Our Horse’s eyes are so beautiful aren’t they. My piebald cob has the most gorgeous blue eyes, I love them! When we got our big girl Ellen, I thought I might find it weird having a horse without blue eyes. But I love her eyes, big and soft. A good representation of her.
At this time of year, flies are all over our horses’ eyes. My cob hates having her fly mask on, if I’m honest, I hate putting it on. The lovely blue eyes are hidden. And then there’s the task of trying to find a mask to fit Ellen. Ellen is a Dutch Draft Horse, and she has a truly huge head.
On social media, I see a lot of posts about how eyes are being irritated by the flies, and people asking what they can do. Now I’m no expert, certainly not a vet and I really don’t have a clue how effective a cold tea bag is. But you know your horses, and if you think there is a slight chance it isn’t just flies or dust from it being dry, please don’t ignore it.
Two years ago, Ellen was still rather new to us. But her eye was overly gross. So, I took a photo and I went to my vet. They also thought probably flies, and we were given cream. This actually seemed to help, until we run out. In the end, the vet had a look and found a tumour on her third eyelid. Now, Ellen is pretty much my mum’s baby. So, when the vet found it, he seemed completely unfazed. But I’m sure my mum was gutted. TUMOUR. That word strikes fear doesn’t it. We thought the worst, obviously.
Thankfully, my vet was brilliant, and we had to book Ellen in to have the third eyelid removed. She then decided on our dreaded day, that she wouldn’t load. 16.2, nearly a tonne draft horse deciding not to load, isn’t fun. I’m sure we are now known at the vets as the big horse than never turns up. But once again, my vets were just excellent, and they came to our yard and removed it.
We still had to wait for tests, and hope that it had a good margin so that it hadn’t spread to her eye. These thankfully came back as fine although it was a stem cell carcinoma. To add to that, she then had the same thing last year, and we had to go through it all again.
If we had ignored the first time, Ellen may not have an eye now, if any eyes. The process of removing her third eyelid was really quick, it’s not a large removal and wasn’t nearly horrific as I had imagined. Bless her, she probably doesn’t agree with me.
I’m not trying to scare people into rushing to their vet every five minutes, but I do think we know our horses. If you think “actually I’m not sure”, or “maybe it isn’t just flies” then go to your vet. I have a fab vet clinic not far and it doesn’t cost you a thing to just walk in and ask to speak to a vet.
Don’t ignore their eyes, they are such a big part of them.
I haven’t added gory photos, and I have to say a big thank you to Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic for being so brilliant.