The Modern Equine Vet
May 2024
Vol 14 Issue 5 2024
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Ophthalmology

Novel Drug, SOCS1-KIR Effectively Treats Equine Recurrent Uveitis

By Landon Gray

The novel drug, SOCS1-KIR, may be just as effective as topical diclofenac for the treatment of equine recurrent uveitis, according to a study presented at the 69th AAEP Convention, held in San Diego.

Researchers sought to determine the efficacy and clinical safety of topical SOCS1-KIR among horses with recurrent uveitis. In the study, 16 horses (13 geldings and 4 mares) presenting with recurrent uveitis to the University of Pennsylvania from 2019 to 2022 were randomly assigned to treatment with the novel drug or 0.1% diclofenac ointment twice daily for 1 month.

Recurrent uveitis is reported in approximately 25% of horses, and standard medical care and/or treatment are often not effective in controlling the disease—creating a need for novel therapies, according to the researchers. It is also the most common cause of blindness in horses at around 47%, noted study author Nicole M. Scherrer, DVM, an assistant professor of clinical large animal ophthalmology at the Penn Vet, in Philadelphia.

“The clinical relevance for us as equine practitioners is that equine recurrent uveitis is a disease that we have so many different treatment options for, and the reason we generally have this many treatment options is because none of them work completely,” Dr. Scherrer said. “And so, one of my areas of interest is exploring different treatment options for this disease in particular, but human medicine is also very interested in this disease, because it’s a model for autoimmune disease in general.”

Most of the horses were Appaloosa (n=4). Horses received 3 ophthalmic examinations at 2-week intervals; an ocular inflammatory score was given at each exam. The total inflammatory score was based on a combination of individual scores from ocular discharge, ocular hyperemia, chemosis, corneal edema, hyphema and aqueous flare.

The researchers found there was no statistical difference at any time between horses receiving either SOCS1-KIR or topical diclofenac. They also reported no difference between the groups in ocular complications. A low-dose gentamicin injection was offered to horses with uncontrolled inflammation at the final visit. The researchers reported there was also no difference between the 2 groups in the number of horses that received injections (n=11).

They concluded SOCS1-KIR may be a potential treatment option for other autoimmune diseases as well.

“Things to consider in the future: What dosage of this medicine is appropriate? We basically just extrapolated from safety studies and rats so there’s a lot that can be altered,” Dr. Scherrer said. “Can we increase the dosage and have an even better anti-inflammatory effect? Possibly. And for long-term use? Because a lot of these autoimmune diseases are forever diseases.” MeV