Helping Treat Equine Eye Conditions with the Guardian Mask

Written by Guardian Mask
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 — No Comments Yet

For 25 years, Guardian Mask has been manufacturing the ultimate solution to help horses suffering with headshaking and eye conditions such as uveitis (ERU or moon blindness), glaucoma, eye cancer, cataracts, and eye injuries. Their unique patented 95% Sunshades are specifically designed to help aid in the treatment, healing, and prevention of these major eye conditions and dieases. The Guardian Mask offers extended life and productivity to the horses that have suffered these conditions, and they stress in numerous cases, without the additional use of medications or surgeries. The Guardian Mask is designed to be worn year-round during daylight hours, but it can also be worn at night.


What is Uveitis?

Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU) or "moon blindness" is an inflammation of the inside of the eye. It is associated in some cases withleptospira bacteria, it also has an immune-mediated component. Uveitis can be sub clinical where no outward signs are seen until the horse turns up blind in one or both eyes.  Uveitis can be very painful, and can effect one or both eyes, usually in time both eyes are affected. Uveitis isn't contagious and studies have shown that the condition, and blindness, does seem to be more prominent  in Appaloosas, and Paints, compared to other breeds, the list of high risk breeds however, is sadly growing over time. Changing weather and environments are also a large factor in increasing conditions.

 

Treatments

ERU is usually treated with topical corticosteroids (after your DVM has determined there are no corneal ulcers), and topical antibiotics. Often, Banamine is used systemically to help with the inflammation.   

Aspirin therapy is used in some cases between flare-ups to decrease the progression of the disease. Uveitis usually does progress over time often to blindness and even then can still flare up, and be painful for the horse. It is recommended to have your horse tested.  

Aside from aspirin therapy, (ask your DVM and the veterinary ophthalmologist) there is little that can be done to prevent ERU from reoccurring. Recurrent Uveitis, a leading cause of blindness in horses, often developing as a sequel to systemic leptospirosis.   

Bute, Banamine and atropine have been used in the profession for many years and is currently being used and becoming known that these are only producing some, temporary relief at best. 

Alternative therapies such as the use of  a Guardian Mask with 95% Sunshades™ have proven to help alleviate the symptoms associated with horses suffering Uveitis. The special patented 95% Sunshades help occlude harmful UV rays that cause the irritation and weeping associated with this disease. The recommended use is in all daylight hours, year round. Not just during flare ups, it is important to continue protection year round. 

There are also special feed supplements available. When used in conjunction with mask protection, horse owners have experienced increased positive results to help combat and control uveitis. 

 

Additional Information

The bacterial organism leptospira is associated with some cases of recurrent equine uveitis (aka moon blindness). Blood tests, cultures, etc., can be done however the cause of ERU is not always identifiable. There is also an immune-mediated component to the disease.  

Leptospira can cause of abortion in mares, and despite extensive clinical research, the etiology of equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is still unknown.  

Equine recurrent uveitis, is an important ocular disease and the most common cause of blindness in horses and mules world wide.

 

Ocular Emergencies

Ocular emergencies include any condition which threatens the integrity of the globe or vision. Etiologies include trauma, burns, infections, uveitis, corneal ulceration, optic neuritis, central blindness, and the uncommon cases of equine glaucoma, early cataracts, cancer, and headshaking.   

An accurate diagnosis is critical for appropriate treatment for these problems. The prognosis may still be poor or grave with appropriate diagnosis; however, aggressive treatment is the only chance these eyes have to not only save their vision, but more so to help save their lives.   

Frequent reevaluations are also an important part of treating emergencies because additional problems can become evident over time which will also need treatment. Most ocular and orbital injuries or acute ocular inflammation in horses result in similar signs of adnexal swelling.

Symptoms

In cases of uveitis there will be a blue or white cloudiness and often a light or heavy discharge from the eye.  Horses may also display behavioral stress and try to rub their eyes against objects to try to relieve the pain. Horses have even been observed dunking their heads in water sources to also try to alleviate the pain. Horses can also continually seek shade. Sometimes symptoms are only visible in one eye, or both eyes. 

 


What are Equine Cataracts?

Cataracts are described as cloudy eyes or eyes that have a white film over the lens or a thick opacity of the lens. Cataracts can impair vision as well as blind a horse depending on the severity and it can occur in one or both eyes. 

 

Cause

The cause can be a variety of factors including genetic inheritance however this is not often the most common cause. The most common breeds of horses to have congenital cataracts are Appaloosa's and Arabians. All horses however, are susceptible to developing cataracts at any stage of life. Cataracts are generally caused by eye injuries and or eye diseases such as Uveitis and not limited to any particular age group however it is known to most commonly occur with either young foals or much older horses, older horses being the more common of the two age groups.

It is best to try and consider prevention rather than waiting until something "crops up" or waiting until your horse's eyes are in poor to bad condition. 

 

Treatment

Cataracts can be surgically removed however in older horses the chances of success are considerably low at 50% and even after a surgical removal there is a high degree of complications that can arise such as ongoing inflammation, ulcerations and cloudiness which could lead to shrinking of the eye and even blindness. 

Foals born with or developing cataracts under six months old are considered to have this affliction as a congenital disease. Most veterinarians recommend surgical removal of the lens if the foal is healthy as the foals can usually tolerate aggressive treatments.

Of course any horse that has had a cataract removal is no longer considered  a "sound" horse even if the horse can still function and get about in a normal fashion. A horse that has not had surgical removal of the lens can still also be functional with the aid of alternative therapy.  

The Original Multi-Purpose Guardian Mask  can not only help slow down the process, but the mask can also help prevent cataracts as the disease is known to be linked to Uveitis and as we have discovered, the best known treatment for uveitis is in fact the Guardian Mask with 95% sunshades for ultimate protection against the harmful UV rays of the sun.

It is always recommended to have a complete ophthalmic examination as well as a general health examination to determine the condition of a horse with any type of eye conditions, as some diseases tend to also effect other regions of the horses anatomy.  


What are Some Other Equine Eye Injuries?

There are many ways in which a horse can injure his eye or eyes. Horses can always find a way and other horses can sometimes be the culprits. One can never predict when a horse may become injured but when it happens, quick action and treatment may save your horses eyes.

 

Equine Eye Injury Examples

  • A kick or bite from another horse
  • Sharp objects in or around a horses stall or pasture
  • Fighting with other horses that might cause trauma to an eye or eyes
  • Accidental head bumping into other objects
  • Splinters from wood or trees including dead tree limbs
  • Tack or loose equipment that might be laying around the barn, stall or pasture
  • Rubbing against objects such as stalls or fences
  • Trailer injuries caused by a horse becoming excited or nervous
  • Foreign objects from flying debris such as leaf particles, dust, or dirt
  • Insect stings
  • Human inflicted trauma

 

Treatment

There are hundreds of ways a horse can manage an injury but once an injury has been sustained, the first thing that is recommended is to assess the situation. If there is bleeding and or visible cuts, veterinary treatment is recommended. If it appears that your horse has a foreign object lodged in the eye, you could try gently rinsing to see if you can remove the object and determine if there is any damage. If you find small particles or objects in the eye you can try using a clean handkerchief corner to remove the object. Sometimes clean cotton-tipped applicators can help. Eye washes can also be helpful to clean out any blood from a torn eye lid or eye if you can manage to keep the horse calm enough. Any injury to a horse can be very traumatic, always use caution when approaching an injured horse.

If your horse has sustained a traumatic injury, your veterinarian may suggest treatment or if there is sutures, there may also be medications and follow-up treatment that is required. If you wish to help protect your horses eyes while receiving treatment we recommend using a Guardian Mask. The Guardian Mask will help keep dust, debris and insects out of the eye area so it may help promote healing. It will also help keep the harmful UV rays of the sun from causing additional pain to your horse. The unique design of the mask has a raised set of "eyes" that are made of sturdy heavy duty materials and keep the eye covers away from the eyes. This helps prevent rubbing which could cause further damage to your horse's eye.

You may also consider using Guardian Masks for prevention. The Guardian Mask products are excellent in helping keep the eyes protected not just against the harmful UV rays of the sun but also excellent in protecting against harsh winds and the debris that might follow.

Always remember to seek the advice of your veterinarian in any case to help determine what is best for your horse. A horse's eyes are key to his health and they are not only expressive but help you read how your horse feels. All creatures have a natural ability to read others by searching their eyes, it is true that the eyes bring the world in, and it is also true that the inner creature is revealed through their eyes. Protecting them is as important as the horse's overall health.


Testimonial

Hi Sid!

This letter has been a long time coming in your direction. I first spoke to you 4 years ago. I have an Anglo Arab mare that had been diagnosed with uveitis. However, I am a very skeptical person I needed to make sure that I believed in your product before I sent a testimonial. Here is a brief rundown of what happened with my mare Mercedes.

I remember this day so vividly my mare’s eye was swollen and running and it looked quite painful. I stood in the barn with my mare and awaited the vet’s arrival.  He diagnosed her with uveitis and left me with a hand full of medications and directions. I was still optimistic about my mare condition and her treatment.

Two weeks later… I stood in the barn again, waiting for the vet’s arrival…  this time for the other eye. Again, more instructions, medications and now my spirits just a little less optimistic. (I was boarding my horse and the time over 30 minutes from home and had to travel to medicate her 4 times a day!)

My mare recovered quickly this time. One month later, again, standing in the barn with my mare, both eyes swollen almost closed, and running, and waiting for the vet to arrive. The vet arrived and during the examination we discovered both eyes so badly affected they were full of pools of blood!

Again, the vet leaves, I have my hands full of medications and by now I am very familiar with the treatment schedule! Now, I am very worried about my mare, I am in a daze I am so tired from driving to treat her. I remember sitting on the floor of my mare’s stall and sobbing!!! 

The first year of continuous treatment came and went.  Into the second year of treatment, my life started to revolve around my mare’s treatment. I quit my job and found one closer to the barn to make sure I got 4 treatments a day into her eyes. I left home and rented an apartment in the country to shorten my drive time.  I no sooner got one eye under control and the other eye would need treatment again. I fought with ulcers on her eyes from the steroid medications. Ulcers in her stomach from pain management medications. The final straw was when my mare had one of her eyes go completely covered with a white “fungus” type problem!!! From get this… the fungus was caused by the medications to treat the uveitis! Again the vet came out to try and help me with my mare. The vet care for my mare was fantastic however; this was a pretty severe case. My mare at this point had been on complete stall rest with no light for 2 months (give or take a day) my mare looked terrible. She had no spirit left in her! She had lost so much weight I barely recognized her and I was now considering a humane end to this so called life she was living! The vet and I discussed our options for Mercedes.

I went home in complete despair. I cried the whole car ride home. I arrived home and told my boyfriend about what kind of a decision I was faced with.  I went and sat down and found myself feeling completely helpless. I could for the first time do nothing to help my mare, I was at the end of watching her suffer, and I was exhausted physically and mentally and financially drained!

About an hour later my boyfriend arrived with a print out from the computer. It was your website. He urged me to call and order and just give it one last shot. I reached you on the other end of the line Sid! My first bit of hope in months! You understood! I quickly ordered the mask and waited. You sent me the mask on a rush order and I had it within 2 days! When the mask arrived in the mail I rushed out to the barn to put it on her. Okay at first I thought she looked kind of funny but who cares if it helps.

 

4 Years Later...

Mercedes now lives at home on my farm.  She is completely blind in one eye and can see I think maybe “shadows” in the other eye. (I wish I had found your mask months earlier she would probably still have her vision). She is so happy; she has not had any problems with her eyes in over 2 years!  I have 3 of your masks so I can rotate to get them washed.  She wears her mask 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  In fact your masks are so well made that I still have her original mask and it is in great shape!

It has been so long since I have thought of her eye condition that I had to look up how to spell uveitis again!

Sid, my sincerest thank you for all you have done for Mercedes and me. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on many occasions by phone, for taking the time to find a “treatment” for these wonderful animals that suffer from moonblindness, and for raising awareness with horse owners and vets throughout North America.

Trail riding season is starting again here in Ontario and thanks to you, Mercedes and I will enjoy the sunshine again for another summer together.

I do not hesitate to tell anyone about your product.  My testimonial… the smile on my face every time I open the barn doors in the morning and am greeted by the whinny of my mare.

Thank you…
Yours truly,

Andrea Patterson
Heckston, Ontario

To read more testimonials like Andrea's, click here.


Call 1 (866) 284-6773 to order!


Data gathered from various sources including horse owners, veterinarians, and Guardian Mask.

Click here to go to their website for more information.

Always remember to seek the advice of your veterinarian before treatment.

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