Q. We have a 19-year-old Appaloosa gelding that is going blind fast from a genetic disease. He is not coping with it well; he stumbles around, runs into things, leaves the herd, then gets confused and panics. Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.    Amanda

A. Horses which become blind quickly often are very panicky. Horses which lose their sight slowly have time to adjust to their blindness and are therefore less concerned about it.

Blind horses generally do quite well in their home environment. Many can be ridden by experienced riders. I think this Appaloosa just needs a lot of time and patience to adjust to his poor vision. Put him in a stall, then gradually increase the size of his environment.

The question I have is if he is painful in his eyes and not just blind. If he has equine recurrent uveitis (which Appaloosas get), then he could be quite painful and thus not able to relax.

About the Author

Dennis E. Brooks, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVO

Dennis E. Brooks, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVO, is a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Florida. He has lectured extensively, nationally and internationally, in comparative ophthalmology and glaucoma, and has more than 140 refereed publications. He is a recognized authority on canine glaucoma, and infectious keratitis, corneal transplantation, and glaucoma of horses.

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