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 27 of 75

28 November 2018 The Horse | impaired horses learn what is expected of them," says Dwyer. "This type of training also strengthens the bond between horse and owner." Take-Home Message "While ocular issues and visual impair- ment can occur at any life stage," says Malalana-Martinez, "our study clearly shows that ocular pathology is common in horses 15 years or older, and that in- creased aging is associated with increased occurrence of eye abnormalities and cata- racts. With the aging equine population continuing to grow as horses are increas- ingly treated as pets rather than beasts of burden, this means ocular issues will also increasingly need to be addressed. "Knowledge of diseases affecting older horses is essential to provide adequate preventive or therapeutic measures to maximize their athletic careers and quality of life," he adds. It's important that veterinarians per- form a systematic ocular exam annually, particularly in aging horses. Speak with your veterinarian about any concerns you have at your horse's next routine physical. Dwyer stresses the importance of recognizing that vision loss affects each horse's welfare differently and, so, your veterinarian's recommended treatment will vary with it. And, again, have your veterinarian out at the first sign of a po- tential ocular issue impacting vision. "Some blind horses seem to retain their globes with no apparent discomfort, but others experience signs of chronic discom- fort," she says. "It can be hard to judge the discomfort, but veterinarians who have enucleated blind eyes that appear to be bothering the horse have often been told by the owners that the horse shows im- provement in temperament and attitude once they've recovered from surgery." h DEALING WITH DETERIORATING VISION Resources for Owners of Visually Impaired Horses ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Dwyer A. Practical Management of Blind Horses. In: Gilger, B (ed). Equine Ophthalmology, 2nd ed. Elsevier, 2010. —Dr. Ann Dwyer

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