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Itraconazole / DMSO for Horses

By Barbara Forney, VMD

Last reviewed: 7/14/2022

Commonly prescribed for: Ulcerative Keratomycosis

Species: Horses

Therapeutic Class: Triazole Antifungal Agent

General Drug Information and Indications

Itraconazole/DMSO eye drops and ophthalmic ointment are used in the treatment of ulcerative keratomycosis of horses, which means an ulcer of the cornea of the eye caused by a fungal infection. Topical itraconazole is able to kill the infective fungus at the concentrations that are reached on the surface of the eye. It is particularly effective against Aspergillus, one of the more common fungal pathogens. The ophthalmic preparation of itraconazole contains 1% itraconazole, 30% DMSO, and artificial tears. This formulation is necessary because itraconazole does not dissolve well in water but dissolves well in DMSO.

How to Give this Medication

Give this medication to your pet exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. If you miss giving your pet a dose of itraconazole, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not double dose to catch up.

Therapy for fungal ulcers needs to be quite aggressive. Many veterinarians recommend that the eye be treated every 2 hours. In some instances, your veterinarian may place a catheter either up through the nose or surgically place one through the eyelid in order to make treatment easier for both you and your horse.

Administering eye medications to animals can be a struggle and may require patience and practice. Try not to touch the tube or container tip to your horse’s eye or eyelid. It is also important to not contaminate the medication by touching the tip with your fingers or hand. Your veterinarian can help you develop a technique that will be effective and minimally stressful for both you and your horse.

If you are giving your horse more than one eye medication, try to allow at least 5 minutes between medications.

Wash your hands after giving your horse this medication.

Side Effects

Be sure to discuss any side-effects with your veterinarian immediately.

The pain and inflammation in the eye may increase after the first day of therapy, as the fungal death can cause increased inflammation.


Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. Itraconazole/DMSO is a prescription drug and should be used according to your veterinarian’s directions. It should only be given to the animal for which it was prescribed. Do not give this medication to a person.

Avoid contact with the medication when administering it to your animal. Wash immediately should you get some of the medication on your hands, skin or clothing.

DMSO may irritate the skin in some horses.

Corticosteroids are not generally used in the eyes of horses with fungal ulcers of the cornea. Never give another eyedrop or medication on your own as it may worsen the condition. Always discuss side effects and treatment options with your veterinarian.

Drug Interactions

Be sure to review with your veterinarian any medications or supplements your horse may be receiving.


If you suspect your horse or another animal was overdosed accidentally or has eaten this medication inadvertently, contact your veterinarian or the A.S.P.C.A.’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. Always bring the prescription container with you when you take your pet for treatment.

If you or someone else has accidentally ingested this medication call the National Capital Poison Center at 800.222.1222.

Different strengths or dosage forms of itraconazole/DMSO may have different storage requirements. Read the labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the prescription you receive.
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