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Veterinary Clinical Sciences

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Equine Veterinary Education




This case series describes acute corneal hydrops in three young horses. Due to similarities in the clinical appearance and progression of the disease with that which is reported in humans and cats with acute corneal hydrops, traumatic Descemet’s membrane rupture was suspected to be the underlying aetiology in these equine cases. The horses presented with acute severe corneal oedema with intrastromal bullae formation and anterior bulging of the corneal contour. Focal posterior corneal changes were also seen in two of three cases. Mild anterior uveitis was also present. Other causes of corneal oedema (e.g. glaucoma) were ruled out based on presentation and clinical examination. Treatment approaches were medical and included various combinations of prophylactic topical antimicrobial therapy in case of secondary corneal ulceration, anti‐inflammatory therapy for uveitis, targeted oedema therapy with topical hypertonic saline and corneal cross‐linking, and placement of a temporary partial tarsorrhaphy for corneal tamponade. The outcome was excellent in all cases, with rapid resolution of the ocular changes. Acute corneal hydrops of presumed traumatic Descemet’s membrane rupture origin should be considered in cases of young horses presenting with acute corneal oedema. However, further studies are warranted to better characterise the disease and to try to confirm the suspected aetiology.


This is the published version of the following article: O’Leary, L. M., L. Sebbag, L. M. Moody, K. A. Diehl, and R. A. Allbaugh. "Acute corneal hydrops of presumed traumatic origin: An uncontrolled case series (three horses)." Equine Veterinary Education (2021). DOI: 10.1111/eve.13455. Posted with permission.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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