Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Eye has Swollen Pink Tissue around It

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

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

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

  • If you notice other problems with the eye or the eye seems inflamed and painful.
  • Most eye problems are considered veterinary emergencies.

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If the signs are very mild and the eye appears normal otherwise.
  • The eye does not seem painful and the horse does not seem distressed.

The conjunctiva is the loose, pink lining tissue that surrounds the eyeball and lines the eye socket. Its looseness allows the free movement of the eye within the socket. This loose architecture is also what causes these tissues to swell rapidly when they are irritated or inflamed.

When the conjunctiva is swollen, it appears as a thick pink rim or mass around the eye. Possible causes include fly irritation, foreign body or foreign material, trauma, corneal ulcer, bacterial or viral infections and even cancer.

WHAT TO DO

Given the importance of your horse’s sight, do not allow eye problems to continue or worsen over time. Depending on the nature of the problem causing the irritation, it may look worse than it is and may rapidly respond to treatment, but when dealing with the eye, it is best not to take a chance.

Apply a fly mask and keep your horse quiet until your vet can see it.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will first address the health of the eye and will try to determine the underlying cause for the swelling. The tentative diagnosis is conjunctivitis.

Sedation or nerve blocks may be necessary to properly examine the eye.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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