Decoding the discharge from your horse’s eyes

Last Updated on February 23, 2022 by Allison Price

To determine if your horse is at risk, take a closer look into the “gunk” in his eyes.

Take a moment to look at the source of “gunk” in your horse’s eyes if your grooming routine involves wiping it out.

Decoding the Discharge From Your Horse's Eyes

While some discharges are considered normal, others may indicate a problem. You can tell the difference by looking at the discharge’s consistency and color.If your horse is squinting, call your veterinarian.

Clear, watery secretions may be excess tears. This is the fluid that the lacrimal glands produce to lubricate the eye. Normaly, excess fluid drains through the tear ducts into the nostrils. However, if the ducts get blocked, tears can pool in the lower eyelid and overflow to the face. A veterinarian can clear out any duct obstructions.

Most likely, gray or black grime is a result of a dusty environment. These irritants are often trapped in fluids that clog the eyes. This causes the gunk to build up at the inner corner. Work to improve the air quality in your horse’s environment–watering the arena footing, for instance–because his respiratory system is likely to be even more adversely affected by dust than are his eyes.

A thick yellow-tinged, thickened discharge is usually caused by an infectious process. If the eye is healthy and clear, you can wipe the goo off with a cloth and wait for it to dry. Your horse may have conjunctivitis, which is caused by insects, dust, or other particles. If the discharge clears up, it’s likely that your horse has a mild case. Call your veterinarian if the discharge persists.

You should also call your veterinarian if your horse is squinting or sensitive to light, or if the eye seems irritated.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!