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Dr. CMc
Dr. CMc, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 263
Experience:  Specializing in Equine General Practice and Sports Medicine
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Have a foal that developed a cloudy spot on his eye. Took

Customer Question

Have a foal that developed a white cloudy spot on his eye. Took him to the vet and he looked at it with a scope of some kind. Said the swelling was behind the lense so it's not an ulcer. I'm still concerned it could be. I am treating 3-4 times a day with neomycin and polymyxin b sulfates and dexamethasone
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the horse?
Customer: The vet thinks it could be a cataract but this just showed up overnight. I wouldn't think cataracts appear overnight.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. CMc replied 3 months ago.


I'm sorry to hear that your foal has an eye issue. Usually, with a corneal ulcer we can use a fluorescein eye stain to see if there is a defect on the cornea itself (outside of the eye). The stain is only picked up by the rough underlying corneal tissue, and not the normal outer corneal layer. It is a fluorescent green color. If there is a corneal ulcer, I generally avoid using any ophthalmic (eye) ointment that has a steroid in it like dexamethasone as this slows the healing process. Instead I use a Neomycin-polymixin-bacitracin eye ointment to treat/prevent any bacterial infection on the cornea.

The visual difference between a corneal ulcer and a cataract is that an ulcer is on the outer layer of the cornea (out side of the eye) and a cataract is inside the eye in the lens (which is behind the iris and pupil of the eye). Cataracts can appear rather suddenly if they are associated with trauma and subsequent inflammation in the eye itself. If this is associated with trauma, then the medication you are using with dexamethasone may be needed as it will reduce inflammation in the eye. There are also congenital cataracts but these don't usually show up acutely (suddenly).

You can always have a fluorescein stain test done to rule out if it is a corneal ulcer. Ulcers are visible on the outside of the eye. I would imagine that if your veterinarian used an ophthalmoscope then he would have determined if the white cloudy spot is in the eye or on the cornea.

I hope this has fully answered your question. If you have any other questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you,

Expert:  Dr. CMc replied 2 months ago.


I'm just checking in to see how your foal is doing and if this was the information you were looking for. If so, it would be greatly appreciated if you could rate my answer. This helps let others gauge the quality and helpfulness of my answers, and allows me to make sure I am providing the most appropriate information. If this wasn't the information you were looking for, please let me know in more specifics so I can better help.

Thank you,