Cowgirl - Eye

Cowgirl - Eye

Eye infections and injuries are more common than you might think. Too frequently, horse owners go out to the barn to see their horse’s eyes swollen, barely open, and tearing. It’s nothing to take lightly! You must be proactive from the beginning to ensure the injury or infection is on the road to recovery.

Signs of Eye Trauma

Keep a lookout for the following symptoms. It is advisable to contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these.

  • Holding the lid shut
  • Swollen
  • Pus or excessive tears when blinking
  • Discharge streaming down his face
  • Lid is torn
  • Eyeball is discolored or cloudy
  • Surrounding tissues are red and inflamed
  • Abnormal growth/tumor

Call the Veterinary

If you notice any abnormalities in your horse’s eye(s) don’t delay in calling the vet out. Describe the symptoms, and ask what you should do until they arrive. Sometimes self-diagnosing and treating the eye yourself can make matters worse. Your vet will be able to identify common eye problems, such as conjunctivitis, blocked tear duct, cut or rip, tumors, or allergic reactions.


If your vet approves, you can clean up the area with a saline solution. Put a fly mask on your horse’s face to avoid bugs further infecting the eye. It is also advisable to leave your horse in a dark stall while he is healing.

Your vet will likely prescribe an antibiotic in the form of drops or an ointment. Always wash your hands and keep the area clean when working with your horse’s eyes. Follow the directions carefully on how to administer drops or the ointment. Be prepared to treat your horse multiple times throughout the day, usually two to six times in severe cases.

Applying the medicine can be tricky, especially since your horse is probably in pain. Once you have a firm hold on your horse’s head, you’ll need to pry the top and bottom eyelid open. Ointment can usually be applied in the pocket of the lower lid directly from the tube. Drops can be applied to the surface of the cornea.


Always follow your vet’s recommendations. It is important to carefully observe your horse over the next few days. Make sure to apply the medicine as directed and for the whole course of the treatment. In the future, remove dangerous objects in the field and stall, keep dust to a minimal, and get your horse accustomed to having his face handled.

Eye injuries and infections can mean serious trouble. Don’t delay!