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Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience:  I have spent many years in mixed practice, dealing with all the major species.
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I have a 34 year old welsh mare. Her sight has been deteriorating

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I have a 34 year old welsh mare. Her sight has been deteriorating and she's now lost most of her sight in both eyes. She's been kept in the same field for the last 18 years so it is familiar to her. Most of her teeth have fallen out but maintaining her weight with two feeds a day and she picks at some grass. I've read some posts about horses adapting but I don't want her to feel lost and frightened. I'm not ready to say goodbye but I want her to have a quality of life
Vet : Hi there, vet Andrew here.
Vet : From what I can gather you are doing the right thing by feeding twice a day and keeping her in the same field - this not only provides nutrition but regular company and familiarity.
Vet : When an animal goes blind it does not feel the same distress as a human - it just accepts the situation. I have seen dogs, cats, ponies and even sheep which are totally blind live for many years in complete contentment.
Vet : With regard to quality of life, you will need to know the signs that she is no longer enjoying llife. These will include: Loss of appetite, lying down for long periods and not responding or coming over when you call, staying for long periods in the same place, perhaps with her head pressed against an object, and lack of grooming. If she starts doing any of these things, it will then be time to call in a vet to assess her - they will be happy to do so, and will certainly not arrive with the certainty of putting her to sleep. I would advise that you call in the vet as soon as possible after you see problems as, given her age and dental condition, she is at increased risk of colic.
Vet : Lastly, don't forget that although horses are plains-based animals which rely on sight to spot predators, they also have a tremendous sense of smell and sensitive muzzles which go a long way towards helping them find their way around, especially if they have partial sight. I suspect in her case she has advanced cataracts.
Vet : Please let me know if you have any more questions, and I wish you all the best.
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