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.
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