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melinda27858 06-05-2008 10:01 PM

Anyone have experience with horses and cataracts?
My farrier has known my horse since he was six months. He was giving him a trim this week and didn't have 100% cooperation from Fella on his right hind.....nothing bad, just apparently notable enough for him to mention to me that something is not right with that eye. He told me he has seen him get progressively more cautious with him working on that side of my horse. I couldn't think of anything that REALLY stood out to me that would indicate a change in sight on the right side, but then again, I have only owned him since February....he has worked with him for a long time. So, I took his advice and asked the vet to do a full eye exam on him when she came out to the barn to do an ultrasound on another horse.
She dilated his eyes to get a good look after realizing that she was having difficulty seeing the retina with her basic equipment. She feels like there is some cloudiness appearing on his lens in his right eye and possibly slightly in the left....maybe the beginnings of cataracts, although she wouldn't give a definite. She has recommended me to NC State College of Veterinary Medicine from which I understand is the leader in Equine Opthalmology. I will be contacting them next week after she refers me to set up an exam with one of their vets.
But in the meantime, I am wondering if anyone has experience with horses and cataracts or cataract surgery. At this point I don't know what to expect if indeed this is what he has.

appylover31803 06-06-2008 10:20 AM

I believe my fiance's gelding has a cataract. I believe in his left eye. Could be his right.

Gem can get a little nervous with things (horses, people, sounds) coming up from behind in his bad eye direction. My fiance has bonded with him so he's a lot less flighty.
He also looking into cataract surgery and he said it wasn't worth it to get it done since there is a 50% chance (give or take) for the surgery to be successful

I hope you find out what's wrong with you guy.

americancowgurl31391 06-06-2008 10:43 AM

A friend of mine had a horse with cataracts. As far as i know it just makes them spookier and more aware on that particular side. And unfortunately, to my knowledge, theres nothing you can do to correct it.

melinda27858 06-06-2008 11:55 AM

Cowgurl, if they are the beginnings of cataracts, the vet said they may want to remove his lens, thus removing the cataracts.

Appy, how old is Gem? I am wondering how quickly cataracts can progress. And I didn't realize that there was only a 50% chance of success with surgery. Do you know if that surgery involved removal of the lens?

appylover31803 06-06-2008 12:03 PM

yes it did. That link in my other response has a whole bunch of information on it.

Gem is 9, but we found out when he was 8 that he had it. Not sure how long he's had it as we've only had him a year.

melinda27858 06-06-2008 06:06 PM

Sorry about that Appy, I didn't read the link until after I posted a reply. I was told it could cost a couple thousand per eye to have the lens removed....that's a lot of dough for a 50% chance!

I am so sick about having to make some kind of decision after I take him to the vet school at NC State for the official eye exam. I would hate for him to go blind so young, but the chances for the surgery are crappy! I have had several people tell me to sell him before it gets worse....but I don't want him to end up with someone who won't take into consideration his condition...not to mention we are bonding. I even had one person suggest putting him down of that was the case.

I am assuming you made the decision to keep Gem despite the cataracts. What thoughts did you and your fiance have?

appylover31803 06-06-2008 07:48 PM

Yep, we're keeping him no matter what, cataract, arthritis, it doesn't matter.

my fiance didn't want to put him through the surgery, only to have it not work or for something drastic to happen.

Gem's been doing really well. he finds a lot of comfort in my fiance. (they're so adorable together). He only spooked once with my fiance but that was only a few months after we had him. But with the bond that they had, Tom was able to stop him (he bolted) and calm in down extremely quickly.

He does get a little iffy standing in cross ties if he hears something though, but we just opt to not put him in cross ties and to fuss with him in his stall.

He also likes to smell/touch things with his nose too. Not sure if that's just his personality or so he knows what each object is.

I do believe there is a member on here that has and rides a blind horse.

melinda27858 06-06-2008 09:36 PM

My mindset is usually keep it no matter what too (after taking on dogs with issues), but my concern lies with my experience. I have only been riding seriously since October and he is my first horse (first got him in January). I can see it to be extremely challenging working and training a horse with limited eye sight because of those spooks.
I went out this afternoon to spend time with him, hose him down to cool off and give him some lovin'....poor things eyes are STILL dilated form his exam on Thursday. It brought tears to my eyes thinking about how someone else might not care for him like I would. It is encouraging knowing that others deal with similar issues.
**** appies are too sweet....stubborn but sweet!

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