Treatment of nonhealing corneal ulcers in 60 horses with diamond burr debridement (2010-2013)

Mary Utter, Tim J. Cutler, Tammy M. Michau, Catherine M. Nunnery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: To review the signalment, clinical characteristics, and outcome of horses with nonhealing corneal ulcers treated with diamond burr debridement (DBD); and to evaluate the role of ulcer duration, size and location, and bandage contact lens (BCL) placement on healing. Animals: From January 2012-April 2013, 60 horses were diagnosed with ulcers classified as nonhealing based on the presence of raised epithelial margins and duration of at least 7 days. Procedure: Retrospective record review. Results: Average age of included horses was 14.68 years, SD 8.17 years. There were three times as many males (45) as females (15), (χ12 = 15, P = 0.001). Forty-eight horses (80%) had nonhealing ulcers uncomplicated by associated corneal disease. In the remaining horses, associated corneal disease included esinophilic keratitis (10%), calcific band keratopathy (5%), endothelial decompensation (1.67%), habronemiasis(1.67%), and lid suture abrasion (1.67%). Average corneal ulcer duration prior to diamond burr debridement (DBD) was 29.0 days (n = 56). Ulcers occurred most commonly in the axial cornea (41%). Fifty-five of 60 horses (92%) healed with DBD. Healing time, defined as time to epithelialization following DBD, averaged 15.5 days, SD 9.32 days, and was not correlated with patient age or ulcer duration, location, or size prior to or following DBD. Healing time was significantly longer for eyes in which a BCL had been placed (n = 28, 19.0 days) than for eyes without a BCL (n = 32, 12.9 days), F(1,58) = 5.543, P = 0.02. DBD was considered a failure for five horses (8%). Conclusions: DBD may be an effective treatment for nonhealing corneal ulcers in horses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bandage contact lens
  • Cornea
  • Debridement
  • Diamond burr
  • Horse
  • Nonhealing ulcer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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