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Amniotic Membrane for Treatment of Equine Corneal Ulcers

Does adding amniotic membrane to the treatment of equine corneal ulcers improve or speed healing?
vet looking in horse eye

Adding a commercially available amniotic membrane extract topically to antibiotic, antifungal and mydriatic medical therapy for experimentally induced equine superficial corneal ulcers did not significantly increase the rate of re-epithelialization compared with medical therapy alone.

A recently published article discussed, "Commercial amniotic membrane extract for treatment of corneal ulcers in adult horses." It was authored by Lyons, V.N.; Townsend, W.M.; Moore, G.E.; and Liang, S.

In this controlled experimental trial, the authors evaluated the effect of amniotic membrane extract on re-epithelialization of experimentally induced corneal ulcers in 10 healthy horses. 

 A corneal ulcer measuring 8 mm diameter was created bilaterally in each horse using a diamond burr. One eye was treated with amniotic membrane extract and the opposite was treated with the extract vehicle only (control). All eyes were treated with topical medical therapy (antibiotic, antifungal and mydriatic). Ulcers were stained with fluorescein and photographed in 12-hour increments until completely healed.

All eyes healed within 165.2 ± 76.3 hours. Eyes treated with amniotic membrane extract healed in 162.7 ± 68.2 hours, whereas eyes treated with the control healed in 167.6 ± 87.4 hours. The treatment group was not significantly associated with size of ulcers over time. Regardless of therapy, healing occurred in two distinct phases: an initial rapid phase with an average duration of 48–54 hours and a second, slower phase with a variable duration.

Bottom line: Adding a commercially available amniotic membrane extract topically to antibiotic, antifungal and mydriatic medical therapy for experimentally induced equine superficial corneal ulcers did not significantly increase the rate of re-epithelialization compared with medical therapy alone.

You can read or access this article on the Wiley online library.

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