Moon Blindness Please Help
Posted 09 September 2006 - 02:44 PM
Posted 12 September 2006 - 10:07 PM
Posted 13 September 2006 - 01:52 PM
Well, now at least you will know what to watch for should uveitis really rear its ugly head! I pray you never see it, of course
Posted 30 August 2006 - 11:13 PM
Posted 30 August 2006 - 11:40 PM
Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:02 AM
I found that Fessor did best on low doses of anti-inflammatory medications. Initially, I had him on a 500lb dose of Banamine once every other day. After awhile, I tried him on powdered aspirin. Now, he's on the powdered aspirin once a day. It seems to help keep his eyes looking more normal. Otherwise, they get a bit swollen outside and the eyeballs protrude so that he looks bug eyed. If I notice swelling, watery eyes, or a tendency to rub the eyes I either increase the aspirin or switch over to a 1000 lb dose of Banamine for a few days.
Fessor has since had a couple more flare ups, and each time his behavior made me believe he had lost some more of his vision. About four months ago, he became essentially blind. Fess appears to have some sense of light and dark, and some sense of shadows but that is all. Frankly Fessor adjusted to his fading vision sooner that I did, and with much more grace. Not only is he still happy and otherwise healthy, I still ride him. We needed some time to adjust and for safety concerns we quit jumping. But I still ride Fessor on a regular basis and he seems to enjoy getting out together. Right now, he's adjusting to life in a pasture with plenty of other horses (including two who are compeletly blind).
I remember how hard it was to stay calm when Fessor was first diagnosed. How could such a sweet, smart, young horse be going blind? It wasn't fair. Yes, I cried and grieved. And then I started asking for positive blind horse stories. In those stories, I found hope. Two websites I found particularly helpful are http://www.blindhorses.org and http://www.smartgroups.com/groups/blindhorses. The blindhorses website is designed for people who just found out a horse in their life is going blind. It has information about the equine eye, eye diseases, management of newly blind horses, and links to inspirational stories. Both stories are encouraging and worth reading! The smartgroups site is essentially an online support group. The smartgroups site has been a bit slow lately in getting posts and responses up, but people will answer in time.
My understanding is that uveitis is an autoimmune disease. One horse will not give it to another. BUT, one of the triggers is some kinds of Leptospirosis bacteria. It might be worth checking for antibody levels. If the pasture has Leptospirosis around, than if another horse is susceptible to the autoimmune disease that may be an issue.
Best of luck with Poise. At the very least, now that you know she has uveitis you can work to slow the progression of the disease. And to quote the smartgroup's motto, "There is life after blindness."
The link to the blog in my signature is an online journal I am keeping of my journey into blindness with Fessor. It may give you a flavor of my experience over the last few months since Fess has started *acting* blind.
One last thing... The October issue of Paint Horse Journal will have an article about blindness in horses and how it is not the end of life or of riding. I am eagerly awaiting the publication to see how the pictures of Fessor and me turned out. I met the author through this website and one thing led to another.
Keep breathing, and you will both be fine. You are not alone.
[ 08-31-2006, 12:13 AM: Message edited by: TracyA ]
Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:16 AM
You might want to check with your vet and see if there is a veterinary opthamologist in your area.
I have a 23yr old that was misdiagnosed at 17 with cataracts, got 2nd opinion, was sent to vet opth. and he had glaucoma. By this time he had lost sight in right eye and only has a little in left.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:41 AM
Posted 31 August 2006 - 10:04 AM
Please do not give up on your horse out of fear of pain. This kind of pain can be controlled. Blindness is not the end either for your horse. As Tracy said, they adjust so much faster than we do! Our filly has since gone on to be broke to ride. She is also so gentle that she will probably be one of our kids horses in the not so distant future.
Please visit the smart group and learn about all the fantastic horses there and their owners. It will give you hope and knowledge.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 06:56 PM
I could not have predicted how much I would learn in so short a time from Fessor. The journey with him has been so very rewarding...
Posted 31 August 2006 - 07:28 PM
Uveitis flare ups can be controlled. Follow the prescribed course of banamine, atropine and antibiotic salve TO THE LETTER. Keep the horse in where it is dark and/or keep a fly mask on. The atropine dilates the eye, so they are even more light sensitive.
Get the horse on either the daily aspirin or MSM regimen forever. My app was on 25 human aspirin per day (I whizzed 'em in an old electric coffee grinder). I also put in about 10 Berry-Flavored Tums to prevent tummy upset. She loved them...she thought they were candy.
Also, it is believe that allergies can trigger a flare up. So, during the spring and fall, get some Tri-Hist or other antihistamine. Star actually went through spring and fall without a flare up due to this regimen.
Sadly, I was forced to put her down due to a horribly arthritic knee. I miss her like crazy.
Best of luck.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 10:56 PM
I think we are in the same boat. I am amazed at my understanding of horse behavior after having our mare Missy go through her eye sight loss. I like to look on the good side and how much she has taught our entire family. I know you understand with Fessor.
See you on the next moonblindness post!!
Posted 01 September 2006 - 09:09 AM
My gelding developed ERU in both eyes after a bout of EHV1 Myeloencephalitis. (The Neurologic form of the Equine Herpes Virus.) ERU can be triggered by many things, but it is essentially an autoimmune disease as another poster mentioned. Whether it will spread to the other eye is anybody's guess, so be watchful. It does end up in both eyes 20% of the time.
I am sure you will have a good long time with your mare where you will be able to keep the disease in check and keep her pain free. Low dose anti-inflammatories have been enough with my Reno, and at one gram per day, the cost of his pain management is very little. (Although he had to be weaned down to that level after aggressive treatment with Bute, Banamine, Atropine and Azium.)
There are good options available to you at this early stage to make it even more manageable. If your vet is not familiar with them, consult an equine ophthalmologist. Particularly, you should look into the Cyclosporin implant. It is a small implant placed in the conjunctival sac around the eye under sedation and local anaesthetic. I believe it releases its medication for up to five years. There have been good results from it, and at this point in your mare's disease, it may be all she needs for now. (Once the initial flare-up has resolved.)
If the worst happens, it is not a death sentence, or even the end of her career. Reno went completely blind within eight months of onset. (His case was as bad as it gets according to my vet.) Three years later, he is happy, healthy and has a very good quality of life being the pasture buddy for weanlings. He has made such a good mental map of his pasture, that when I call him to the fence, he will still TROT over to me, somehow managing to navigate between the many trees without bumping into any of them.
He still loves to go for a good long trail ride. We are located in a large conservation area, so there is some difficult terrain for him to cope with - hills, rocks, rivers, bridges, dense forest, etc. - and he has no trouble at all. He has become highly attuned to verbal cues, and confidently marches along, even preferring to be in the lead of the other horses. I actually use him to calm green young horses when they are just learning the trails. He doesn't even spook at the many deer who frequently leap across the trails all around us. A fawn actually ran between his legs one day and he didn't even care.
As many of the other posters have mentioned, I have learned so much from this admittedly difficult experience. Although it was heartbreaking, I have been astounded by Reno's resiliency, and his rapid ability to adapt to the darkness. He accepted it without signs of depression or ill-temper, and seems to be happy just to be alive. I never knew the enormous capacity for courage in the equine heart before this happened.
I wish you the best with your mare, and hope you are able to get her ERU under control for a long, long time. Know that there are others out there who have gone through the same pain and anguish you are feeling right now. There is hope, and you and she will cope with whatever comes.
Posted 01 September 2006 - 09:16 AM
(People are going to get confused between the two of us on these ERU posts.)
Posted 01 September 2006 - 10:54 AM
I'm told the proofs of the article look good. I found a tack store nearby that carries the magazine, so if I need to I'll be able to buy more copies. Thankfully, Jessica *is* sending me a complementary copy. I am also likely to send a copy to my parents, the old barn, and Fessor's former owner.
I've found there are quite a few owners of blind or partially blind horses on HC. I just never noticed until I had a "blindie" of my own.
Posted 03 September 2006 - 01:25 AM
Posted 03 September 2006 - 09:21 AM
Posted 03 September 2006 - 07:51 PM
Did the first vet stain Poise's eye for ulcers? If not, better stop any steroid ointments until you can get that done. Steroids will make the situation much worse if she has a corneal ulcer.
I hope they both get better soon!
Posted 04 September 2006 - 09:43 AM
Eventually, we had her on many natural supplements such as grape seed extract that really helped to ease the pain without the gastro upset. It seemed to slow the process of the ERU as well, and as soon as we found out she was going to go blind, we started teaching voice commands. She knows "gate's open", "walk on", "step", "step UP!", "easy", and others. And you know what? That dang mare will stop dead in her tracks if you holler "Whoa!" from clear across the farm! We try VERY hard not to move things around on her, and if we do, we 'show' them to her the first few times she's around them. She's adjusted quite nicely and follows your voice around. By golly, I swear she counts her steps, too, to get around things that are in her way (we have a huge wood pile next to her doorway to her run-in and I've never seen her even come close to it).
Good luck with everything! You and your horse will be in my thoughts!
Posted 04 September 2006 - 07:30 PM
Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:16 PM
I hope all is well with all your horses and thank you again for the support!
Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:21 PM
Please give us an update on Poise when you take her in.
Posted 06 September 2006 - 10:16 AM
How do we do that???
Posted 06 September 2006 - 10:20 AM
Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:06 AM
CountryMom - I'm all for your idea, but wouldn't have the slightest idea how to get it started. I tend to respond to all these ERU posts and look through the health boards all the time. Having CVM available has been a great help too. Feel free to PM me if you have any ideas for a Blind Horses Board. TracyA might be interested too, and I know Wild Rose has a blind horse.
Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:53 AM
I all I can say is SOMEBODY LET US KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!!!!!
Posted 08 September 2006 - 11:50 AM
I'm the Paint Horse Journal writer who wrote the blind horse article for our October issue. I've learned a lot about blind horses in researching this article and interviewing owners, like our own TracyA. She and Fessor have an amazing partnership that, I think, we successfully captured on film to illustrate the article.
The basic message of the article is that blindness is not necessarily the end of a horse's quality of life. Remember, many cope quite well with full or partial blindness, if given enough time and care.
Good luck with your horse and keep a positive outlook.
Posted 08 September 2006 - 07:13 PM
Posted 08 September 2006 - 10:37 PM