“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” William Jennings Bryan

Friday, February 15, 2013

February 15, 2013

that eye

wet with sun and allergy

kissed with a prayer

Awhile ago I wrote and put these three lines in the “Reflections”. These lines are a reference to Louie’s eye which was clouded and blind. It always had a small tear drop in the corner, and because of its stillness, was almost spiritual to me. With all the light and movement in the world around us, Lou’s eye always seemed at peace, even in the center of all the confusion. It is one of those type feelings that I have never been able to fully explain. But that eye had a calmness that could make the world seem quiet…

Unfortunately, Lou’s blind eye began to worsen – it became darker and the tears increased until a constant rivulet formed that ran down his cheek. It wasn’t just a blind eye anymore – something else was going on.

The vet suspected that cancer was growing in his nasal passage which was putting pressure on the eye, and she arranged for us to take Lou to New Bolton to get a more thorough examination and a definite diagnosis.

At New Bolton, the veterinarians, veterinarian interns, and veterinary students under the supervision of  the resident surgical veterinarian did a lot of testing –they gave him a basic physical, checked his vitals and heart, gave him a complete ophthalmological study of both eyes, scoped his nasal passages twice, did x-rays, and other work-ups.

The good news was that the veterinarians didn’t find cancer in his nasal passages where it was originally thought to be. They found what possibly could be cancer in his eye. (See note.) The eye was becoming more and more painful to Lou. The resident surgical veterinarian gave us a few treatment options but recommended that the best approach would be to remove Lou’s eye altogether.

That all happened a week ago. Louie’s recovery has been going well since. We removed the bandages Tuesday and the stitches and skin are healing nicely. Where his eye was is the eyelid sewn over. It looks as if his eye is closed.

Since Lou had been blind in that eye ever since we’ve had him, he is well adjusted to life with sight from only one eye.  And now, without the constant eye pain, he should be a more relaxed and happier Lou. It already seems to be happening. There’s a new found spirit in his step these past few days.

I feel blessed that things are turning out this well. At almost 26 years old, Lou is past the average life span age of most horses, and the chance that fate would not have been so kind to him is considerable. But he’s fine now – and though age has given him a few nicks and dings along the way, the doctors said his health is “remarkable” and his prognosis is “excellent”.

Note: February 20, 2013. Histopathology results indicate that Lou's iris was growing into the "ruptured and detached lens capsule",  and mineralization was taking place which gave it an appearance of cancer.

I want to recognize Lou’s doctors –Dr. Beth Hirsch of South Jersey Equine Associates and Dr. Janik Gasiorowski of the New Bolton Center. It takes a very special type of person to be a large animal vet. I really appreciate all they have done for Lou.