In February of this year, I began to wonder about my gelding's eyesight in his right eye. Spoke with a vet about it, he did a quick/general eye exam and saw nothing. A month went by, and after my farrier commented on a change in his behavior possibly eye related, I called the vet practice and asked for another vet to come out and do a more thorough eye exam. This vet saw interferences in his right eye which she commented may be the start of cataracts. She recommended NC State for a more comprehensive eye exam...which we haven't done yet.
Since then we have explored the possibility of EPM (he fits some of the criteria, vision problems one of them). I have had him treated with accupuncture and accupressure, and in the two past exams his eye has cleared....BUT!!! I still think there are vision issues.
So my question is can anyone suggest possible avenues for me to research, vision problems that may not necessarily be seen with the typical equipment a smaller vet would have. I am thinking it may be more neurological but am having a difficult time finding equine vision problems that wouldn't be seen by looking into the eye.
I hope this request makes sense!!!
Thought I should mention that I will be taking him to the vet school eventually, hopefully soon...we just need to work on trailering a bit first (he wants to get on the trailer and be a good boy, but he thinks the low roof is going to cave in on him...I think this may be eye related the way he tilts his head to stare up).
And some symptoms and background...just to get you all who are knowledgable in what I should look for going!
I had his teeth floated in February/March, he doesn't tilt his head when chewing...and he is a very healthy weight...but he does tilt when going into a trailer, sometimes when staring at sky, going from light to dark areas or vice versa. I did have the vet do a lameness exam on him in February. He dropped his one hip more than the other, and he was slightly sensitive at those accupressure points but only on the one side. She suggested working on building his topline to help after she worked on realignment. I don't know if that could fit under the weak hind or not. He still is not 100% even in his hip movement, but it has improved greatly. We continued accupressure/puncture.
He has been this way since February when I bought him. The only change is that he was mellow and great on the trails when I first got him, got a little spooky about trails/being tied up/things above his head (sort of like Chicken Little---the sky is falling!) a couple months later...improved for a couple of months, but now is getting worse with spookiness. I have him in training right now thinking more work and professional help would help him. The trainer agrees that he is much more nervous especially on his one side. She did his undersaddle work with his previous owner and says that there were a few times he would do silly stuff that she couldn't figure out at the time...such as freaking out when tied up outside an arena when a horse being worked cantered by slowly.
As for what has stayed the same or gotten worse....Head tilt stays the same, circling stays the same (only when he is bored, but when he has a buddy in the field with him and grass to eat, or is not nervous, his circling is very limited). Stumbling and tripping stays the same.
He is pasture boarded, only comes in during hurricanes (or when needed for vet). When he is in a stall (which has been a total of MAYBE five times since January) he circles non-stop. I have never tried to stop his circling and see if he will go the opposite way. He won't circle when I am around...unless he is nervous and not on a leadline.
When he stumbles, he trips over his front feet. He also has always dragged his back toes a lot though, I figured it was due to laziness, which he can be.
Did I give enough detail? Haha!
Do I have the only horse on the forum with a weird head tilt???
What you describe does very much sound like a vision problem. (EPM would be way way way down on a ruleout list---vision issues are not at all common with it---stumbling, tripping, staggering, etc are what you would see.) Is it the horse in your avatar photo? Do you see any visual changes in the eye when he seems to have more trouble seeing? Squinting, tearing, etc?
He does stumble over his front feet often and in general is a wobbly horse, which is why we initially thought possibly EPM. But I could understand how loss of vision could cause similar symptoms. Yes, he is the horse in my avatar. I haven't seen any squinting. His eyes have teared up several times this summer, but very minimally. I have not seen any visual changes within either eye, and I do look at his eyes often.
My barn manager talked with someone who owns a horse with ERU and nightblindness and her horse's symptoms and mannerisms were uncannily similar to mine....HOWEVER!!! I found that so many symptoms are typical of so many different diseases/illnesses. I have yet to find the determining factor!
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