Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What is Moon Blindness?

Yesterday I went to go to the eye doctor to get my contact lens prescription re-evaluated. I saw on the eye clinic website that the doctor I was going to see, had listed as a hobby, that she had horses! So I couldn’t wait to talk to her. After the preliminary tests by the technicians, she came in the examining room and I, I’m sorry to say, immediately jumped in asking her about her horses and wanting to talk about horses! Normally I am reserved and a bit quiet, but not today! I turned into a chatty cathy!

When I mentioned that my horse is an Appaloosa, she mentioned that hers is part Appaloosa. I asked her about moon blindness since this is something that can afflict Appaloosas. I don’t know what the symptoms are to watch for. And Buckshot has had a few eye issues lately that have caused me to wonder about moon blindness. She suggested that four of the symptoms are 1. Sensitivity to light (the horse will not want to open his eye all the way), 2. The eye will be swollen or inflamed, 3. The eye will tear (or water tears will drip down from the eye) and 4. The cornea will show some cloudiness. She explained that this is able to be seen if you use a penlight. So I resolved to get a pen light, and watch for these symptoms. If I am concerned, I’ll call our vet.

We also talked about using sunscreen on the white parts of the Appaloosa. I have been using two products I got from SmartPak. One is Vetrolin spray- it has a sunscreen in it. I spray this on the big parts of his body that are white. I also use a product called Quic Shade, which is a thick gel-like sunscreen I apply to his blaze. I hope they provide him some protection.

The eye doctor does eventing and fox hunting with her horses and I asked her about these sports. Boy, they seem to be the pinnacle of horse athleticism! For a horse to do well in jumping, and dressage, and cross country work- wow! What a combination! I have a lot of admiration for the riders and horses who do eventing! And what a chatterbox I was! I want to apologize to her that I monopolized the conversation too much. Next time I resolve to just ask her about her horses and listen more! LOL.

Then, later...

Oh, gosh. Last night I read some great information about moon blindness (uveitis) on and from Stacey Kimmel-Smith’s great blog, Beyond the Bit. And was I ever sad after reading it. I don’t know if I am imagining it but Buckshot seems to have some of the symptoms. Oh, dear. It made me so sad. I have to tell myself that in the past, whenever I have looked up symptoms and health issues on the Internet, I automatically think I have half of the symptoms! I don’t know if I am doing the same thing with Buckshot, though. I also bought a pen light today.

Tomorrow after work I am going out to the barn to see him. I always want to see him, but now I am just a little afraid that I’ll see more symptoms and think that maybe he is developing this disease. Oh my. Have you had to deal with this kind of thing? Any suggestions for not getting too paranoid and worried?

If you would like to see the articles Stacey compiled on Behind the Bit, go to Behind the Bit and look for her topic label "blindness."


Story said...

I had a horse lose his sight to moonblindness, he was a Quarter Horse, though. Fortunate(?) for us, going blind never seemed to really bother him. I've read so many sad stories about horses panicking at the loss of sight, but not him. He continued to get full turnout. We continued to ride him. He amazed everybody. He got to be very well known in our area and was visited often by people who were trying to learn about dealing with blindness in horses. He gave a lot of people hope!

The only advice I can really give is to treat it quickly and aggressively if the symptoms ever appear. I had to leave the administration of drugs/eyedrops to the barn manager where we were at and unfortunately she turned out to be not so reliable. It cost my horse his sight.

Jan said...

Thank you for your comments, insights and suggestions. I appreciate them! I am in full follow-up alert mode about this. Thanks again.