Ocular Disease in Aged Australian Horses

Ocular disease in horses aged ≥15 years in southeast Queensland is common, but is under-recognized by owners.
Author:
Publish date:
eye gray horse closeup

87.8% of the subset of horses that underwent an ophthalmological examination had minor‐to‐severe ophthalmic disease.

Research published in Equine Veterinary Journal looked at ocular disease in older horses in Queensland, Australia. The study was titled, "Prevalence of owner‐reported ocular problems and veterinary ocular findings in a population of horses aged ≥15 years" and was authored by Malalana, F.; McGowan, T.W.; Ireland, J.L.; Pinchbeck, G.L.; and McGowan, C.M.

This cross‐sectional study aimed to characterize owner‐reported ocular disease in an aged population of horses in southeast Queensland.

Owners of horses and ponies aged ≥15 years old that were members of Queensland Equestrian Federation Association were asked to complete a questionnaire relating to the signalment, history and perceived clinical signs of their horse(s). A subset of these horses then underwent an ophthalmological examination.

Questionnaires were completed for 974 horses, 327 of which subsequently underwent an ophthalmological examination. Out of the 974 horses, only 3.3% (n = 32) had owner-reported ocular problems. The most commonly owner-reported problems were diminished vision, uveitis and corneal abnormalities. In contrast, 87.8% (n = 287) of the subset that underwent an ophthalmological examination had minor‐to‐severe ophthalmic disease, including abnormalities of the retina and optic nerve (84.4%), cataracts (34.3%) and corneal abnormalities (13.9%).

Bottom line: Ocular disease in horses aged ≥15 years in southeast Queensland is common, but it is under-recognized by owners.

To read or purchase access to the article visit Wiley's online library