Horse Started Spooking Out Of Nowhere – This is What They Found

When Kathy Burma’s horse Kit started spooking out of nowhere, she did what we all should do.  She checked for a medical reason first.  She posted her findings a message on her Facebook page.  She wrote,

Kathy Burma Facebook

“PSA: If your horse ever starts acting weird please give them the benefit of the doubt & look for a medical problem first (teeth, eyes, pain, equipment fit, etc) before thinking it’s just attitude.

Kit is having eye surgery March 14th for Corpora Nigra Cysts. (Left side photos)
Corpora nigra are the normal little fringy things that hangout on the top edge of a horses pupil, acting a bit like sunglasses. On rare occasions they can become cystic.

This can cause some strange, erratic & potentially dangerous behavior in the horse. The problem is the cysts block most of the pupil essential causing partial blindness & in bright light they can throw shadows into the eye & the horse will think something is coming at them causing them to spook, rear, bolt, head toss or an array of weird behavior.

My old horse (Right side photos) had one form about 7 years ago & instantly started spooking. I had him for over 18 years when it developed & I had never known him to shy from anything prior to that. I thought his cataract must be getting worse so shined a light in his eye and found the cyst. He had laser eye surgery and has never had a problem with it since then.”

When we asked Kathy how she knew something was wrong with her horses, she elaborated.

” I instantly knew something was wrong when my old guy developed his because he spooked from a little bird. I had him for over 18 years at that point & he had never spooked from anything in his life. I was expecting to find a cataract not the cyst.

Kit began spooking & rearing in her stall when the barn help would clean her stall. Very uncharacteristic for her. She also seemed to be more on edge when were in bright light. She also was worried about things above her head. This obviously was very abnormal for her because I’ve done full freestyle routines with an umbrella & t-Rex costume. When the barn crew said she was spooking & rearing in her stall, I checked her. The bright light shrinks the pupil making the cysts block the majority of the pupil & essentially causing a partial blindness & big shadows being cast into her eye. Some horses will develop head tossing or just strange & or erratic behavior. Some horses have the cysts & have no signs.

This obviously was very abnormal for her because I’ve done full freestyle (reining) routines with an umbrella & t-Rex costume. When the barn crew said she was spooking & rearing in her stall, I checked her. The bright light shrinks the pupil making the cysts block the majority of the pupil & essentially causing a partial blindness & big shadows being cast into her eye. Some horses will develop head tossing or just strange & or erratic behavior. Some horses have the cysts & have no signs. Also, there is some variation in what is considered normal Corpora Nigra, so if someone is wondering they should check with either their vet or a veterinary ophthalmologist.”

This serves as a great reminder to never assume your horse is being “bad” for no reason.  Always check for a medical reason first.  Share this on Facebook if you agree!

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