The Horse

NOV 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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Page 21 of 75

22 November 2018 The Horse | STACEY OKE, DVM, MSC I t might appear that your horses are grazing in the field without a care in the world when, in reality, all of their senses, particularly their vi- sion, are in "red alert" mode, actively monitoring the environment for poten- tial danger. Their large eyes with hori- zontally fashioned, elliptically shaped pupils help maximize their ability to scan the horizon. "Not only are horses reliant on their vision for safety as a prey species, they also require excellent vision as athletes," says Ann E. Dwyer, DVM, a private practitioner at Genesee Valley Equine Clinic, in Scottsville, New York, and past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). "Thus, declining eyesight in these animals can have devastating consequences for their handler or rider, other horses in the herd, and themselves." As many owners know from personal experi- ence, ocular tissues are extremely sensitive. Infec- tion, trauma, dry eye, and increased intraocular pressure (glaucoma) can range from extremely irritating to downright agonizing for people. An acutely red, painful, and irritated eye in your horse that he continues to rub clearly indicates a problem mandating a veterinary visit. But do you think you would recognize deteriorating eyesight or other nonacute or nonemergency ocular issues in your horse? Researchers on a soon-to-be published study found that recognizing ocular abnormalities is no easy feat. In fact, one might say it's much like not seeing the forest for the trees. Dealing With VISION Deteriorating

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