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  • Author or Editor: Mary A. Seguin x
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Objective—To characterize healing of corneal epithelial defects in horses and to evaluate the ability of epidermal growth factor (EGF) to modulate rate of corneal epithelial healing in horses.

Sample Population—20 eyes in 12 adult horses.

Procedure—Corneal epithelial wounds were created by mechanically debriding the limbus. Corneal healing was recorded for 3 treatment groups: 50 µg of EGF/ml (n = 5 eyes), 5 µg of EGF/ml (7), and PBS solution (8). Corneal healing was recorded once daily after instillation of fluorescein stain by use of photography and calculating the area of the wound, using imaging software.

Results—After corneal debridement, re-epithelialization was rapid and progressed in a linear fashion for the first 5 to 7 days after surgery in all groups. After that period, rates of healing decreased. A profound increase in the degree of inflammation, neovascularization, melanosis, and scarring was observed in eyes treated with the high dose of EGF (50 µg/ml), but there was not a statistical difference in mean healing time or in mean decrease in radius during the linear phase between the control and either EGF treatment groups. However, for all 8 horses in which both eyes were debrided, the first eye healed significantly faster than the second eye, regardless of treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Beneficial effects of topical administration of a high dose of EGF for acceleration of healing of corneal defects in eyes of horses are outweighed by the intensity of the associated inflammatory response. (Am J Vet Res 2000; 61:1150–1155)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research