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Equine Services

Contact Information

Phone: 919.513.6630 or 919.513.6659 (Ophthalmology)

Equine Medicine
The equine medicine service receives elective cases routinely between 10AM -12PM weekdays and at other times by special arrangement. Please call between 8-5 weekdays for an estimate and appointment.

Equine Surgery
The equine orthopedic surgery service receives elective cases routinely from 9AM on Mondays and Wednesdays and other weekdays as required. The equine soft tissue surgery service receives elective cases from 9AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays and other weekdays as required. The surgery services perform elective surgeries on the days they are not receiving. Please call between 8-5 weekdays for an estimate and appointment.

Emergency Services
Equine services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for treatment of emergency problems. To refer a horse on an emergency basis, call 919.513.6630 during the day or 919.513.6500 after hours.

General Information

Equine and Farm Animal Veterinary Center

Equine Ophthalmology

The Equine Ophthalmology Service was established at the NC State Veterinary Hospital on October 15, 2001. Dr. Brian Gilger, Professor of Ophthalmology, acts as the Chief of Service. This full-time clinical service is intended to continue to develop new and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic procedures available to our referring veterinarians.

The Equine Ophthalmology Program at NC State University is the only program in the world devoted to the research and treatment of equine ocular disease. Our clinical service accepts patients from the entire east coast. Our clinical and research laboratory has ongoing research projects, with several presentations expected each year at national meetings on ocular or equine health.

The Ophthalmology service at the VH is currently an established center and considered an international leader in the field of equine ophthalmology, particularly in regard to diagnosis and treatment of conditions including:

Current clinical research protocols are being conducted to investigate the efficacy of cyclosporin implants in the treatment of recurrent uveitis.

Recent News

What is a veterinary ophthalmologist?

A veterinary ophthalmologist is a board-certified specialist in the treatment of eye disorders in animals. To become eligible for board certification, a veterinarian must devote at least three additional years to specialized training in an approved residency program. The veterinarian's knowledge and skill in their specialty have been recognized and evaluated by a specialty organization sanctioned by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). For ophthalmologists, that organization is the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO).

Why might I need an ophthalmologist?

Veterinary ophthalmologists provide diagnosis and treatment for such eye problems as dry eye, cataracts, glaucoma, inflammation of the eye, tumors, eyelid abnormalities and retinal diseases.

Types of Ocular Disease

Recurrent Uveitis

Equine recurrent uveitis (also known as moon blindness, iridocyclitis, and periodic ophthalmia) is the most common cause of blindness in this species. Fortunately, recent advances in the treatment of horses with recurrent uveitis have led to the successful management of this disease in some horses. Uveitis refers to inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye. Equine recurrent uveitis is the name used when periodic recurrence of eye inflammation becomes evident. Recurrent uveitis may affect one or both eyes and occurs to varying degrees among horses. Once a horse is affected, the disease will recur at varying intervals, each time causing additional ocular damage leading to permanent changes to the internal structures of the eye.


Cataracts can cause blindness in all age of horses and is caused by the lens of the eye turning white. Cataract removal is very successful in most horses.

equine cataract

Corneal Ulcers

These develop when the outer layer (corneal epithelium) of the cornea has been scratched. Although the eye is usually painful, the ulcer generally heals in 2-4 days. However, in some cases, the ulcer may become infected with bacteria or fungus. These severe infections need intensive treatment or even surgery to preserve vision and save the eye. More...

corneal ulcer


This is the most common cause of chronic cloudiness to the eye, especially when there is no signs of discomfort. A special instrument is needed to measure the increased intraocular pressure typical of this disease. Laser surgery is very beneficial in management of glaucoma. More...

equine glaucoma

Eyelid Tumors

Ocular squamous cell carcinoma and sarcoid are difficult to treat because of the proximity to the eye. Recent advances in medical and surgical treatment of these diseases are currently being used at NCSU.

eyelid tumor


The Equine Ophthalmology Program focuses its research in two areas: determining the cause of equine recurrent uveitis, and investigating novel methods to treat horses and deilver medications to the eye over a long period of time.

Current Areas of Clinical Investigation

Current Areas of Basic Science Research

Potential Practical Outcomes

For more information about graduate programs and how to apply, please click here.