Last Updated on March 6, 2022
In a medical emergency, there are some skills we should all learn, and how to flush a horses eye is one of them. If your horse has a problem with his eye, it is vital that you can take care of it quickly and without causing any further harm. Let’s find out everything you need to know about how to flush a horses eye!
Why Should You Flush A Horses Eye?
The eye of a horse is a sensitive and very complex part of its anatomy. If your horse sustains an injury to its eye or develops an eye infection, it can quickly escalate into a very serious problem.
For this reason, when it comes to equine eyes this is one area where you should not hesitate before seeking veterinary advice. A minor eye problem can develop into something that may affect the eyesight of the horse, and even potentially result in blindness. So, when it comes to eyes, it is better to be safe than sorry!
When To Flush Horses Eye
So, when might you need to flush a horse’s eye? Sometimes your veterinarian may advise you to flush the eyes, and this may need doing several times every day. There are also some situations where it is appropriate to flush a horse’s eye without checking with your veterinarian first.
If your horse’s eye looks dirty and you are tempted to flush it, is this a good idea?
First of all, let’s remind ourselves what a clever organ of the body the eye really is. The eyeball is constantly exposed to dirt and dust, but it is self-cleaning! The eye constantly produces a steady supply of tears, that rinse the surface of the eyeball. These are then drained away through the nasolacrimal duct – a thin tube that takes tears from the eye to the inside of the nostril.
If your horse has a dirty eyeball, this may mean that this system is not working properly. It is important to give the eye a thorough visual examination – do the eyelids look red or swollen? Is the horse holding its eye open normally, or squinting? Can you see any discharge from the eye? If you spot anything out of the ordinary, it is best to contact your veterinary clinic straight away.
Once you have completed your inspection and are completely satisfied that the eye looks normal, it is time to think about whether it needs flushing or not. The most common reason why may want to flush your horses eye is because it has been exposed to high levels of dust. This may be from turnout in a dry, dusty paddock, or dust from hay, straw, and bedding in the barn.
If this sounds like your horse, then a gentle flush once or twice a day can help to prevent more serious eye problems. However, prevention is better than cause, and it is a good idea to stop dust from getting in your horses eyes in the first place. This can be achieved by reducing the dust in the environment and putting a dust mask on your horse to protect the eyes.
What To Use To Flush A Horses Eye
There is one golden rule when it comes to horses’ eyes, and that is to keep germs at bay! You should only use a sterile solution to flush a horses eye; this can be sterile saline or a commercially-produced eyewash solution. Never use contact lens storage solution to rinse a horses eye.
Don’t be tempted to flush your horses eyes with water from the tap, or anything other than a sterile eyewash solution. The horses eye is very sensitive, and you may do more harm than good by using the wrong solution.
How To Flush A Horses Eye
To flush your horses eye, you will need a way of squirting the eyewash into the eye, whilst also holding the eye open and keeping the horse’s head still. It goes without saying that this is much easier with two people! The horses eye is quite large, so you will need to get a reasonable amount of eyewash into the eye.
If you are using sterile saline, this can be squirted into the eye using a syringe with the needle removed. Eyewash solutions sometimes come in a dispenser or dropper that makes it easier to get the solution into the eye. To make this process more comfortable for the horse, avoid squirting the liquid directly onto the eyeball, and trickle it along the eyelids instead.
How To Flush A Horses Eye Summary
So, as we have learned, finding the best way how to flush a horses eye is not always easy! You may need two people for this job, one to hold the horses head still, and the other to flush the sterile saline or eyewash into the horses eye. Eye washing should only be used to remove dust from the eyeball, and if any other eye problem is suspected then veterinary advice must be sought.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how to flush a horses eye! Have you had problems treating an eye condition in your horse? Or maybe you’ve got a great trick for flushing a horse’s eye? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
What Makes A Horse’s Eye Water?
A horse's eye can water for many different reason. Commonly, tears are produced to flush out an irritant, such as dust or flies. A blocked tear duct can cause tears to overflow from the eye and run down the face. If your horse's eye waters constantly, or you notice an odd colored discharge from the eye, you should seek veterinary advice.
Can You Flush A Horses Eye With Water?
Water can be used to wipe around a horse's eye, to remove dirt and discharge. If you need to flush your horse's eye, your veterinarian will advise you of the best solution to use. This will normally be a sterile saline solution or sterile eye wash.
How Do You Make Saline Solution For Horses Eyes?
Saline solution can be made by boiling salt in water, or by dissolving salt in distilled water. You should use 8 teaspoons of salt for every gallon of water.
Can You Put Human Eye Drops In Horses Eyes?
You should never put any eye drops in your horse's eyes that have not been prescribed by a veterinarian. Human eye drops may not be suitable for putting into horses eyes.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse
care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since
she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local
stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She
has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in
various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the
patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went
on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in
the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of
horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for
educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN REVN RVN A1