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Sudden Vision Problems. Been to the vet. Looking for ideas/similar experiences. LONG.

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  • Sudden Vision Problems. Been to the vet. Looking for ideas/similar experiences. LONG.

    About 3 weeks ago, my horse stopped dead at a jump at a show. I went flover his head. That is very very unlike him. I've ridden him to some terrible spots (this was not one) and he always tries. He stopped, stared at the fence, and then of course I had fallen off so that was that. Not an unusual jump, just a typical hunter fence at a show venue we've been to many times without issue. When he is a little sore, sometimes he'll run out but I have never, in 5 years, had him STOP like he did.

    I thought maybe he was a little backsore (he does occasionally get backsore) or was ready for his hock injections (they were due). So I had the saddle fitter out, vet to check his back and inject his hocks. He was off for 3-4 days after the injections (per the vet's orders). Then had one lesson where I mainly worked on flatwork. He really seemed like himself. Maybe a little weak from a few days off, but normal. Had a few more hacks, again seemed pretty normal.

    Then I had a lesson and he stopped DEAD again at a jump. Like total dead stop 2 strides out. He has NEVER ever done anything like that. I fell. Got on, came back at it, stopped again dead at the base. I feel, again.

    By this point I was in screaming pain and pretty concerned. I went into the indoor and with my trainer's help we basically BEAT him over a crossrail so as not to end on a stop. [edited to add that I would never actually beat a horse. What I did have to do is growl at the horse and use the crop once or twice behind my leg, which is unusual for me as I am fairly timid and for this horse as he generally needs to urging at all]. This is a horse that LOVES LOVES LOVES to jump and always tries. And he was stopping 3 strides out from a CROSSRAIL.

    I made an appointment to take him to the clinic and was encouraged to keep working him to see if I could better put my finger on WHAT was wrong. He seemed not like himself but I could not figure out WHY. Felt very very sound. My trainer rode him and he was wanting to stop with her. She guessed maybe his front feet were stinging and that's why he didn't want to jump. In my rides he seemed terribly spooky (and he's typically DEAD QUIET). Didn't want to even WALK past jumps in the ring AT HOME that hadn't even moved. Scared, wanting to jump out of his skin. Just not himself. Barn help noticed he didn't want to step out of his stall in the AM and attributed that to sore front feet.

    Wonderful (god-like) farrier hoof tested and jogged and watched me ride. Could not find any foot soreness and didn't really see any lameness.

    Other things that I noticed but didn't add up-- he has been unwilling to load the past few weeks. I attributed that to him not liking my driving, because he used to walk right on. He also didn't want to go into the wash stall. Attributed that to his hatred of baths and it being bath season again.

    Took him to the clinic today... he seems to be having vision problems. He jogged SUPER sound. But when the vet went to lunge him, he was spooking and staring at the ground and not wanting to pass certain spots. You have to understand, this is a PACKER dead quiet been-there horse. So for him to spook-- it's bizarre. He was hesitant to walk into the barn (light outside, dark inside) and kept staring at things on the floor inside. We tried walking him over a broom and he stared and stared at it before he would. The vet (who is an advanced eventer and an amazing rider) got on and the horse was stopping dirty and basic fences and spooking like a maniac for the vet.

    So the conclusion is... all of this behavior is attributable to vision problems. Going from the stall to aisle is a change in lighting, same with walking on the trailer. Jumps he can't see the same as he did before. He's spooked and scared because everything looks different.

    Now here comes the bizarre part. The vet checked his eyes an he had cataracts in both. But super super super MINIMAL. Almost not visible. Not enough that his vision is blocked, at best it's cloudy. Really, the most minimal cataracts you can have. And yet he's acting like he's going very blind. Also, the onset is strange. Cataracts usually come on slow. This is a 3 week progression from normal to acting partially blind.

    I'm looking for ideas, similar stories, wisdom? A shoulder to cry on? I dunno.

    Vet says I can take him to New Bolton and have them check for glaucoma. Cataracts appear to be incurable at his age (13) and may continue to progress. The vet didn't think there was ANY evidence of glaucoma but admitted he's not an eye specialist. Glaucoma is "treatable" but the treatment appears to be surgery and daily medication and I am not sure I'd subject him to that. Especially with something like a 10% "success" rate in adult horses. It doesn't seem to be uevitus or a foreign body. He's acting like BOTH eyes are affected, no weeping, no foreign bodies, no evidence of scratches, etc. I don't know what else it could be.

    Could that minimal amount of cataracts be that upsetting to him. My poor, poor guy. Needless to say, I'm pretty gutted. I've been on plenty of roller coasters with horses when it comes to soundness, but if he's done, I'm done. I don't want to ride if I can't ride him. I'm just... I don't even know the right word.
    Last edited by vxf111; Jun. 10, 2013, 11:13 PM.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

  • #2
    have you ruled out epm?
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I forgot that part. Completely negative to neuro tests. Both the ones I did at home and the ones the vet did. That was one of the first things I asked. And when the vet was riding him, he was doing changes all going really fabulously and I find it hard to believe he'd go like that if he was 3+ weeks into EPM?!
      ~Veronica
      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
      http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

      Comment


      • #4
        Very sorry to read this
        ((Hugs))

        Please book an eye specialist & get that second opinion.

        Comment


        • #5
          I know this might sound strange, but is it possible he's got ulcers? My TB's major symptoms to begin were fixating on something that was previously not scary, and spooking. He is a very sensible OTTB and is not a spooky horse, but he would turn into a major pain - slam on the brakes at stuff like standards in the corner of the arena, scoot forward (especially at the canter), startle and spook and basically be anxious when I was on his back.

          He's truly a very good boy, and apparently this is his way of telling me he's sore, as he would never dream of bucking or rearing or anything dangerous.

          Two days of the blue pop rocks and he was back to his practically bombproof self. When I weaned him off after 30 days, two weeks later he was a mess again. Put him back on the maintenance dose and he was an angel once more. I've just weaned him off again after another 60 days, more slowly, and so far, so good.

          Just wanted to throw the option out there as numerous people have told me spooking is not a symptom of ulcers, but the proof is pretty clear.
          I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.

          Comment


          • #6
            Corpora nigra?

            http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...-corpora-nigra

            http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...and-spookiness
            Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I could absolutely try a short course of omperazole to see if anything changes. I kind of doubt it though, nothing about him seems ulcery. I've had some experience with ulcer horses (in fact recently treated my other horse) and he really doesn't seem at all similar. But it's an idea and why not try?!
              ~Veronica
              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
              http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Never heard of this! Googling!
                ~Veronica
                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Oh wow, cystic corpora nigra seems kind of spot on. My horse seems much more comfortable in the dark. Since having the problem, I can ride him in the indoor without a lot of problems. I don't usually turn the lights on there so it's kind of dusky/shade. When I ride him outside, he's much spookier out in the sun. And today he seemed more at ease with the vet inside the barn than out. Interesting. But what are the odds there could be a corpora nigra cyst and my very good vet didn't see it? I mean, granted he's not an eye specialist but when I google photos of this-- it looks dramatic. Interesting! An it's the first of all the options I've read about that sounds highly treatable!
                  ~Veronica
                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                  http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                    Oh wow, cystic corpora nigra seems kind of spot on. My horse seems much more comfortable in the dark. Since having the problem, I can ride him in the indoor without a lot of problems. I don't usually turn the lights on there so it's kind of dusky/shade. When I ride him outside, he's much spookier out in the sun. And today he seemed more at ease with the vet inside the barn than out. Interesting. But what are the odds there could be a corpora nigra cyst and my very good vet didn't see it? I mean, granted he's not an eye specialist but when I google photos of this-- it looks dramatic. Interesting! An it's the first of all the options I've read about that sounds highly treatable!
                    My horse had corpora nigra cysts last year in both eyes. It was easily treated with laser surgery (which can be done as an outpatient procedure, though we were very cautious/conservative and my horse stayed over the night before and night after the surgery). He still has a couple of little ones in one eye (his were rather large/numerous...it's not very comforting when all the vets in the room are oohing and aahing over your horse's eye cysts) but they don't seem to be affecting his vision and he's doing a great. They said that there's a chance that they'll come back, but so far, so good (knock on wood!). Definitely go to an eye specialist and get it checked out. While my vet did diagnose corpora nigra cysts in one eye, she said the other eye was fine but they were actually worse in the eye that she said was fine.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sorry to hear about your guy.

                      A couple years ago, we took my then 15 year old gelding to the eye specialists at New Bolton and they were absolutely wonderful. They treated my horse, calmed my fears, and my horse is now completely cured.

                      FWIW, Before we went, my vet had consulted w the eye specialist there, sent pictures, etc. New Bolton was not expensive. Right now we are all in the same leaky boat. Finances are strained. But YOU and your horse both deserve a trip to New Bolton.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't understand why age matters with cataract surgery?? Humans, dogs, and horses can have cataract surgery at any age. My mother had it at 90 yoa. And the vet does cataract surgery on old poodles around here.

                        As for glaucoma, well I've never seen a horse with that, just ERU, but my uncle had glaucoma and only had to put eyedrops in his eyes each day.

                        The univ of FL has an excellent dept for eye surgery and treatment. I'm sure the vets at New Bolton are just as good.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Eye issues like cataracts and glaucoma are completely different in horses and people. Glaucoma has a very poor prognosis in horses. Cataracts can be treated but it is not nearly as easy in horses as in humans.

                          vxf-I am dealing with glaucoma and cataracts in my old guy and what yours has does not sound like either. Vets can only do and see so much unless they have a slit lamp. I think your best bet is to get to NBC ASAP and figure out what is going on. Best of luck to you; please let us know what the outcome is!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            I am seeing an eye specialist on Saturday (he is literally TEN MINUTES from my barn and fit us in ASAP and comes extremely highly recommended). Will go to NB after that if warranted.

                            I don't know why but everything I read says treating cataracts in foals versus adult horses is dramatically different. And none of the treatments for Catarats or glaucoma sounded promising for horses
                            ~Veronica
                            "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                            http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Updated other thread with the same...

                              Now I am more confused and no less concerned. Dr. Clinton examined Somerset today. His eyes are clinically normal. He has a bit of clouding but Dr. Clinton doesn't call that cataracts. He says it's a normal progress and typical for Somerset's age. He has no glaucoma. No actual cataracts. He has a retinal ulcer in one eye but it's older and they don't cause vision changes. Somerset's eyes are fine. BUT he didn't want to get on the trailer and he displayed wariness of going from light to dark. And his vision issues seem to me to be getting worse. So he is acting like his vision is bad. Brain tumor? Problem with the ocular nerve?
                              ~Veronica
                              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                              http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I am sorry you did not get any answers. Sometimes that is worse than getting bad news! Did the vet have any ideas on what may be going on or how you should proceed?

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  He thought I should call my main vet and see what he suggested next. In the meantime, I am having blood pulled for EPM and lyme. Why not?
                                  ~Veronica
                                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                  http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by tidy wabbit View Post

                                    As for glaucoma, well I've never seen a horse with that, just ERU, but my uncle had glaucoma and only had to put eyedrops in his eyes each day.
                                    Not that it has anything to do with this case, but ERU frequently results in secondary glaucoma in the horse.
                                    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Sounds very much like congenial stationary night blindness to me. I have a horse with it and he has trouble seeing when going in and out of sunlight/shade. If you've ever had night blindness yourself (which I have) you will understand what he's seeing...basically big black blobs until his eyes have time to adjust.

                                      My guy had several really bad spooks (totally out of character for him) which caused me to have his vision checked.

                                      My guy is doing much better now that we know he has the problem. He wears a fly mask at all times when going out in the sun (the Cashel works particularly well). It's also good if you can give them a minute for their eyes to adjust when going from sun to shade and back.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Mine, who NEVER EVER stops, started stopping when he needed his teeth done once. Couldn't believe that was the cause but it was.

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