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Equine Health Resource

Eye appears To Have Blood Inside Clear Front Chamber

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • Most eye problems are considered veterinary emergencies.

Occasionally a horse will bleed into the front chamber of their eye (hyphema). Sometimes this appears as a bright red clot of blood, laying in the floor of the front (anterior) chamber of the eye.

This can result from traumatic injury to the eye, or can be a sign of body-wide disease (usually a clotting problem). In the latter case, the horse is likely to show other signs of illness or disease and will require more aggressive treatment. In cases caused by traumatic injury, the blood will usually be resorbed over days to weeks.


Assess your horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying special attention to attitude and appetite, the appearance of the other eye, and that of the gums and vulvar mucous membranes in mares. Look for apparent bruising or red spots on mucous membranes, which could indicate a clotting problem.

Assess the affected eye, looking for signs of squinting, watering, discharge or reddening of the “whites” of the eyes. Contact your vet with your findings and concerns.


With physical examination and laboratory testing your vet will try to determine whether this is a local traumatic injury or is evidence of a body-wide clotting problem.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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