How to Irrigate a Horse's Eye

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It's not uncommon to have to flush out your horse's eyes.
It's not uncommon to have to flush out your horse's eyes. (Image: horse 3 image by Dozet from Fotolia.com)

Flies, allergies, dirt and other debris can cause a horse’s eyes to become irritated and to have excessive drainage. Irrigating the eye will make your horse more comfortable. It can also allow you to get a clearer look at the eye to determine if there’s a more serious condition causing your horse’s eye to weep.

Things You'll Need

  • Halter
  • Lead
  • Equine eye wash
  • Cotton ball
  • Carrots or other horse treats

Put a halter and lead on your horse. Tie him to a post or have another person hold the lead and help him stay in place.

Instruct a second person to feed your horse treats while you irrigate the eye. This will help keep your horse calm.

Hold the bottle of eye wash just above the eye with the nozzle pointed toward the eye. Then squeeze the bottle to flush out the eye. Calmly talk to your horse as you do this to keep him calm and to avoid surprising him. You may have to flush the eye quickly several times to get the debris out. Use your best judgment as to how much saline to use and how much flushing is needed for the condition of your horse’s eye.

Use a cotton ball or eye cleaning pad moistened with equine eye wash to gently wipe away debris and mucus that collects around the edge of the eye.

Tips & Warnings

  • Equine eye wash can be purchased at most feed and tack retailers.
  • If your horse's eye is infected or otherwise injured, he should be seen by a veterinarian.

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References

  • "Horses for Dummies"; Audrey Pavia and Janice Posnikoff, D.V.M.; 1999
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