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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my horse (Appy Gelding) in the passed month has developed uveitis in his left eye and the vet has determined that he is totally blind in it. We have started him on equinox as maintenance an we're going to watch to make sure it's not causing any pain. Well in this passed week I've noticed he seems to be getting lost from my other horses. This has lead to him slightly panicking and bumping into the fences. He ran into our water troff yesterday hard enough that it cracked in half. Upon looking him over for injuries I noticed that he now has the glare in his right eye as well and am thinking his vision is about totally gone in it. My question is do I try to give him time to adjust to the loss of sight or is it time to put him down before he injures himself further. He is 22 now and has had an amazing life, I'm just want him to continue to be happy and comfortable. Thanks for reading this and I appreciate everyones opinions.
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You know your horse best, so if you are asking yourself that question.. that is telling to me.

Some horses seem to adapt well to being blind. Running into water tanks hard enough to break them doesn't fall into "adapting well" IMO. Is there a smaller place you can keep him, preferably with a quiet buddy wearing a bell, while you see if he will improve with some time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You know your horse best, so if you are asking yourself that question.. that is telling to me.

Some horses seem to adapt well to being blind. Running into water tanks hard enough to break them doesn't fall into "adapting well" IMO. Is there a smaller place you can keep him, preferably with a quiet buddy wearing a bell, while you see if he will improve with some time?
Normally for the winter I move them up and do a smaller dry lot with round bales. That's probably going to ended up starting next week. But we just got like six inches of rain so everything's underwater and I've just been waiting for it to dry out. And he's got a best friend named Oz who tends to stick next to him but I can definitely try the Bell idea! Thank you and it's all just happened so fast I don't want to rush into anything but I want him to be comfortable as well.
 

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Do you have the option to remove the eye? Partial blindness is often a lot scarier than total vision loss in an eye.

I know an appy around the age of yours that had her eye removed two years ago. After the surgery, she was so much happier and pain free. There was no adjustment period after that eye was removed, she wanted back in the pasture and continued living her life.
 

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I lost a really good leopard appaloosa to lepto years ago. He was only 12, and totally blind in both eyes.
In cattle, it's a serious reproductive disease and contagious. In horses, they lose their sight, and not contagious. Over 40 head on the place, and he was the only one that got it.
He could still see out his left eye when I turned him out for the winter. He had a favorite mare that would hang around with him, and would come get him when he'd lost the herd. But when I got him in come spring, he was totally blind.
It broke my heart to put him down. He was only 12.
 

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Do you have the option to remove the eye? Partial blindness is often a lot scarier than total vision loss in an eye.

I know an appy around the age of yours that had her eye removed two years ago. After the surgery, she was so much happier and pain free. There was no adjustment period after that eye was removed, she wanted back in the pasture and continued living her life.
It was an option when it was only in his left eye but now that it's in both I'm not sure. And at this point now they're not red or runny or have really any irritation that's why we started him just on the Equinox first. Sadly my is very overbooked so I haven't gotten a return phone call or message that's why I looked here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I lost a really good leopard appaloosa to lepto years ago. He was only 12, and totally blind in both eyes.
In cattle, it's a serious reproductive disease and contagious. In horses, they lose their sight, and not contagious. Over 40 head on the place, and he was the only one that got it.
He could still see out his left eye when I turned him out for the winter. He had a favorite mare that would hang around with him, and would come get him when he'd lost the herd. But when I got him in come spring, he was totally blind.
It broke my heart to put him down. He was only 12.
I'm sorry to hear that and that really does suck. I know over this past month having him go from one eye to none has been so hard. As I noticed him catching the fence line I thought maybe it would just take a little time to adjust but after seeing the glare in both eyes and realizing that his vision is gone in both I think I do know what the outcome has to be. Thank you for sharing about your boy!
 

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I think the bell idea is perfect - even different ones on different horses. Maybe scents as well, like rub mint on one. The herd would have to be very forgiving of him now that he can't really see, I assume they are all settled with one another and no funny business? I agree that full blindness is better than perceived shadows. Personally I would have both eyes removed if its that bad and work on it, but that's how I am. It especially matters if you can change your setup and make sure he has a buddy, at minimum. I would also work on vocal commands, like stop, careful, here, backup etc. Maybe a gradual introduction to an area, walking in-hand, then loose with a buddy. I'd also be very pro-active in practicing ground work and hand walks to keep his mind engaged (just thinking if this happened to my mare). I think with a lot of effort and time it can be done. He would need help gaining confidence and also happiness. Whether or not A) you can do it and B) hes a good candidate personality wise... only you know. There is absolutely nothing wrong with ensuring he at least has a good end than in some tragic accident while turned out. Could he remain happy with limited turnout in a smaller area with a buddy, stabled at night etc? What about adjustments to his stable so its larger to accommodate more time in? Defo some horses that love their stalls/runs but usually because they don't know different. Of course ideally they live out in a herd all the time but we can acknowledge there are horses in this routine that can also thrive.
 

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It was an option when it was only in his left eye but now that it's in both I'm not sure. And at this point now they're not red or runny or have really any irritation that's why we started him just on the Equinox first. Sadly my is very overbooked so I haven't gotten a return phone call or message that's why I looked here.
I'd encourage you too look up Endo the Blind - he's on FB. He's a totally blind, eyeless Appy that does competitive trail courses... He even jumps! If you have the time and are willing to commit to retraining him to a blind world, I don't see why you couldn't give him a chance. At only 22, he could have 10+ years left of his life.

But also, it wouldn't be selfish to make the decision to give him a peaceful end either. No one would judge you for that, especially not me.
 

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Its ultimately up to you but one of my neighbors used to trail ride a blind horse. It worked off voice commands and his seat. Once he re-learns his pasture boundaries he may be fine. A pasture buddy could also be helpful but I would keep him out of a herd, he will be a prime target for harrassment
 

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My main riding gelding is completely blind in his right eye, one of my other geldings is blind in his left eye and I have another gelding who has about 20% total vision overall.

Blind horses can still be a great ride with patience and time. Have to remember to use different cues as they can’t react with sight of course.
When I brought the mostly blind gelding home, I led him to the stalls (where I feed) and to the water trough, then turned him out on ten acres with the other two geldings. My main gelding acts as his “seeing eye” horse and everyone adapted beautifully.


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Blind horses can do well but that is the exception rather than the rule. I have a very calm mare who I imagine would do fine being blind. I had a rescue with uveitis and if it had been in both eyes, I would have euthanized. Fortunately for him, it was just the one eye and he is happy as a companion pony. He was too flighty to do well blind.

Due to uveitis, I will not even consider buying an appaloosa. Life is difficult enough without burdening yourself with unnecessary heartbreak. I love Appys - but my horse with uveitis had several expensive vet bills and it was a battle to preserve his vision. Best thing you can do is remove the eye so they are no longer painful.

Either have the eyes removed so the horse is pain free, or euthanize. Don't just turn him out in the pasture for months or years with no treatment because then you are forcing him to suffer with chronic pain in his eyes.
 

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I had a gaited pony with ERU. As long as she could see a little she did ok. Once the lights totally went out she became a nervous wreck. Constantly calling out and running into things. Her head was scraped up bad and I had her in a safe as could be space (round pen attached to a lean-to that she was used to living in when she was sighted). After a week I couldn't stand seeing her in misery anymore and called the vet out to have her euthanized. He was already on standby pending how she adjusted so thankfully he came the next day after I called.

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