Runny Eye

My horse has a red runny eye. Can I use sterile 0.9% normal saline,or what do u suggest?

It sounds like your horse may have conjunctivitis (inflammation of the tissue that lines the eyelid and eye socket), which is a common occurrence in the summer due to dust, allergies, and flies. Sterile saline is very benign and there is no harm in flushing the eye with this, it will help to rinse out any foreign material that could be causing the problem. There are medicated drops available from your veterinarian that contain lubricants and medication that are even more effective for treating conjunctivitis, however, an inflamed and watering eye can be a sign of more serious issues such as uveitis (moon blindness) or a corneal ulcer, and in some cases a steroid eye drop can make the condition far worse. Your horse may also have a blocked tear duct that requires flushing with a special catheter so the eye can drain normally again, otherwise you could have persistent tearing and irritation. If this eye problem persists for more than a day in spite of saline rinses, you should have your vet examine the horse to determine if there is a more serious underlying problem and prescribe the correct treatments to alleviate the situation.

Melissa McKee DVM