Latest News

Treating Corneal Ulcers

The cornea, the clear tissue at the front of the eye, provides a window for the horse to see through and focuses light on the retina, making it essential for proper vision. Wounds in the cornea, or corneal ulcers, are common in horses. They have several potential causes, including injury, infection, and autoimmune disease. If not treated quickly with the correct therapy, they can affect vision permanently and even result in the loss of the eye. 

10 Things You Might Not Know About Equine Ophthalmology

Interpretation of equine vision is complicated and highly subjective. Understanding how your horse sees the world, and being able to identify when vision is compromised, will enable you to work with your veterinarian to manage the health of your horse’s eyes. We collaborated with the UC Davis Ophthalmology Service to draw attention to some things you might not know about equine ophthalmology.

Meeting in the Middle: Two Forms of Equine Uveitis


Diseases of the middle layer of the eye, the uvea, are among the most common ocular conditions in horses. Depending on the disease severity and duration, vision can be significantly compromised. For this reason, regular eye examinations are an essential part of routine care.

Inflammation of the uvea (iris, ciliary body, and choroid) is known as uveitis. It can occur once, such as with trauma or infection, and never again. Other forms are caused by an immune-mediated response to a systemic infection, autoimmune disease, or other triggers and may be chronic or recurring.

Equine Vision and Performance

It can be frustrating when your horse spooks at something outside of the arena while you are going to the right, and then again to the left as if he’s never seen it before. Your horse is not trying to be difficult; he just sees things differently than you do. Whether heading to a jump, negotiating a turn to a barrel, or navigating the trail, aiming to understand how horses see the world can benefit their performance and welfare. 

Complex Surgery Saves Horse's Eye After Fungal Infection


Cassie, a 17-year-old Oldenburg mare, was referred to the UC Davis veterinary hospital’s Ophthalmology Service for a stromal abscess in the left eye. Stromal abscesses can result in significant inflammation and pain and often require complex (and expensive) surgery to prevent blindness or the need to surgically remove the eye. Thanks to the combined expertise of the Ophthalmology, Equine Internal Medicine, and Anesthesiology Services, Cassie was able to undergo specialized surgery that resolved the issue and preserved her vision.

Equine Ophthalmology at UC Davis

 OCT Imaging

Equipment to conduct OCT imaging is new to the Ophthalmology Service since fall of 2023. The technique uses light waves to capture cross-section images of the cornea and retina at  nearly microscopic levels. This non-invasive approach can assess deep ulcers in the eye, informing diagnostic decisions and enabling ophthalmologists to track healing. UC Davis is one of the only equine services in the country that offers this technology.

Director's Message - Spring 2024


Like most equestrians, all of us at CEH have been eagerly anticipating a return to drier, warmer weather, and longer daylight hours. The center has been busy with teaching labs, student activities, outreach events, and research projects.

CEH Teaching Herd Horse Anisette

Our cover model, Anisette, is a 31-year-old Arabian mare. Donated in 2006, she has been an integral part of the CEH herd for almost 20 years. This sassy lady may be small in stature, but she has a big personality. She has many opinions and is not afraid to share them!

10 Things You Might Not Know About Caring for Older Horses

The average life expectancy of horses is around 20 years, but some survive into their 40s. Horses 20 years of age and older increasingly account for a larger percentage of the population, in part due to advances in veterinary care.

Older horses still need routine care. Fortunately, owners are becoming more aware and committed to life-long care and management. Here are 10 things that are important to know about caring for older horses.

Aging and the Equine Immune System

Across species, aging has significant effects on many of the body’s prominent biological systems. In particular, advancing age weakens the immune system and makes it slower to react to threats. Overall, horses show similar, but milder, age-related changes in immune function than those observed in humans.

Dental Care

As equine veterinary care advances, some of us are privileged to care for horses well into their sunset years. One important aspect of managing senior horses is caring for their teeth. Attention to oral health is essential to maintain proper nutrition.

Equine Tribute and Memorial Fund

Horses have special places in our lives, and we feel their losses deeply. The Equine Tribute and Memorial Fund provides a unique and thoughtful way to show support for a friend or family member grieving the loss of a special horse. It can also be a distinctive way to pay tribute to an individual equestrian, group,  or program. Contributions can be made in any amount.

Director's Message - Fall 2023

Welcome to the fall issue of the Horse Report, focused on caring for older horses!

When I was a 2nd year veterinary student, I purchased my now 24-years young horse, Kaiden, off the track. For 21 years, he has been my eventing partner and friend, traveling with me from Minnesota to UC Davis, back to Minnesota, and back again to UC Davis as I have navigated my career. 

J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory

The J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is the leader in advancing knowledge of equine musculoskeletal problems. It houses state-of-the-art equipment and fosters a creative environment for basic and clinically applied equine musculoskeletal research. Dr. Susan Stover, a former trainee of Dr. Wheat, has directed faculty work in collaboration with other clinicians and scientists to continue improving our understanding of equine musculoskeletal diseases.