Caring for the Blind Horse
Most horses adapt well to vision loss but still require special management in a safe environment.
When you rode your aging gelding last week he stumbled a few times, and you assumed his old joints might be getting stiff. Then today as you approached him in his pasture he was momentarily startled when you spoke, even though he appeared to be looking your direction. When you led him into the barn, he nearly ran into the wheelbarrow you’d left near the doorway, even though you gave it a wide berth, and the clues started to fall into place: He’s losing his vision.
There are many causes of blindness in horses, including injuries and diseases. A horse might lose vision in one eye or both. Fortunately, most horses adjust well to vision loss and can be managed safely.
“Often horses with chronic and insidious diseases that slowly debilitate their vision become almost completely blind before you realize they can’t see,” says Richard McMullen, DVM, DrMedVet, CertEO, assistant professor of ophthalmology at North Carolina State University. “It is incredible how well they can adapt
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