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Couldn't save his eye:( ?? about recovery please help

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  • Couldn't save his eye:( ?? about recovery please help

    The Dr.'s and staff at Tufts, myself and my family as well as the barn manager at my wonderful barn could do no more to save Bruin's eye from a horrible insidious fungal infection. After an emergency trip up to Tufts yesterday, the decision was made. Bruin had endured 10 weeks of medical treatment, a corneal transplant and a conjunctival flap and at his recheck on November 2nd it looked like we had all done it. His eye looked amazing and it looked like it was going to be healed and his vision saved. But last week, on Thursday, it looked like he had rubbed his eye and irritated it. I kept watch and sent pictures to his Dr. and we upped his meds to see if we could reduce the inflammation. On Sunday, he opened his eye more but it just didn't look right. So the fungus has won again I am so sad for all involved. What a rollercoaster..... He is coming home today and I pray this nightmare is behind us and he will be happy and comfortable.
    Any words of encouragement will be appreciated
    Last edited by Jacqui; Nov. 17, 2011, 06:54 PM.

  • #2
    It sounds as though you tried everything. I hope his recovery goes smoothly.
    My Equestrian Art Photography page


    • #3
      "Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"


      • #4
        I've known several one-eyed horses and they all did just fine. One was even a fairly competitive jumper!

        I had a one-eyed rabbit, myself. We spent weeks fighting the infection in his eye, and when it started causing him a significant amount of pain, I said "enough" and we took it out. He was a happier rabbit from day one (if a little groggy from the pain meds!) and was bouncing around like normal within a week. Animals don't really miss their sight the way a human would...they just adjust.


        • #5
          I know two horses right now that only have one eye (one eye each...not one eye between them), and they're both doing great! One is a pack-a-long sweetheart for her owner. The other is helping his owner go up the levels in eventing. They adjust very well!

          Jingles and hugs to you and Bruin...


          • #6
            You have my sympathy.

            I went through a similiar experience last year with my youngest mare, only the fungus was so agressive that it ate through the conjunctival flap in a day

            The good news is that as soon as the eye was out, my mare went right back to being her happy cheerful self, and the loss doesn't seem to bother her in the least.

            *Jingles* for a quick and uneventful recovery and adjustment!
            "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
            -Edward Hoagland


            • #7
              I'm so sorry. Eye stuff is the absolute worst. I hope your horse will be comfortable now. You certainly went all out to try to save his eye.

              Jingles to both of you.


              • #8
                Good luck with Bruin's recovery!! You have gone through the hard part, believe me. I went through... well I can't remember but it was at least 2-3 months... of using antibiotics on my mare's eye infection before we tried an antifungal. Still a bit miffed at how trial-and-error the whole thing was but never looked further into it -- so I don't know if it would have/should have been possible to ID it as a fungus earlier. Water under the bridge (unless it happens to someone else!).

                I had the appointment for enucleation made, when finally, FINALLY the meds took hold and started clearing up the infection. I could tell immediately -- my poor mare had been so uncomfortable... She has a white perma-cloud across that eye but seems to have a small amount of vision around the edges. Had she been a riding horse I probably would have gone for the enucleation anyway since a little bit of vision can be a dangerous thing! But she is a broodmare and pet, and does just fine. I am sure Bruin will too!!
                Last edited by JoZ; Nov. 16, 2011, 06:48 PM.
                Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


                • #9
                  Rats! I was hoping that after all you two went thru, that his eye would be saved. You did all that you could do to save it.

                  My first horse was blind in one eye when we bought him. He was a great horse for a child. Only times we had any issues were (1) once when my foot hit the barrel while we were barrel racing, and (2) once when my father's llewellyn setter woke up suddenly and ran out of the garage barking while we were cantering by. Sideways jump and down i went both times. Otherwise, my horse barrel raced, jumped, went on long trail rides everyday with cars and dogs and people around, and was in a drill team.

                  I hope the eye socket heals up well and all the infection is taken care of with the meds. Fungal infections are awful. I had a cat who survived the systemic fungal infection cryptococcus, but she lost an eye. She was in the UGA experimental testing of ketaconozole way back then.

                  Once your horse is pain free, he will adapt to the use of one eye.


                  • #10
                    I'm so sorry. My daughter played polo on a horse blind in one eye. He couldn't be used for a sanctioned game, but he was awesome.


                    • #11
                      One-eyed and blind horses

                      Originally posted by Jacqui View Post
                      He is coming home today and I pray this nightmare is behind us and he will be happy and comfortable.
                      Any words of encouragement will be appreciated
                      You've done everything right and sometimes sh*t happens. My old mare lost the vision in her eye a year ago, even after great efforts by several good vets at a very fine clinic. She was very unhappy as long as she was in pain; once the pain was gone she - so to speak - never looked back. She's still in charge of the "herd" and she still enjoys cantering around the field, grazing on her own, etc. She's made it clear that as far as she's concerned, no pain = no problem.

                      I do have to remind others - AND myself, sometimes - to talk to her when I'm on her left (blind) side, keep telling her where I am and what I'm doing (cleaning stall, grooming, etc.) and when I'm leading her I need to remember to allow plenty of room because she'll sometimes get much too close to a door or post on her left side.

                      Apart from that, though, she's a very happy girl and nobody watching her cruise around the field and tell the others where they can go would ever guess that her left eye is useless.

                      As for career, my mare is a mostly-retired broodmare, but many years ago one of my dressage instructors rode - and showed, very successfully - a sweet Appy that was completely blind. She took him to shows away from home, walked him across parking lots... he learned cues for "step up, there's a curb" and "step down, there's a curb," and again, nobody would EVER have guessed that he was blind.

                      I hope that your horse will have a swift recovery and a happy, comfortable life.
                      Home page: www.jessicajahiel.com
                      Horse-Sense newsletter: www.horse-sense.org


                      • #12
                        Sending big jingles, sweetheart. Echoing Pasde2's wishes for a swift recovery and a happy, comfortable life. Keep us posted, won't you?


                        • #13
                          Aww, prayers and jingles for a good recovery. Eye stuff is the worst. Here's hoping he will heal and do just fine.
                          Quality Hunter Ponies


                          • #14
                            Eyes are so fragile, you did your best, you have to know that...I had field trial pony years ago that developed cancer in an eye and it had to be removed. He recovered well and adjusted well..Field trials are bustling with activity, gun shots, horses all over, dogs everywhere, game jumping out in front of you etc..I was initially concerned, but he made a believer out of me..He was fine..Jingles for a smooth recovery from the surgery and forward from there.


                            • #15
                              I had an older Appaloosa that had an eye removed due to complications of uveitis. He was fine with it--we was in his thirties at the time so he was already retired, but I do think he would have been fine to ride if he hadn't been. In fact, he was less spooky AFTER the eye was removed because he was then blind (before he could only see shadows). About three years later we had to remove the other eye because of an indolent ulcer and fungal infection--we treated him at home every hour on the hour for six weeks (luckily he was good about leaving his catheter in!) and still couldn't save the eye.

                              He lived happliy in his own paddock with a double stall attached until the ripe old age of 36. He knew where everything was--the doors, the fences, his buckets, everything. He could even tell when what time of day it was--he would always scream for his meals when he could hear the tractor coming but he could care less when it came to clean his stall! They can and do adjust to life without sight. Best of luck to you and Bruin.
                              Originally posted by EquineImagined
                              My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


                              • Original Poster

                                Thank you everyone!
                                The most nerve racking part of the day was the trailer ride home! Not because Bruin was bad or upset, he was happily munching hay from his haynet, but the hospital sent him home, with the shipper, without his mask!!! He had surgery on Monday afternoon and was trailering naked today LOL!
                                He has not trailered without a mask for 6 years. He had surgery on the other eye 6 years ago.
                                The shipper was so nervous he went slow and kept watching Bruin in the video screen. Not once did he even come close to banging his eye He got on and off the trailer like nothing was different, walk into the barn and into his stall, dropped into the new shavings, ROLLED on his left side and proceed to drink and eat his hay and then take a nap. Unbelievable, what a smart boy...


                                • #17
                                  Jingles for a quick recovery!

                                  Glad that he seems to be settling in well at home


                                  • #18
                                    OH no!!! Those damn fungal infections are a nightmare. I know how you feel, was in your shoes just a few months ago.

                                    I have to say it is amazing how quickly Lizzy adjusted to the loss of the eye. Pardon the pun but she barely batted an eyelash at losing the eye.

                                    I on the other hand....... I what iffed myself to death and blamed myself for not doing enough even though I knew I had pretty much done all I could. It's taken a few months but I'm finally starting to let things go and adjust and accept that my girl lost her eye.
                                    "You are under arrest for operating your mouth under the influence of
                                    ignorance!" Officer Beck


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I went to the barn today and took off his mask and his surgery site was more swollen and warm. I called the surgeon and she said that this was ok but to watch for any excessive swelling and discharge. Is it normal for it to swell a little more? He had the surgery late Monday afternoon so we are 3 days out.
                                      He was happy and eating and didn't seem sore. He let me hold a cold cloth on it lightly. I have read so much about rejection of the implant I am scaring myself


                                      • #20
                                        I don't know about the new swelling, but I just want to send jingles and hugs. It's a very stressful thing to go through, but I know a lot of one eyed horses that are just fine.