Older horse starting to get Cataracts??? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-06-2017, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Older horse starting to get Cataracts???

So, I have a mare who is about 23-25 years old ( not too sure on the age, she is a rescue) and the vet came out for her coggins and other shots when she said her eyes seemed kind of cloudy. I had noticed that also, but I wasn't sure if it was something to worry about. She came to the conclusion that Ginger is starting to get cataracts. Should I be really worried? Is there something I can do other than the surgery (once it gets really bad)?

As a side note, once I heard this it reeeally hit me how old she was getting and now I just start bawling when people try to confront me about it


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post #2 of 9 Old 04-06-2017, 10:43 PM
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I wouldn't freak out about it honestly. Wait and see how she adjusts if her sight keeps deteriorating. Give her a chance.

I would not worry with surgery, especially as old as she is. A friend of mine owns an older mare that has cataracts and is about 95% blind, and she's perfectly fine.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-06-2017, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, thank you! This eases me a bit
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-08-2017, 02:33 PM
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Ok, thank you! This eases me a bit
You're welcome, just please don't take that to mean that she absolutely, no doubt will adjust if it gets bad. She might not. There's a good chance she would, just be aware that there is a chance she won't and then you have to make a judgement call.

That said I do know several horses including that mare who are blind/partially blind and all live perfectly happy lives. I also know of others such as Endo and Apollo (both appaloosas, you can look at them on facebook), so like I said, don't panic, just be mindful that if there's a change it will take adjustment for you both. :)
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Don't judge someone's horse or skill because they don't compete or work with a trainer.

Sometimes they're the most in tune with each other.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-08-2017, 07:31 PM
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It's actually fairly common in older horses (and dogs) and I was always told that surgery was more risky than the actual blindness. Of course, now they have all kinds of vet specialists if you choose to go that route.

You can act as her eyes when you handle her and she will learn to trust you. You will get in the habit of thinking ahead for her sake and it will just come naturally. There is no reason why she can't live a long and very normal life with a few adjustments. Loss of sight will come on slowly so she will have time to adapt. Horses are amazingly resilient and seem to handle this better than most humans.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-10-2017, 10:55 AM
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Agree that they tend to adjust pretty well to eyesight issues, but I completely understand getting a bit emotional about your senior's health!


For your sake, get in the habit of keeping a hand on her and talking when you're working near/with her, just so she knows where you are at all times. I know several fully blind horses who fare perfectly fine, the handlers just stick to a routine for comfort - the horses know their stalls, know the exact walk to their pasture, know that pasture's fence lines, and the fence lines are pipe & rail or board fences (not wire) so they have safe, easily felt borders.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-10-2017, 03:47 PM
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Agree that they tend to adjust pretty well to eyesight issues, but I completely understand getting a bit emotional about your senior's health!


For your sake, get in the habit of keeping a hand on her and talking when you're working near/with her, just so she knows where you are at all times. I know several fully blind horses who fare perfectly fine, the handlers just stick to a routine for comfort - the horses know their stalls, know the exact walk to their pasture, know that pasture's fence lines, and the fence lines are pipe & rail or board fences (not wire) so they have safe, easily felt borders.
I agree with all of this ^^^

All of the blind horses I know are exactly like this, and yeah, getting in the habit of keeping contact with them helps. Also teach her some command to step up, since she wouldn't be able to see uneven ground, a step into the trailer, whatever. Voice commands work wonders on blind horses. They will do anything a sighted horse can, you've just gotta work with them.

I know some who DO live in wire fencing though and are perfectly fine. They learn the borders just as well as with any other type of fence.

Don't judge someone's horse or skill because they don't compete or work with a trainer.

Sometimes they're the most in tune with each other.
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-10-2017, 06:12 PM
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I know some who DO live in wire fencing though and are perfectly fine. They learn the borders just as well as with any other type of fence.
I wonder if it would be easier for a blind horse to have an electric fence, being that you can feel and often hear electricity before you get to it, and I imagine horses are better at this than we are!
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-10-2017, 07:44 PM
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I wonder if it would be easier for a blind horse to have an electric fence, being that you can feel and often hear electricity before you get to it, and I imagine horses are better at this than we are!
This particular fence does not have electricity, but there is one hot wire on the farm that they can definitely tell is there. I've never seen one of them hit it. They'll run right up to the fence and turn, but never run into it, electric or not.
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Don't judge someone's horse or skill because they don't compete or work with a trainer.

Sometimes they're the most in tune with each other.
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