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A typical day at my friend Martina’s house is pretty fun and simple. We go fishing, watch tv, and run around riding four wheelers getting into trouble. One day after unsuccessful hours of fishing we got bored and decided to go ride her horses. We walk into the stable and we notice that one of her horses Buck, did not want anything to do with us.  He kept shaking his head very violently and was blinking his eyes none stop. We thought he might just have something in his eyes but when we got a closer look we knew this was something else and it was serious. Around his right eye was so swollen you could barely see his eye, tears were squeezing out of his eyes and running down the sides of his face. We could tell he was in pain and needed help. Immediately Martina and I run to the house to get her dad and try to see if he knew what was going on. He goes in and checks Buck and the other horses to see if they have the same symptoms as him. He just tells us he has no idea what is causing this or what it is. That all he knows is we need to get him to the Vet right now and find out what is going on. We do just that and a hour later the vet came back the with the diagnosis and tells us, Buck has the early symptoms of Moon Blindness or ERU. (Equine recurrent uveitis.)Moon Blindness is a chronic, painful eye disease, and it’s the most well known reason of blindness in horses which can also influence people as well. This disease has characteristics of intense bouts of agony and inflammation, which may fade away for a few weeks or months, leaving the horse with no clear side effects. However, since this is an immune-mediated disease, the horse’s cells may continue battling and attacking the tissue of the eye and between flare-ups. This may bring up in tearing, squinting, and different symptoms, which might be excruciating. The irritation in some cases happens inside the eye and negatively affects the uveal tract. Which is a thin layer of tissue between the cornea and the retina in the eye. Inflammation upsets this boundary and is the instrument that progresses this disease from initial damage to blindness. Moon blindness can affect both of the horse’s eyes or just one and any horse can become affected by this disease. There are some breeds which seem to be more affected by the disease than others such as the Appaloosas. Ways that moon blindness can occur or affect is usually by trauma to the eye, such as a scratch cause an infection also parasites, viruses, and fungi can be an affect. If your horse has developed moon blindness, it will have symptoms characteristic of the disease. Symptoms may go away for a while and then come back. The symptoms your horse could have are pain in the eye, inflammation, cloudiness in the eye, change of eye appearance, redness in the eye, eyelid swelling, tears, and squinting.  There isn’t any clear ways to prevent your horse from getting moon blindness because there is an association with leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic which is transmitted between animals and man bacterial disease found worldwide that can affect any mammalian species, including humans, wildlife, rodents, livestock, and, yes, horses. There are things you can do to help reduce your horses chances of getting the disease. Such as removing standing water, making sure what your horses are eating is safe and isn’t infected by anything. This isn’t an easy fix but their are ways to prevent and treatments that can help. Craig Carter, director of the University of Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center and professor of epidemiology, College of Agriculture, tells us horses become infected through mucous membranes of the eyes or mouth and sometimes through broken skin by contact with infected urine, blood, or tissues. Furthermore, they can become infected by eating hay or grain that has been contaminated by infected urine, or they can contract it by drinking from standing water that has been similarly affected. In some cases horses are affected by the direct splashing of infected animals’ urine into the eyes or mouth. It can help to use the fly mask both to before even being diagnosed and after diagnosed with moon blindness. After any horse is suspected to have signs or symptoms of the disease should have a ophthalmica exam performed. The treatment goals are to control the inflammation and make sure the horse feel better, also to help keep the vision for as long as long as possible. Still one of the most important things to do is recognize the symptoms early to get it appropriately diagnosed. The earlier the better and the faster you can get the horse into therapy if needed. If it gets to that point you’ll need to know what to do and what the treatments are. Moon Blindness does not have a cure, so medications will be centered around keeping  this condition from influencing your horse again after some time. Your veterinarian may prescribe specific medications custom fitted to your horse’s condition. Treatment comprises of topical and fundamental (oral) calming anti-inflammatory medications. In the event that there is doubt of bacterial infection, a few veterinarians will additionally prescribe an anti-toxin. These medications may include anti-inflammatories, both foundational and topical, medication  prescription drugs, and steroids. The sort of medications and the day and age he will require them will solely rely upon the distinction of your horse’s condition. Some of the more serious treatments can be surgery if the disease gets really bad. Such as the cyclosporine implant,  it’s designed to slowly release an effective dosage of the drug, exactly where it can do the most good and keep doing it for up to five years. By putting the implant in this position in the sclera, it is close to where these T-lymphocyte follicles are, the helping cells. They help B cells create antibody against foreign viruses. There it has the best chance of reducing the intensity of uveitis attacks and of prolonging the intervals between the attacks. It won’t restore vision that has been lost. But if it can control the condition, then it can preserve the sight the horse has, possibly for the rest of his life. The idea is to really just to try and prevent this disease in the first place. Of course some people might think they don’t have the time, to always be looking out for a disease that might never affect your horse. But clean water and the food they eat all matters. It is all about the horses health and comfort. It is very important for any horse owner to recognize any signs of ocular pain. Those may include, squinting, tearing, rubbing at the eye, and squinting in the sunlight. Anything like that should be taken seriously and reported or have the horse taken to the Vet. There are many conditions that can cause signs of ocular pain, and is important to have the horse diagnosed correctly and treated right to increase the chances of success for the horse’s vision and comfort.After the visit at the vet with buck, he was put into treatments and was getting medication to help him with the comfort and inflammation. After a couple of weeks the symptoms seemed to calm down and started to go away. Without contacting the the Vet right away and catching the symptoms early, it could have gone a lot worse for buck and he could possibly lost his vision in his right eye completely. But now they make sure that he is very healthy has fresh water, food, and is comfortable. Always make sure your horses are healthy, comfortable, and if they seem in pain contact your Veterinarian.

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