That’s our new equine vet, Dr. Caitlin Jeffrey, examining our blind mare Lena last Monday. The previous Thursday afternoon we had noticed her right eye had become inflamed and painful, so we began treating it with an antibiotic eye ointment. Over the weekend, though, we didn’t see any improvement, so we called our large animal vets, Wood Pond Veterinary Clinic, and left a message asking if they could come out to look at Lena’s eye.
Here’s what the eye looked like close up:
In the photo at the top, Caitlin has stained the eye and is looking for evidence of any corneal ulceration. We could have started her on an antibiotic with a steroid in it (like dexamethasone), but you don’t want to use it until and unless you can rule out the presence of corneal ulcers. Otherwise, the steroid can cause the ulcers to get dramatically worse.
Here’s what the eye looked like after staining:
Fortunately, there was no uptake of the stain on the cornea, so she didn’t have any active ulcers. But we could tell there was something going on with the third eyelid, which seemed to be irritating the eyeball.
We emailed some of these photos to our veterinary ophthalmologist in Burlington, Dr. Sarah Hoy, for her review, and Caitlin followed up with an email to Sarah detailing her diagnostic findings. In the meantime, since we could rule out corneal ulcers, Caitlin had us start Lena on an antibiotic with dex. That soon did the trick, and the swelling is much reduced and the eye much more comfortable now.
We subsequently heard back from Sarah with her thoughts on what we were looking at and the next steps she’d recommend, so Caitlin is coming back this week to take a biopsy of the third eyelid and run some other tests. The good news is that at least the eye doesn’t look like that any more.
Shelter Challenge Results
We learned last week that we came in first in New Hampshire for the most recent round of the contest and thus won the state prize. Thank you for your votes! The Shelter Challenge people decided to award 50 pet beds instead of the cash grant to the state winners. I told them that this kind of “prize” was not all that helpful, since a) we don’t need the pet beds and b) we have a much higher and better use for the cash grant to pay for things that we do need, like veterinary expenses, food, etc. We don’t need someone else deciding for us (or other shelters and rescue groups) that what we can really use the most are pet beds. (We will be re-donating the beds to other local groups.) Fortunately, they did tell me that the cash grants would be returning for the next round … which, of course, we won’t be eligible for because we just came in first in this round. Oh, well! For a long time, up until a few years ago, the Shelter Challenge worked really, really well — and then they started monkeying with it. Constantly changing it, “improving” it, and everyone knows what the results have been. It’s never really been the same since. Hopefully they will “get their groove back” at some point.