Juvenile Cataracts

I have a lovely young horse for sale and this came up in a finding on a PPE. Presented as a very slight cloudiness in the eye but vet couldn’t confirm it was nothing. Took the horse to New Bolton for an ophthalmologist exam and juvenile cataracts was the finding. They are tiny, cause no issues with vision currently and likely never will, but they’re there. The potential buyer decided to pass as they weren’t comfortable with the risk. I get it, but am super disappointed. The horse is lovely otherwise. Super mover, fabulous over a fence, great temperament and vets otherwise.

Has anyone had experience in dealing with these in a horse? Did they ever progress or just stayed the same and never were an issue? The consensus from our vet and the breeder are that this isn’t an unusual finding and 90% of the time they never are an issue, horse goes on to have a long career. Would love to hear about anyone’s experience! Has anyone successfully sold a horse with this type of finding? Thanks!!

I had one of my homebred geldings who was found to have very small bilateral cataracts. He was I think 4 when we found them…we actually did a preliminary PPE before we were getting ready to put him up for sale and found them. He was also a really nice horse and they didn’t seem to be an issue. We did sell him (full disclosure)…but we definitely sold him for a lot less than what we anticipated. His full brother (who was a more challenging ride) sold for mid to high-5s. We ended up selling this guy (who was nicer overall) for the lowest of low 5s. I did hear several years later from someone who was riding him/using him for a lesson horse…while he had developed some other soundness issues, eyesight was not mentioned as an issue they were having. I am assuming they weren’t a major issue (or I am sure they would have told me about that problem too!!).

Thank you so much!! That makes me feel much better!!

I had a young horse with cataracts. She sadly passed a year ago, but for the two years I had her she had no vision issues. They were moderate in size. She never had issues being spooky or anything; my vet said it’s pretty common that they don’t really cause any issues at all. We kept and eye on them and they didn’t grow in the two years.

You can have them surgically removed. We considered it for her right eye as it was the worst, but decided she didn’t need it as she never had issues with jumping or anything.

I would expect that the buyer will want a lower price than a horse without them. However, for me they would not be a deal breaker in a horse purchase especially if the horse is already jumping.

Thank you so much! This is a younger horse, but he’s definitely priced accordingly! He’s not even a candidate for the surgery because they are so tiny.

1 Like

Other side of it - bought one with cataracts. My guy has cataracts in one eye - as legend has it, he came off the track with them many years prior, so who knows how long he’s had them. He has a slew of other conformational issues, but he has a good brain, good personality, nice enough mover for what we want to do, and is handsome af. He’s been a great lower level eventer, just sometimes gets squirrely at changes in footing (we jumped over dead grass where a portable xc fence had been) and with water obstacles he hasnt seen before.

Bottom line, there’s a buyer out there that won’t be scared by cataracts if he checks off enough other good boxes.

Thank you so much!

I bought a horse with what I was told was pinpoint sized cataracts. He was 8 years old at the time. He was never spooky and all around a good guy. I no longer own him but he is 21 now and as far as I know is still not having any issues with his eyesight.

Thanks so much, this is what I’m hearing the most!

1 Like