Juniper Eye Update

End Is In Sight

The vet was out last week for fall vaccinations and wellness checks for both Leeloo and Juniper. Leeloo was acting oddly again and did not want the vets to touch her anywhere from the base of her neck back and was particularly put out by the stethoscope. This is very unusual behavior for her and was even weirder considering we had just done a really thorough grooming session the previous day and I touched literally all of her and she hadn’t minded.  The one thing her not wanting to be touched episodes have in common is a change from warmer weather to cooler weather so I’m considering that as a factor, but even then very out of character. We will continue to monitor her to see how things go. Leeloo also apparently developed a very minor heart murmur which can apparently come on from out of the blue and can sometimes resolve itself just as quickly and is also apparently not that big of a deal so I’m trying to not panic much about that. 

Now on to the good news. Juniper’s eye is looking much, much better according to the vet and the ophthalmologist she consulted with here is a progression of how Juniper’s eye has been doing over the past two months:

Taken September 14, 2022

Taken September 29, 2022

Taken October 9, 2022

Taken October 30, 2022

I will be honest and say I don’t see much of a difference between the last three photos but the vets were happy and more importantly.

This is the REALLY important part.

We are down to giving both medications just three times a day!!!!!

This will be life changing for me. I was giving medications at 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM. Every time I would have to stop whatever I was doing, possibly change clothes if I wasn’t outside doing outside work, and wash my hands and go give the eye drops. Then wait around five minutes doing nothing in particular and then give the ointment. Going down to three times a day is just so much more reasonable and I am so relieved.

And we only have to give both the drops and the ointment for one more week, which will be done this coming Thursday, and then we just have one more week of just the ointment and then we are done! DONE!


For anyone who may need to give eyedrops to a horse or pony in the future I did make a video of our process because doing something six times a day for six weeks makes you pretty good at it and I was so very intimidated by giving eyedrops in the beginning I thought there might be some other people out there that would find this helpful.

Giving Eyedrops to a Horse or Pony

A few notes before we get to the video:

  • We used positive reinforcement or clicker training to help with the process. I go through the steps quickly in the beginning of the video but the basic idea is you have some sort of vocal cue (that you don’t use for anything else!) that you make when you are happy with your horse or pony’s behavior and then you give them some sort of treat. They learn that the vocal cue means they did something right and a reward is coming. You and your horse or pony (or dog or cat) don’t have to have any previous experience to use this process though there is the possibility of creating some “manners” issues with horses or ponies trying to get to the treats (and when a 600 lb animal or 1200 lb animal is trying to get to your pockets that can cause some problems) which is why there are usually some basic ground rules you teach your horse or pony first. Juniper so far has never had issues but I will go through those ground rules before I try to use clicker training with her for anything else.  There are many great resources out there for teaching how to do clicker training with your horse and this Adele Shaw’s website was one of my favorites and I have really enjoyed Alexandra Kurland’s book
  • Eye ointments get too soft if you have them in a pocket next to your skin (like a pants pocket) or in your hand so you either need to have a coat or a fanny pack to keep them away from your body. I like the fanny pack because (A) keeping the medicines in the outer pocket kept them away from my body heat (B) the inner pocket was great for holding the treats (C) Juniper learned to recognize the fanny pack as medicine and treats time and I think that has helped with the not looking for treats anywhere else on my body.
  • I know that the method of putting may hand under her halter is really, really unsafe. If you decide to try that method (A) I am telling you not to so if you get hurt it is not my fault and (B) make sure you keep your hand and wrist really flat so if your horse or pony does move suddenly (say because another horse comes up and is upset they are not getting treats and the pony you are trying to give medicine to wants to get away from said jealous horse) your hand will slip back out again without getting you dragged along with your horse. But again – unsafe. But it worked for us. 

I just want to say again – unsafe to have my hand under her halter like that. 

Here is a video giving the eye ointment. In the beginning I wasn’t very picky about how I gave the eye ointments but I felt like I got better results when I tried harder to get it on the inside of her eyelid. This is the part where having clean hands is really important because you are actually touching inside their eyelid. 

Only one and a half more weeks!!!!! What am I going to do with all that free time?