The board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists at the University of Florida in Gainesville provide a full range of diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic treatment of horse and large animal eye disorders. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
Large Animal Eye Care at UF
The UF Large Animal Ophthalmology service is one of the busiest in the world. This group accepts referrals from the nearby horse community of Ocala in Marion County as well as from the entire state of Florida, parts of southern Georgia and Alabama. Our service even sees horses from as far as Kentucky, Texas, Minnesota, Oregon, New Hampshire and Vermont. Our ophthalmology group accepts the difficult horse eye cases that are turned away elsewhere, and consistently achieves impressive outcomes in horses with very serious eye problems.
Ophthalmic Medical Care
Regardless of the problem, each horse gets the same level of attention and degree of clinical oversight. This synergy of collaboration has often resulted in innovative treatment options for many horses with severe eye diseases. Referring veterinarians are contacted by phone during the examination, and updated on the case and treatment plan. Discharge instructions are detailed. If a recheck is needed, the appointment is generally made before discharge. We maintain a friendly atmosphere in order to give the clients top-level professional and personal treatment for their horses. We are also very sensitive to managing complex problems within the constraints of the parent hospital or farm.
Serious eye problems like infected ulcers, stromal abscesses, and periocular tumors require hospitalization, and the University of Florida has a very large facility to deal with horses with severe types of eye problems. Each patient is examined daily in the same manner as the outpatients. Inpatient exams are a group effort involving our senior clinicians, residents, and the fleet of technical staff on the service that day.
Deep lamellar endothelial keratoplasty (partial thickness corneal transplants) is an innovative microsurgery technique developed at UF for horses with corneal stromal abscesses. Corneal stromal abscesses were a common cause of blindness in horses prior to development of this surgery. Penetrating keratoplasty (full thickness corneal transplant) is utilized for deep corneal ulcers in horses.
The equine ophthalmology group at UF has pioneered the use of double amnionic membrane transplants for successfully treating horses with catastrophic corneal disease. Cataract and glaucoma surgery in foals and adult horses is also being performed. The corneal, glaucoma and cataract surgeries are performed by the board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists and are assisted by their team of residents. Each procedure requires a marvel of skill, technology and experienced surgical judgment and economy. The most involved procedures can take up to four hours to complete.
Each horse that has complex eye surgery is generally hospitalized for several days and has a subpalpebral lavage system installed in the eyelid of the operated eye. Each lavage treatment involves injection of a small quantity of topical drug into the tube followed by a bolus of air to propel the medication onto the globe. The next medication is administered in a similar fashion a few minutes later. Postoperative patients and intense medical cases receive up to six sight saving medications through the lavage tube at a frequency of six to 12 times a day.
Equine & Large Animal Ophthalmology Veterinary Services Include
- Medical and surgical treatment of corneal ulcers and other disorders
- Corneal transplants
- Diagnostic ophthalmology
- Equine cataract diagnosis and surgery
- Ophthalmic surgery
- Recurrent uveitis diagnosis and therapy
- Early glaucoma diagnosis and therapy including endolaser
- Latest therapy for squamous cell carcinoma and sarcoid
Equine & Large Animal Ophthalmology Veterinarians
- Dr. Caryn Plummer, Service Chief
- Dr. David Whitley
- Dr. Caroline Monk, 3rd year resident
- Dr. Laura Proietto, 2nd year resident
- Dr. William Berkowski Jr., 1st year resident
Veterinary Horse Eye Care Links
The UF Large Animal Hospital veterinarians treat equine and large animal patients from the Gainesville, Ocala and Jacksonville areas, including Alachua and Marion Counties in Florida, and our clients come from all over the United States. Contact us to speak to one of our specialists or to make an appointment.