Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) remains a timely, expensive, and unforgiving horse disease to treat due to recurrence in loss of vision.
Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is a nasty disease, causing searing pain and loss of use. Adding insult to injury, the disease keeps coming back, often resulting in blindness. Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is a costly and unforgiving disease to treat. But as researchers learn more about the ins and outs of the disease, they’re finding ways to improve treatment.
Equine recurrent uveitis (ERU) is an immune-mediated form of uveitis—inflammation of the uveal tract, which comprises the iris, muscular ciliary body, and choroid. Uveitis is a painful health condition, and chronic uveitis can cause permanent changes in the eye, including cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment.
Veterinarians and horse owners must approach horses with painful eyes in a systematic and standardized fashion to optimize chances of treatment success. Uveitis is characterized by miosis and low intraocular pressure and stained eyes. Always do a fundic examination for your horses to assess the structures in the back of the eye. (You can use a smartphone and an app that has a camera and light to perform a fundic exam easily and thoroughly)
To diagnose ERU, the horse must have uveitis that has recurred or is persistent. In addition, veterinarians use a standardized grading scheme for ERU (e.g., on a scale of 1 to 5) to achieve an early diagnosis and assess treatment success.
In some ways, ERU is akin to laminitis, a recurrent and lifelong, life-altering condition. It is recommended that you administer topical steroids, topical atropine to dilate your horse's eye, and systemic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Cyclosporine implants, which veterinarians surgically place in the eye (in the suprachoroidal space), can reduce the frequency and severity of ERU flare-ups and can last for at least 48 months.