What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Eye, Bleeding from Eye


Bleeding from the eye is a rare problem in horses. It is usually associated with trauma to the eyelids or surrounding tissues. An eyelid laceration either penetrating the lid or inside the lid can appear as blood dripping from the eye. The presence of a foreign body or tumor near the eye or under the eyelid are other possible causes.

Eye injuries are always potentially serious.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If you notice any change in appearance of the eye itself.
    • Most eye problems are considered veterinary emergencies.

your role


What To Do

Assess your horse's eyes as carefully as you can and try to determine whether the eyeball itself appears injured. Injuries to the eye can be sight-threatening. The best course of action is immediate veterinary attention.

What Not To Do

Do not attempt to assess or touch your horse's eye if it appears to cause your horse significant discomfort or stress.

your vet's role

Your vet uses ophthalmoscopic examination, and careful evaluation of the eyelids. To allow complete examination, they may use special eyelid nerve blocks and sedation.

While you wait for your vet to arrive, keep your horse in a quiet stall. If flies are bothering the eye, consider the use of a fly mask.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What exactly do you see?
  • Are one or both eyes affected?
  • Can you see anything else going on with the eye(s)?
  • Can you see injury to the eyeball itself?
  • Do you notice an injury near the eye?
  • Does the eye seem inflamed or abnormal in any other way?
  • Is the horse showing signs of eye discomfort like squinting or blinking?
  • How severe does the bleeding seem?
  • Do you notice bleeding out of other areas, nostrils, mouth, eyes, ears, anus, vulva or penis/sheath?

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The cause of the problem. These are conditions or ailments that are the cause of the observations you make.

Very Common
Less Common
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Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
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further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP