Colorado State University (CSU) has shown that windy weather may contribute to the development of equine ulcerative keratomycosis (EUK), a serious eye infection in horses.
EUK typically occurs after a horse’s eye sustains an injury and an ulcer forms on the cornea, the layer of tissue that covers the front of the eyeball. The condition is painful and will cause tearing and possible vision loss. In severe cases, the eye must be surgically removed.
CSU created a study to determine whether ambient temperatures, humidity, wind speed, or other environmental factors influenced EUK development. The research team reviewed cases of 61 horses seen at the CSU hospital for corneal ulcerations over 15 years. Ten of the horses were definitively diagnosed with EUK.
The scientists found that the highest prevalence of EUK cases took place in the spring (50 percent) and fall (40 percent). There was only one EUK case found in the summer and none in the winter.
The only significant environmental factor correlating with EUK was wind speed. The team suggested that this is because airborne dust particles or vegetative fungal fragments may be blown into the eye, which then cause micro-traumas to the eyeball itself.
Read more at EQUUS magazine.