Blind/Deaf pony quality of life

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Blind/Deaf pony quality of life

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    09-23-2013, 01:09 PM
Blind/Deaf pony quality of life

Hi all!
It's the question many of us have had to ask ourselves. I hate it. What kind of quality of life does my horse/pony have? Not sure it can even be answered, but any input is helpful.

This pony came to us about 5 years ago and was a very wonderful pony for our then 6yr old daughter. The past year and a half, she has had deteriorating eyesight and hearing. She is about 30? Could be a little older. She cannot see- AT ALL. We have to lead her in and out of her stall by her head, because with just a lead rope, she will still run in to walls and whatever else is in her way. She cannot hear until you are right up by her- or high pitched sounds. Otherwise, her health is, ok. She has some thyroid issues, but that's to be expected at her age. She isn't "cranky" and will graze in the middle of the paddock. Lately, we will see her pace in a circle, trying to sense the fence maybe? We can tell when she feels "off" or is in any kind of distress, because she will pace. We will then take her into the barn, where she feels safe, I'm only assuming. We were planning to just let her live out her life until the health became an issue. We are wondering, though, if the blindness/deafness is bothersome to her? She seems fine, until we see her pace or call out. She only calls out when she is not acting "normal". She is not in the same paddock as the other two horses because the other paddock has only an electric rope fence. She needs to be in a structured fence. (Learned that lesson the hard way). The smaller paddock she's in won't support all three of them. She doesn't seem to mind, because she's never been one to mind separation. Even when we have put our Walker in with her, she seems to care less. We just don't want her to be living a miserable life while we think she's ok.
Like I said, I'm not expecting black and white answers necessarily, but input is appreciated.
Thank You!
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    09-23-2013, 01:18 PM
How is she maintaining weight wise?
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    09-23-2013, 01:28 PM
She's at a good weight. No issues with her appetite or weight
    09-23-2013, 01:30 PM
It really depends on the horse's demeanor. Does it look distressed? Upset? Antsy? Depressed? Or is he acting more or less like a pony? It's a hard decision. Keep in mind that being blind AND deaf means he only has smell to go on. Can the pony really be happy with that?

I would be torn too. Blind OR deaf is one thing... but losing the two major senses and leaving them in the dark? I don't know that it's fair to the pony.. but it might work out. I would be hard pressed to continue its life being so old, blind and deaf unless it really looked to be okay with the situation and not majorly adversely affected by it.
    09-23-2013, 01:30 PM
My first pony was in her late 20s/early 30s and she ended up going blind and halfway deaf (she couldnt hear very well at all). We had calves in with her and she'd just follow them around. She lived 3 more years after she went blind.
    09-23-2013, 01:55 PM
Super Moderator
I agreed with the other posters. I'm not sure what I would do either. I'm glad she's keeping weight weight well though, her appetite might be something I would use to gauge her quality of life.
My old girl [29 in Feb.] is mostly blind and I'm not sure about her hearing - sometimes she seems like she can hear great...other times not so much [maybe it's selective...haha].

Anyway, an idea might be adopting an older, hornless, goat to be her buddy - maybe a doe that needs to be retired from milking/having babies. I have an old lady goat [she's ten, so, with any luck, she has 6-10 more years left] that sticks close to my old girl and, even though they don't really interact much, my mare is much happier with "her" goat than she is alone [I have a pretty big bell on the goat so it makes quite a bit of noise]. The goat is old enough that she really doesn't have an interest in wandering away or exploring - she just follows my mare around and generally stays within 15 feet of her, always returning when my mare nickers for her.
Anyway, it might be something to consider. :)
    09-23-2013, 02:19 PM
Green Broke
How would you feel if you lost your sight and hearing, and had no guide? You had to wander around with no real way to communicate with friends or family, or do anything you used to love except eat?

I don't know about you, but that seems like a heck of a nightmare to me. She can't socialize with friends, run through the field, pack a rider around. She is stuck in a world of silence and darkness.

I would not hesitate to put her down.
    09-23-2013, 02:24 PM
Obviously you are attached to this pony and the pony is probably attached to you, as well. Bear in mind that after 30yo horses teeth no longer grow. Floating will destroy what is left and she probably has lost some teeth already. Expect her to start having trouble keeping weight on bc of this. This is why Equine Senior foods have instructions for making the food into a mash so that the horse can get calories into them, since mastication in older horses is difficult and can become impossible.
Other than that, if she is happy and you don't mind the extra care, just watch her for signs of debilitation. I put my easy keeper QH, "Ro Go Bar" (1982-2009, RIP) bc he had 4 old age problems, and THEN started to lose weight even with floating and senior feed and a stall. I was not going to watch my long time babysitter friend starve to death. You'll know when to make the decision if the pony doesn't make it for you.
I've been there, with 5 horses. **hugs**
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    09-23-2013, 03:59 PM
Is there anyway you could get a very docile mini/pony to hang out with her? Then put bells on the mini?

I'd really be torn on what to do. She sounds like overall she does well, and the fact that she maintains her weight really well helps.
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    09-23-2013, 04:03 PM
Originally Posted by CLaPorte432    
Is there anyway you could get a very docile mini/pony to hang out with her? Then put bells on the mini?

I'd really be torn on what to do. She sounds like overall she does well, and the fact that she maintains her weight really well helps.
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The pony is deaf unless you're directly next to her ears. Bells wouldn't do anything.
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aging, blindness

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