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Keywords:

  • cornea;
  • fungus;
  • horse;
  • keratomycosis;
  • subepithelial

Abstract

Objective  To describe clinical findings in equine subepithelial keratomycosis (SEK).

Design  Retrospective medical records study.

Animals studied  Medical records of horses that had subepithelial keratomycosis (SEK) at the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center from 2007 to 2011 were reviewed.

Procedures  Data collected from the medical records included signalment, clinical descriptions of ocular lesions, diagnostic techniques, and therapeutic outcomes.

Results  Twenty-one horses, consisting of three Quarter horse geldings, two Morgan geldings, one Morgan mare, two Arabian mares, three Arabian geldings, two warm blood mares, two warm blood geldings, two Thoroughbred geldings, one Thoroughbred mare, one Appaloosa mare, one Holsteiner gelding, and one Holsteiner mare with SEK were identified. Multifocal punctate and/or geographic patterns of subepithelial opacification were present in all eyes. Intermittent phases of weak fluorescein and/or rose Bengal dye were found in 16 eyes. Clinical signs of iridocyclitis were absent in all eyes. Cytologic confirmation of fungi was found in ten cases, Candida was cultured from one eye, and Aspergillus cultured in three eyes. Nineteen of 21 eyes with SEK resolved when topical antifungal therapy was initiated. Two of the 19 responding eyes recurred and required additional therapy, and two other eyes progressed to ulcerative keratomycosis.

Conclusions  This is the first clinical report of a subtle form of keratomycosis in the horse. Subepithelial keratomycosis may be a distinct clinical entity or represent a continuum in the described forms of equine keratomycosis.