A while back I wrote a post stressing the importance of treating eye injuries quickly. Last week a reader asked me about techniques for actually putting medicine in your horse’s eye. It can get tricky when a 1200 pound animal decides it doesn’t appreciate your ministrations.
When Kroni had conjunctivitis or a scratch, I put triple antibiotic ophthalmic ointment in his eye every three hours. He was a pretty compliant horse; even after he know what I was going to do he didn’t object. I put a strip of the ointment on my finger, and use my other hand to open her eye. I then swiped the ointment into the “pocket” of the lower lid. I never try to apply the ointment directly from the tube. I’m afraid of poking my horse in the eye, but also
Other horses I’ve treated aren’t so accommodating. I had a mare who could get her head so high — it was like she had suddenly grown the neck of a giraffe.
For the more resistant horse, you need a more advanced technique. Here are some instructions that I found on from a vet tech.
The way we administer eye meds at the equine hospital is to stand facing the horse with their chin resting on our shoulder and the eye to be treated towards our face. Wrap the arm on the same side as the horse’s head up and over the horse’s nose and use that hand to lift the upper lid so that they eye remains open. Use the opposite hand to hold the medication and rest your fingers under the horse’s eye and put slight downward pressure to pull the lower lid down so that you can apply the medication inside the lower lid. This also allows your hand to move to follow the horse’s head should the horse move it’s head. This also allows you to control the horse’s head movement up, down and sideways.
It’s a good idea to get your horse used to having you touch his head (especially around his eyes) before you need to treat him. As part of my grooming routine I rub my horse’s face and cup my hand over his eye. There’s no guarantee that your horse will let you put medication in the second time you try . . . but at least you’ll get it in the first time. Treats help, too.
Here’s a link to a video that demonstrates how to successfully put medication in your horse’s eye. http://applications.fliqz.com/bc25d4c2640f48798785c9b8bc668a5e.swf