Ruptured eye = enucleation. Anyone with experience? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 04-21-2013, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Ruptured eye = enucleation. Anyone with experience?

Our horse, Remmy, ruptured his eye yesterday evening and is now at the vet to prepare for surgery to remove it tomorrow morning. Just wondering if anyone has had experience with this and what their experience was like? And if anyone had any suggestions to prepare for when he comes home. Things to watch out for, things to do to help him, etc. I have done a lot of reading from people with experience with one eyed horses and I don't think I've read about a single one who had any type of issues. I know they do very well with only one eye. I know the vet will send us home with his instructions, but just wondering if anyone has any suggestions beyond that?

Thanks :)
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TM Tardy's Chick "Hunter" - 13 yo Paint
Remmy - 18 yo Morgan/QH cross
Gunner 3/31/11, Heidi 7/2009 Miniature Sicilian donkey
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-21-2013, 03:19 PM
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Sending warm thoughts to Remmy, poor baby. I rode a one eyed horse, from what I understand, the recovery is not bad at all, and they adapt. The one thing I remember though was that the horse I rode always had a fly mask on in turnout because they were very careful to protect the other eye. I think they pretty much just let it heal on its own and keep the area clean. When it was healed it didn't look bad at all, she was still a beautiful horse. Sorry for what you are going through, when they hurt, we hurt.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-21-2013, 04:06 PM
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I have a dog that went thru this but no experience with a horse. It healed amazingly quick and pretty much all on it's own. Looked a little rough right at first but otherwise was not a big deal as far as caring for it. Most people never even know he only has one eye and hasnt slowed him down an ounce. ;) Best of luck to Remmy and hugs for you!! Please keep us posted.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-21-2013, 04:37 PM
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Wow, poor baby. How did it happen???

Melinda
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-21-2013, 05:19 PM
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The only thing I can say is that your horse will do far better and recover and adapt far more quickly than you would ever expect!

Horses (and dogs and cats) seem to take it entirely in stride, and as soon as the pain fades, it seems as though they carry on as if nothing has ever happened! I do make sure to always have a hand on a horse when I'm working on their blind side so they know where I am at and won't be startled if I suddenly touch them or 'appear' in the areas their good eye sees, but of all the one eyed horses I've worked with have been fantastic. Usually most people wouldn't even know that the horse had a blind side unless you point it out. Far better to have no eye than a painful one.
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-21-2013, 05:49 PM
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I helped the vet do this surgery on an outfitters horse. She was on older mare, had an accident and had to have the eye removed. The surgery was really interesting to assist in.. Anyway, the eye was removed, the lids stitched shut after the "fake " eye was put in and the mare went home. She was healed up and back on the trails in a couple of weeks.
My daughters first barrel horse was missing her eye. She did not have the fake eye put in, so it was kinda sunken in instead of flat. However, she was one fast mare, never had an issue with the missing eye, either running barrels, poles or on the trails.
They learn pretty fast how to live life with one eye.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-21-2013, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, everyone for your kind thoughts and advice. I expect him to do very well after, although I expect it will take us some time to learn our "new" way of doing things. I feel like this is probably a lot harder on me than it is on him, but it just makes me sick to think about him going through this. Sunnylucy, you are exactly right..when they hurt, we hurt.
We really have no idea how this happened. We found him just after it happened as it was bleeding and none of it had yet dried on his face. We looked all over - all of the branches, everything.. no luck finding what happened. We have snow still, so we were able to track everywhere he had been for the last day. I guess it will likely forever be a mystery. I hope it was just a freak thing and never happens again!
The vet actually encouraged me to come watch the surgery, so I am going to take the day off to go do that :). I'm also taking Tuesday off to be there when he comes home.
I am, of course, worried about surgery tomorrow. The vet very appropriately went through all of the risks involved - a vagal reaction coupled with anesthesia = a heart rate that slows so much, or all together stops, causing death. The medication put in his eye to freeze the nerve may accidentally go into the brain. There could be muscle/nerve damage from him being down for so long... He has reassured me though that these are all rare and he does not expect any of them to happen, but it could.
I am very interested to watch this and see how it is done, but even being a nurse, I feel I may be a little squeamish.. Taking an eye out is just not a natural thing . We really have no choice though. The alternative (euthanasia) is not an acceptable option for me.. He deserves at least a fighting chance and I will not let him suffer.
I will most definitely keep you all updated! I am expecting a call any time now from the office to update me on how he is doing tonight. He has a very sweet girl taking care of him this evening, so I really hope we can all rest easier tonight knowing he is more comfortable!

TM Tardy's Chick "Hunter" - 13 yo Paint
Remmy - 18 yo Morgan/QH cross
Gunner 3/31/11, Heidi 7/2009 Miniature Sicilian donkey

Last edited by RusticWildFire; 04-21-2013 at 08:33 PM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-22-2013, 09:13 PM
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I had my 18 yo gelding's eye removed a couple of months ago. Smoky had been blind in his left eye for several years due to ERU and it had become painful. I hauled him to the vet for the surgery and took him home right after (well, as soon as he quit walking like a drunk, lol). I did watch the surgery (I am a nurse as well)... The thing that disturbed me the most was the general anesthetic. It was uneventful, but Smoky just looked so DEAD. The surgery itself was interesting, recovery without any issues. I never even kept him up, just turned him out with the others...he is used to being pastured 24/7, he would have been a basket case stalled. Good luck!
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-22-2013, 09:25 PM
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I've no firsthand experience. Do know a couple that belong to others and they don't have any problems. Sending jingles for Remmy!

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-22-2013, 09:47 PM
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I rode a one-eyed horse when I was younger and he did just fine on the trails! Jingles for Remmy.

I also wanted to say that I'm very glad that you are in a position to be able to go ahead with the surgery and that you chose to do so. Props to you too!

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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