About 4 years ago my gelding had a traumatic head injury to his left side requiring extensive reconstructive surgery. While cosmetically he looks great, I have noticed he is now showing signs of decreased vision on that side. Spooking at things on the left, refusing to move forward into grooming stalls or even his own stall, and in general being nervous. He was always a VERY calm gelding “bombproof” if you will. In the year directly after his surgery he was fine and still jumped a course and carried on as nothing had happened. He has had the last 3 years off enjoying retirement at my parents large farm. He was turned out all day with a herd and came in for meals and inclement weather, he was handled minimally save for annual vax and the farrier every couple months, so I’ve got no real timeframe for when this lack of vision started 🙁 . I finally just had the opportunity to board him close by again a month ago. And just in the past 2-3 weeks I’ve noticed a change in his behavior. It seems he now sees only shadows or movement as he is startled unless you make plenty of noise when approaching from his bad side. Will he eventually adjust to this limited vision or would he be more comfortable and less nervous without any vision at all? (possible blinder fixed to halter or even eye removal if it proves painful) It seems as though this partial bit of vision is causing him a lot of anxiety. Does anyone have experience with this kind of situation? I’ll have the vet out to see if there is anything glaringly obvious or painful but its not like I can have him read a chart so if its limited I may never know how badly…how I wish he could talk!
There is a horse somewhere in Europe who broke his legs (at least two of them) in the breeding shed, recovered from that and then lost his vision. He still performs dressage with his person, both in hand and under saddle. Animals tend to do better with medical issues of this type than humans do. Just make sure that he knows if someone is on his left side, until he adjusts.
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