Blind horses are useless


Sometimes it is argued by pet owners that the dog is a nasal animal and that it does not matter if it does not see anything. Dogs, cats and horses have a very strong sense of smell and hearing, but their eyesight is also tailored to their predisposition as a hunter or flight animal.

Contrary to popular belief that dogs, cats and horses only see gray tones, they can instead recognize colors in the green-blue range, but not red.

Twilight vision is much better developed in cats and dogs than in humans. This is due, among other things, to the tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer on the retina that is unique to domestic animals. It is responsible for ensuring that the animals' eyes glow green-yellow in the dark when they are illuminated.

The visual acuity of our pets is only 20 to 40% of that of humans (i.e. a dog sees an object that a human can see sharply at a distance of 27 m, only sharply at a distance of 6 m), rather the vision of our hunting pets is optimized for movement.

Horses (as well as rabbits and guinea pigs) as escape animals are dependent on recognizing enemies quickly. With her eyes standing on the side of her head, her field of vision is almost 360 degrees. In the horse, the images of both eyes are taken individually and superimposed in the brain.


Knowledge about the eyesight of pets shows that intact eyesight contributes significantly to the quality of life of the hunter dog and cat or the escape animals horse, guinea pigs and rabbits.

But sometimes, despite all the ophthalmological efforts to maintain vision, blindness is inevitable. Here it is important for owners to know that animals can get along well with this too, so blindness does not in any way force euthanasia.

Initially, blind pets are of course unsettled and encounter obstacles, but over time they find their way around better and better.

Your owners can help you with this by not changing anything in the apartment, securing dangerous areas (swimming pools, stairs, etc.), initially not letting cats outside and keeping dogs on a leash on the street.

Above all, blind animals should be trained on acoustic signals (e.g. 'attention' as a command to stop) or be given toys with bells or something similar.

It is also helpful to purchase a sighted 'companion animal' that the blind can use for orientation.


Animals do not yell or whine when their eyes have pain, except perhaps at the moment of an acute injury. Horses and rodents in particular do not utter any voices when something hurts them.

People often describe eye pain as an excruciating headache, and depending on the underlying disease, they complain of stinging, rubbing, itching or burning of the eye.

We often observe that animals tend to be calmer and sleep more as a sign of eye pain. Often the owners report only after removing a chronically painful eye from their animal that it is 'now born again', although they previously thought it was not showing any pain.

Other signs of pain in the eye can include tearing, squeezing, frequent blinking or photophobia.

Especially in horses, but also in cats and dogs, a changed facial expression can sometimes be observed in connection with eye pain, this is often due to a different position of the eyelashes or whiskers of the affected eye.

If, as the owner, you notice any of these signs in your pet, you should definitely consult a veterinarian immediately.

Eye diseases are often emergencies and shouldn't be put off the back burner. For example, increased intraocular pressure for more than 48 hours (glaucoma, glaucoma) can lead to an irreversible loss of vision.


If an animal loses its sight, it can cope with it. The most important focus in the treatment by the ophthalmologist must then be on avoiding pain. For example, glaucoma (glaucoma) often leads to blindness due to increased intraocular pressure, which causes considerable pain. In such a case, the animal will not be helped if you try to keep the eye for too long.

There are various surgical methods in which the painful eye, which has become useless due to blindness, is removed. The pictures on the right are intended to show that this step, which is often feared by the owner, leads to good cosmetic results:

During enucleation, the entire eye is surgically removed and the lids are sewn shut. It then remains a fur-lined cave. This method means the shortest anesthetic time for the animal and a short convalescence time after the operation.

Alternatively, a silicone prosthesis can be used. The eye envelope, consisting of the cornea and white eye skin, is left as it is. Only the painful inside of the eye (lens, iris, vitreous humor, vascular and retina) is removed and a black silicone ball is implanted instead.

This method is particularly suitable for animals that are at risk of losing both eyes due to their illness. By inserting prostheses, the animals can still make eye movements, their facial expressions - and thus a decisive contribution to communication with humans and animals - remain. For the owner, the presence of one or both eyes on his animal is often easier to bear than if the eye is completely removed. The duration of anesthesia for the prosthesis is somewhat longer and medication is still required for follow-up treatment for a long time.