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Ocular disease in working horses in Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study
  1. C. E. Scantlebury, BSc BVSc PhD MRCVS1,
  2. N. Aklilu, DVM MSc2,
  3. K. Reed3

    VetMed MSc MRCVS

  4. D. C. Knottenbelt, BVM&S DVM&S Dip ECEIM MRCVS1,
  5. F. Gebreab, BSc DVM MSc PhD2 and
  6. G. L. Pinchbeck, BVSc, CertES, PhD, DipECVPH, MRCVS1
  1. 1School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Neston, Wirral CH64 7TE, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, SPANA Society for Protection of Animals Abroad, Addis Ababa University,
    PO Box 34, Debre Zeit, Ethiopia
  3. 3SPANA, 14 John Street, London
    WC1N 2EB, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: claire.scantlebury{at}


Ocular disease is a frequent finding in working horses. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence and types of ocular pathology, and explore risk factors potentially associated with disease within a population of working horses in Ethiopia. In total, 1049 horses were selected from horses attending clinics run by the Society for Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA). Each had an ophthalmic examination conducted under field conditions using a pen-torch. All owners completed a short questionnaire. The prevalence of ocular abnormalities was 23.5 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval (CI) 18.0 per cent to 30.1 per cent) and the percentage of horses with an abnormality in at least one eye was 43 per cent (95 per cent CI 28.7 per cent to 58.4 per cent), although this varied between towns. Mild eye pathology and end-stage disease with irreversible pathology were most common. There were significantly more eye abnormalities in the right eye compared with the left, and older horses were more likely to have ocular pathology. Only 55.1 per cent of owners had noticed there was an ocular abnormality present, and only 2.2 per cent had received any previous treatment for eye disease. Only 1.9 per cent presented to the clinic because of an eye problem. There appears to be either a lack of owner awareness, or a low perception of the importance of eye disease among owners.

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