Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pie Sees the Eye Vet

Pie's face is slowly getting better - it's still swollen but everytime I see him it's not quite as bad.  I'm continuing to ice it when I can - he's very good about letting me ice his face without him even being haltered, and he even let me run cold water on his cheek when I was hosing him off - I guess it felt good (I never spray my horses in the face or on the head when I'm hosing off - they don't like it and I can easily take a wet sponge and sponge their faces and around their ears).

Pie had a visit with the eye vet yesterday - more vets? he says - to check out his cyst and also evaluate him for any damage from Lyme.  It was good that they made a barn visit - the other eye vet in our area doesn't and you have to trailer to them and we are at the moment trailerless.

He has no retinal or optic nerve damage from Lyme, which is very good news - another horse at our barn, who'd probably had Lyme for a long time before it was detected, has permanent eye damage from it.  The cyst, although good sized, is on the lower, rather than upper, edge of his iris which means it interferes with his vision less than it could.  His spookiness may just be adjusting to the changes in his vision due to the shadow cast by the cyst - the vet agreed he was one of the least nervous or spooky horses she'd looked at - he just stood there half asleep as she examined his eyes.  He can clearly see, the question is how well - horses can't take eye tests.

So for now, we're watching things - if the cyst gets bigger or his spookiness worsens we can do the laser procedure, which simply deflates the cyst.  The procedure can be done with standing sedation at the barn, and is fairly straightforward and low risk, although pricey.  For now, I'll just keep working with him, including taking him on the trail some more - wearing my helmet (of course) and also a body protector, and not taking to the trail alone.  We may also experiment with some things - the vet suggested trying some obstacles - rails, step up platforms, tarps, etc. - with one eye covered and then the other to see if that makes any difference.  I can also play around with race horse blinkers, which could make things better or worse.

And then, later in the day, another vet stopped by to take his blood for two tests - a follow-up on the slightly elevated EPM titer he had a while ago - he was treated and we think he's fine now - as well as a Lyme retest since he's now 6 months out from the end of his treatement for Lyme.  As usual, he was a saint for the vet.  His personality has changed a lot since I got him - he started out being aloof and a bit remote, got very crabby and unhappy when he had Lyme, and now he's just plain sweet, sweet, sweet. Everyone who meets him comments on it.  He loves to meet with new people - even vets - is interested and alert and just is a real doll.  That's my Pie Pie!


  1. Can I ask how much the laser surgery cost? And did they mention what recovery is like? I am considering it for Scout, but we'd have to do an ultrasound first to see if his retina managed to heal itself after his accident as a baby. If his retina is detached there's no sense fixing the cyst.

    Pie is such a wonderful boy! I'm glad he has you to take care of him.

  2. I was quoted a price of $1,200 for the laser procedure, including meds. This did not include the cost of my regular vet doing the sedation. There is another eye specialist - the one who doesn't make house calls - recommended by my vet, who's probably the one I would use for the surgery. She's a board-certified veterinary opthamologist. If she did the procedure, it would be done at my regular vet's hospital - about a 30 minute drive away. I'd need to get a quote on that, but expect it'd be in the same range.

    Pie is indeed a very special horse.

    Good luck with Scout's eye . . .

  3. Oh - and on recovery they said that should be straightforward. They keep the horse on anti-inflammatories for a few days - systemic and topical - but since the procedure is technically non-invasive complications are apparently few. I would also want to verify this with the other vet before I did it.

    I have heard anecdotally - reading around - that horses are usually just fine immediately after the procedure and that those with eyesight issues due to the cyst are often instantly better after it's deflated. Again, I'd want to discuss with a more experienced vet.

  4. He must be very happy in his home :)

  5. Pie is a special guy. It's great that you have been able to encourage him out of his shell, to show the sweetness that is in him.

  6. Glad to hear Pie's eye should be OK. Still treating Toby's eye injury, hoping it will clear up.

    Wish we could get them to read eye charts: Line 1, carrot, apple, hay, carrot...etc. Not sure they'd like letters, so the pictures would be great.


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