Eye Injuries on the Homestead

First Aid Treatment for Your Farm Animal’s Eyes

eye injuriesWe had two eye injuries with our farm animals within the same week recently. And, this was not the first time we have had to deal with something wrong with an eye, due to injury or infection. No matter how much you try to keep an area free from potentially dangerous spots, injuries can still occur. Fortunately, we have a farm first aid box ready to start treatment on any given day. We keep this well stocked for the minor accident, or injuries. The first eye problem of the week was noticed in one of our duck hens. Her eye was clouded over and she was holding it almost closed. We had treated a similar eye issue in Mrs. Duck, our Khaki Campbell hen a few years back. Most experts think it is from an irritation or speck of dirt that scratches the eye or gets caught in the lower lid and festers. It looks painful though and definitely needs attention. It is a little easier to catch a duck when they can’t see you coming from one side, so I quickly grabbed her up and brought her to the examination area. My husband held her while I took a good look at the eye. It is very photo sensitive so I recommend not making the duck hold it open for long.

eye injuries

(if you are having a hard time holding the duck yourself and looking at the eye, try placing the duck in a towel and wrap gently but securely to keep the wings and legs from flailing around. Use gentle non threatening motions and move slowly so the duck is not startled)

First, wash out the eye and surrounding area with a saline solution. I use a contact lens solution. Vetrycin makes an eye ointment which I highly recommend for infections of any sort. It will leave a glob on the eye but the duck doesn’t seem to mind. Then, if you have it, or can get some from a vet, apply a drop of Terramycin antibiotic gel to the eye. Whenever we have had an eye problem, this is what the vet has prescribed. I keep whatever is left and it has come to the rescue many times.

The procedure will probably have to be repeated for several days to a couple of weeks. You will see the eye gradually getting better. IF you don’t see improvement or the duck’s condition starts to worsen, then of course, call in a veterinarian.

The next injury we had to treat was Gary Goat’s eye.

eye injuries

When we first noticed it, his eye looked like he was punched. It was swollen shut and very sensitive. It looked painful! Gary Goat and Buddy have a horned stall mate named Sammy. Sammy is very gentle and I did not think it would be a problem to put her into the stall and run with de-horned Gary Goat and Buddy. However, Gary Goat’s eye looked like he might have received the wrong end of Sammy’s horns, right in the eye! Of course, since we didn’t see this happen, it is just a guess. Anyway, we had another eye injury to tend to and this one was going to be a little more difficult to treat. After looking at it, though, the eye seemed intact and unharmed and it was just the surrounding tissue that needed attention.

We convinced Gary Goat to stand for us, but every time we started to examine the eye, he freaked out and ran away. I needed to get the antiseptic on the eye area. This was a lot more difficult to take care of than the duck eye. Finally we managed to get the eye area cleaned and the Vetericyn  eye ointment applied. Phew! A few days of this and I would need a wheelchair! Gary Goat is normally very people friendly, but he does not like being examined.

Eye Injuries will be noticed during daily health assessments 

Treating these eye injuries, I was again struck by how important it is to know your animal’s normal look and behavior. Each animal should be checked regularly for unusual appearance, activity level, etc. An animal with an injured eye will typically hold their head at an unusual angle. They are trying to shield the sensitive eye from light. I am happy to report that both eye injuries have fully healed. We did not have to call in the Veterinarian because we were able to treat both injuries with items we normally stock in the farm first aid box. What suggestions do you have for treating eye injuries in your farm animals. Leave a comment below!

(The above post describes how we deal with a certain medical treatment on our farm. We take care of many of our animals first aid needs ourselves. IF you do not feel comfortable with caring for the first aid needs in your flocks or herds, I recommend that you call a Vet. I am not recommending doing this type of thing for yourself, I am just describing how we take care of certain problems on our farm. I am not a veterinarian and do not have a license to dispense medical advice.)


eye injuries

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