated about how your horse is doing. I am in Auckland, New Zealand.

  2. Hi Sarah, I have created a page to update readers on Spiker’s progress. I am sorry to hear about your mare, it is such a frustrating and painful disease. My big guy doing really happy, very happy and comfortable now that his eye has been removed. Has your vet talked about the cyclosporine implant with you? Some people say it is a very effective way of battling the disease if there is still vision in the eye. Good luck.

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