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


Eye, White or Pink Tissue on Outside Edge of Eyeball


This is a fairly common finding and usually results from an inflammatory condition caused by the body's response to parasites. The other main possible cause is cancer, squamous cell carcinoma.

Sometimes this area appears abnormal, but is found to be within normal limits by your vet following an examination.

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your role


What To Do

Given the importance of your horse's sight, do not allow this condition to continue or worsen over time.

Assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), assess their eyes, compare one to the other, and look for other signs of injury or disease. Take a photo of the eye and send it to your vet. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

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

your vet's role

Due to the possibility of cancer, your vet should examine your horse. If there is any doubt, they may take a biopsy to determine the character of the tissue.

(Note: “cherry eye” is blockage and distention of the third eyelid gland, often seen in dogs. Horses have no problem with their third eyelid gland, just their third eyelid.)
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Does your horse seem normal otherwise?
  • Has the appearance changed at all since you began observing it?
  • Has the horse had any other signs of a problem?
  • How does it compare to the other one?
  • How long have you noticed this?
  • Does the eye seem irritated?
  • Is the horse squinting or is there discharge?
  • How is your horse's attitude and appetite?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

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
more treatments

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP