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Equine Health Resource

Blindness, Generally

Blindness is not truly a diagnosis in itself. It is a clinical sign. There are so many causes of blindness that for the purposes of this database, I have gathered them here. Whether this condition is transient or permanent depends on the underlying cause and efficacy of treatment.

There are dozens of causes of blindness in the horse. The most common of these is Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU), a disease especially common in the Appaloosa breed. Traumatic injury either to the eye itself, the optic nerve or the visual pathway within the brain can all can cause blindness, either temporary or permanent.

Permanent blindness is tolerated better by horses than might be expected. Certainly, horses that are blind in one eye have performed a variety of disciplines at high levels with little handicap.

Horses that are fully blind can, in many cases, still lead a good life with a few changes in management and expectation.

Prognosis & Relevant Factors

Prognosis is guarded to good with change in management and expectations.

If a horse has lost partial vision, it can be very difficult to quantify this loss. Often, determining what a horse can and cannot accomplish after suffering full or partial vision loss is a process of trial and error.

Helpful Outside ResourcesCredible Equine Health Information on the Internet

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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