A retrospective analysis of the risk factors for surgical site infections and long-term follow-up after transpalpebral enucleation in horses

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    BACKGROUND: Implants are often used to improve the cosmetic appearance of horses after enucleation of the eye. When surgical site infection (SSI) occurs, the implant will almost always be lost. The aim of this study is to collect data on the risk factors for SSIs and report long-term follow-up (cosmetic results and return to work) after transpalpebral enucleations. In this retrospective study, records of horses undergoing transpalpebral enucleation were reviewed (2007-2014) and telephone interviews were used to obtain long term follow-up. The potential risk factors for SSIs (indication for enucleation, use of an implant, standing procedures, duration of surgery, opening of the conjunctival sac and prolonged use of antimicrobials) were analysed for their association with the outcome measure 'SSI' vs 'no SSI' by multivariable binary logistic regression testing. Indications for enucleation were grouped as follows: Group 1 (clean) included equine recurrent uveitis, too small or too large globes, and intraocular tumours, Group 2 (non-clean) included corneal perforation/rupture and infected ulcers and Group 3 (tumour) included extraocular tumours.

    RESULTS: One hundred and seven cases of enucleation were evaluated. An implant was used in 49 horses. The overall number of SSIs was 8 (7.5%). Multivariable logistic regression testing showed implants (OR 7.5, P = 0.04) and standing procedures (OR 12.1; P = 0.03) were significantly associated with the percentage of SSIs and increased the risk of SSI. The eyes of horses in Groups 2 and 3 trended towards a larger risk for developing SSIs (OR 4.9; P = 0.09 and OR 5.9; P = 0.1, respectively). Prolonged use of antimicrobials, long surgery times and the opening of the conjunctival sac during dissection did not show significant associations with SSI risk.

    CONCLUSIONS: The risk of SSI after enucleation is low in clean eyes and when no implant is used. Placing an implant or performing a standing enucleation significantly increases the risk of SSIs. Although implants can be used for eyes that fall into Groups 2 and 3, 17% of the horses in these two groups developed an SSI leading to loss of the implant.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBMC Veterinary Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017


    • Horse
    • Transpalpebral
    • Enucleation
    • Risk factors
    • Surgical site infection


    Dive into the research topics of 'A retrospective analysis of the risk factors for surgical site infections and long-term follow-up after transpalpebral enucleation in horses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this