Eye removal often has positive impact

Study finds more than 90 percent of owner are were pleased with the outcome of their horse's enucleation surgery.
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It’s natural to worry when your horse undergoes surgery to have an eye removed, but a study from England suggests that the chances for complications or other problems related to the procedure are low.

Close up of horse's closed eye with a woman's hand resting on his face

A study found that 86 percent of the owners who expressed concerns about having enucleation done reported that the issues they had been worried about did not occur.

Veterinarians reviewed the records of 170 horses who underwent eye removal (enucleation) at eight referral centers in the United Kingdom from August 2006 to March 2015. Although the study did not focus on the reasons for the surgery, it is often performed to relieve discomfort from or halt the progression of uveitis, fungal infections and ulcers. In addition to reviewing medical records, information was gathered from 119 of the owners by completion of a questionnaire about their satisfaction with the outcome of the procedure.

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The data showed that 86 percent of the owners who expressed concerns about having enucleation done reported that the issues they had been worried about, such as postoperative complications, did not occur. Even more—90.8 percent of the owners—stated that they were pleased with the outcome of the surgery. In fact, 21 percent said they wished the procedure had been performed sooner. The researchers also found that 77.3 percent of the horses achieved their previous level of performance or a higher level after enucleation.

Reference: “A multicentre study of long-term follow-up and owner satisfaction following enucleation in horses,” Equine Veterinary Journal, August 2017

This article first appeared in the December 2017 issue of EQUUS (Volume #483)

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