Ask the Vet: General Equine Health

Can a horse get too high a dose of probiotics? My 23-year-old Thorougbred is having loose manure and it takes 3X the recommended dose to respond.

Answer: There is a lot of controversy about probiotics and how effective they are. There are no reports of a probiotic overdose so I would be concerned about that. Loose manure with no other signs of disease is more of a nuisance problem than a health issue. You may want to try and adjust your horse feed and add wheat bran. Manuel Himenes, DVM, Kailua, HI

Does a horse ever get over a stifle?

Answer: Stifle injuries in the horse range from minor to very severe. If your horse is locking its patella, the prognosis is very good with proper treatment. If your horse has ruptured ligaments or a torn meniscus, the prognosis is more guarded and will likely require surgery. OCD cysts of the stifle can be successfully treated if there is no arthritis present. Arthritis of the stifle has a poor prognosis for athletic soundness.

Your veterinarian will be able to determine the type of injury and prognosis. Manuel Himenes, DVM, Kailua, HI

My horse cannot see at night and has trouble with depth perception in the day. What might be her problem?

Answer: Vision in the horse is hard to access. I would first begin by having a veterinarian examine your horse’s eyes and verify the the pupils can dilate. Sometimes if a horse has had an eye injury, the iris will stick to the cornea or lens and not allow the muscles of the iris to dilate the pupil. The pupil must dilate in low light conditions in order to allow more light into the eye. If one eye lost the ability to dilate this may cause the loss of telescopic vision required for depth perception. Also, be sure that your horse does not have any other diseases of the eye like uveitis, which can cause a loss of vision in one eye.

Careful examination of your horse’s eyes can also rule out the eyes as a problem. Your horse may have other neurological or musculoskeletal problems that are not related to the eye itself. Good luck with your horse and I hope that the problem can be defined with a positive outcome..

Question: What are the chances a horse will get its sight back if treated for Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU)?

Answer: If there is no damage to the lens, retina or optic nerve, the prognosis for return to sight is good. If the cornea is completely white it may take some time for the cornea to clear and it may not clear completely. While the horses vision may not be perfect if the internal structures are not damaged the horse should have some sight.

One of the major complications of ERU is glaucoma. Glaucoma will result in blindness and a chronic painful eye.

Good luck with this horse. ERU is a difficult disease to treat and can be very frustrating. Persistence and patience are needed to have a successful outcome. Manuel Himenes,

Courtesy of AAEP