Are you new to Anoka Equine?

If you are new to using Anoka Equine as your primary veterinarian, welcome!   If you have been one of our amazing clients for many years, this may be a good chance to see what else we can offer you and your horse. Here is a little information about our clinic and some valuable resources that Anoka Equine offers.

DaveAnoka Equine provides on-farm services for routine preventative maintenance procedures, investigation of health concerns, and 24-hour emergency care. We maintain seven full service mobile units that cover our 35 mile radius around Elk River. Routine procedures in the field include: vaccinations, deworming, maintenance dental care, health certificates and passport examinations, pre-purchase exams, and Coggins testing. Many other health concerns can arise out at the barn and our doctors are prepared to evaluate them as well; examples are: lamenesses, illness, reproductive issues, ophthalmic injuries, and emergency situations (such as colics and lacerations). After an evaluation is completed on your horse, the doctor will administer the appropriate treatments, and if deemed necessary, discuss the option of referring your horse into the clinic for more intensive care and/or diagnostics. We currently possess a portable digital x-ray machine and ultrasound units to help with diagnostics on the farm.  Lastly, procedures commonly done in the field may include: physical exam evaluations, administration of medications, laceration repairs, superficial tumor removals, castrations, wound care, hoof injuries and abscess care, and joint injections. Our in-house laboratory allows our veterinarians to bring blood and other samples back to the clinic for quick results to expedite diagnosis and treatment options.


wellness-programAnoka Equine Veterinary Services offers two programs throughout the year your horse can be a part of. Firstly, our Wellness Program; it is a comprehensive program which combines our recommended routine health care checks for horses in the area at a greatly reduced cost. Enrollment in this program begins at the being of each year and payments are made at each individual vet visit (no upfront cost). For detailed information on the options this program can offer, please visit our website. Secondly, we offer Preventative Care Days from March to May on select dates. These specific dates are released in late February. For detailed information on our Wellness Programs and Preventative Care Days please visit our website; dates for the coming year’s Preventative Care Days are released in February.


088_anoka-equine_2012Anoka Equine Veterinary Services sends out a bi-annual newsletter to our clients via emails. This e-newsletter contains articles  pertaining to case studies and invitations to up-coming events hosted by Anoka Equine. In addition, if you sign up for our newsletter you will also receive equine outbreak information reported in Minnesota. We want to make sure all our clients are kept up-to-date on all information regarding contagious diseases found in the state and how to prevent exposure to their horses. In order to receive all this information, please sign up to receive emails from Anoka Equine as to not miss any of this valuable information in the coming year.

Starting in 2014 Anoka Equine started a weekly blog. Our blog posts range from fun to informational topics. Informational blog posts cover topics like: why we recommend certain services annually, as well as, medical issues you may face at some point during your time as a horse owner.

First Visit to Anoka Equine – How to check in

000_0250When you arrive at Anoka Equine Veterinary Services for the first time, it can be slightly overwhelming. To ease some of this confusion, we will now discuss how to check in for your appointment. When driving up to the clinic stay left of the building and park in front of the silver gate. At this point, we ask you briefly come inside to check-in with your name and the veterinarian you will be seeing. Once the front office confirms your information, they will page for one of our technicians to open the gate and greet you. When the gate opens, please drive past the lameness pad (on your left with orange cones) and park along side the right side of the lameness pad, facing the lower gate at the bottom of the hill. We ask you park this way so later appointments (with varied size trailers) will be able to get around your trailer. In addition, the lower gate is the best exit to use to get back onto 101 from County Road 37. Once parked, a technician will come and greet you, bring you in to the clinic (if there is available room), and take a brief history of your horse to share with the doctor. This brief history is meant to shed some light on the reason you are visiting us and give the veterinarian an idea of what is going on with your horse to prepare them for the direction we may need to take. At the conclusion of your appointment, the technician will be available to assist in loading your horse while the doctor is writing your discharge. After you collect your discharge information from the front office, the lower gate will be opened for you, and you will be on your way.

We hope this information has provided you with a little more information on Anoka Equine.  We hope to see you in the spring.



Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU)

By: Katie Jones, CVT

From time to time owners and veterinarians will occasionally see a horse that has developed Equine Recurring Uveitis; otherwise known as “Moon blindness.” Uveitis can be a painful eye disease of any aged horse. It is the most common inner eye disease and the leading cause of blindness in horses. Uveitis was first discovered in the 1600s with occurrences being linked to the phases of the moon; thus, the name “Moon blindness” came about.

This disease can be caused by several factors; the leading one being a Leptospirosis bacterial infection. Leptospirosis has a spirochete (coiled) shape with flagella along the length of it. This particular shape allows the bacterium to move in a twisting motion, which enables it to move easily in fluid. This bacterium can be found in the environment, specifically in areas of stagnant water or contaminated urine. This bacterium enters the horse either through a break in their skin or the ingestion of infected urine. Uveitis is not directly caused by the exposure to the Leptospirosis bacterium; it is due to the molecular makeup of Leptospirosis being very similar to the structure of the eye. Uveitis is the result of the body’s reaction to the foreign Leptospirosis protein; it attacks both the bacterium as well as the eye due to the similarities.

Besides the development of a Leptospirosis infection, any trauma or inflammation to the ocular barrier (barrier between the blood circulation and the internal eye) can cause the horse to develop uveitis.

Uveitis can affect one or both eyes. Here a few common traits seen in a horse that has fig2_240x180developed an infection: redness, squinting, tearing, and the eye will appear cloudy. As the infection continues to become more of a chronic issue, the horse may develop behavioral issues associated with decreased vision; such as: spooking, bumping into things, and being reluctant to go into dark places.

Horses are not considered to have Equine Recurrent Uveitis until they have had two or more episodes.

fig1_240x180Treatment is focused on preserving vision in the eye and reducing inner eye inflammation due to the body’s immune response. Early examinations of the eye by a veterinarian and treatments are vital to avoid series complications.

If after eye medication treatments the horse is still suffering from recurring episodes, medicated implants can be discussed with a veterinarian. With this option, Cyclosporine implants are surgically placed under the sclera where the eye can constantly absorb the medication. These particular implants will deliver medication for three to four years, and will hopefully prevent future episodes.

Although Equine Recurrent Uveitis can be a serious and devastating disease, with early diagnosis and proper care horses can be fortunate enough to not lose vision in the eye.

Corneal Ulcer

By: Dr. Stephanie Permenter

The horse’s eye is large, beautiful, expressive, and it is also set prominently on the side of their head. Because of it’s anatomic location horses frequently scratch or damage the clear portion of the eye which is the cornea. The cornea has a large number of nerve endings throughout it and even very small injuries or ulcerations can be extremely painful, causing the horse to squint and have an increase in tear production. To compound the problem, the horses’ environment is full of bacteria increasing the risk of contamination and infection.

The horse’s eye is a complex structure with its own microenvironment and protective mechanisms. Every structure in the eye works together to protect the eye and allow the horse to see the world around them. The clear portion of the eye, the cornea, is made up of base layer of cells that provide nutrients to the numerous clear flattened cells make up the bulk of the cornea. Coating the top of the cornea is a tear film which helps keep the cornea moist and protects it from bacteria and small debris.

Once the top layers of the cornea have been damaged, the protective tear film that eyefunctions to remove bacteria and old cells can actually work against healing of the eye. The tear film includes specialized enzymes that help break down old cells and bacteria and as the body tries to remove damaged corneal cells and invading organisms it can actually damage the healthy cells around the injury creating a larger ulcer. If the body is left to deal with the damage on its own, overtime it can cause the cornea to become overly thin and even rupture. For this reason it is very important to treat ulcers quickly and they should be seen as an equine emergency.

The longer the eye is left without treatment, the larger the ulcer is likely to become. This delay can significantly increase the length of treatment and the risk of complications. Larger ulcers lead to an increased amount of scarring in the cornea, which appear as white areas that can alter vision.

It is important to make sure your veterinarian evaluates the eye before treatment begins to ensure that the correct antibiotics are used. Inadvertent treatment with an ointment or medication containing steroids can rapidly degrade the cornea leading to a sight threatening ulcer. Corneal ulcers often require treatment with topical antibiotics 4-6 times a day as well as other medications, both topically and orally, to help reduce inflammation and discomfort within the eye. Rapid identification and treatment can reduce discomfort as well as treatment time and cost, allowing your horse to return to its normal activities.


The Non-Healing Corneal Ulcer

Case Report: “The non-healing corneal ulcer”

Signalment: “Scout” – 20 yr old Arabian with no history of ocular problems prior to presentation.

History: About 7–10 days prior to presentation, the owner noticed Scout’s left eye was squinting, tearing and the lids appeared swollen. The owner initially started applying triple antibiotic, but as the eye did not seem to get better, an appointment was made with the vet.

Clinical Examination, Diagnosis and Treatment: During an ophthalmic examination, it was determined that Scout had a superficial corneal ulcer. He was started on the following treatments: triple antibiotic ophthalmic ointment, atropine ophthalmic ointment and sodium chloride ophthalmic ointment applied multiple times per day. Banamine was also administered for pain control.

Scout’s eye was monitored closely over the next two weeks. During the subsequent rechecks with the veterinarian it was noted that though the cornea continued to attempt to heal, the new epithelial cells were not adhering to the lower layer of the cornea and the ulcer remained open. After two rechecks, Scout was diagnosed with a non-healing superficial corneal ulcer that required more aggressive treatment.

Non-healing corneal ulcer:

Corneal ulcers or abrasions are common in horses and generally heal fairly quickly with appropriate treatment. However in geriatric horses, corneal ulcers tend to heal much more slowly. In some cases the epithelial cells that grow over the ulcer are unable to bind to the lower layer of the cornea. This forms a blister-like covering over the ulcer that usually ends up sloughing off several days later and reopening the ulcer. This type of ulcer is called a “non-healing corneal ulcer” and more aggressive treatment is required.

First the eye must be tested for any evidence of a fungus or bacteria that might be infecting the eye and preventing healing. If an infection is found, appropriate treatment must be administered. The next step is to perform a grid keratectomy. This procedure involves first removing all the loose corneal layers from the eye with a sterile swab. Then the cornea is lightly scratched with a small gauge needle in a grid pattern over the area of the ulcer. This procedure attempts to create grooves in the cornea in which the epithelial cells can follow and better adhere to the underlying layer. Frequently only one procedure is needed to induce healing, but there are some cases that require more then one grid keratecomy before the ulcer will heal.

Summary on Scout’s case:

Scout was treated with a grid keratectomy after it was determined that no bacteria or fungi were present. His non-healing ulcer subsequently healed over the next week and has continued to do well ever since.


Epithelial cells: These are the cells that make up the top layer of the cornea. These cells are the ones lost when an ulcer is formed and need to re-grow and adhere to the lower layers of the cornea to heal the ulcer.

Grid Keratectomy: Surgical incisions made over the area of the cornea that is ulcerated. See Figure 3.

Figure #1- Ulcerated Eye


Figure #1– There is a superficial ulcer (light green area) . There is some corneal edema and vessel grown to the right of the ulcer.

Figure #2- Normal Eye


Figure # 3- Grid Keratectomy


This photo is from Essentials of Veterinary Ophthalmology by Kirk N. Gelatt, page 135