A blind draft horse will live to see retirement, thanks to surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania’s new Bolton center in Kennett square.
This is a story that begins with cruelty and abandonment.
But our bruce Gordon says, it ends with compassion, and hope for the future.
Big Pat is getting his eyes checked.
And the specialists at Penn's New Bolton Center, like what they see.
The 14-year-old Belgian draft horse can detect light and make out shapes from his surgically repaired right eye.
In a case that’s considered life and death for most horses, Pat is getting a little luck.
Chester County’s Large Animal Protection Society picked up Pat several weeks ago, when a Lancaster County auction house called for help.
After years of pulling tractors and hay wagons, the horse had been abandoned by his owner.
Pat was blind in both eyes.
He was also underweight, and covered in sores, cuts and bruises.
"Many times when they are abandoned at an auction and we're contacted, the animals are in such rough condition that we can't help them, except to give them some time and a little bit of care. Pat was unique, because we felt we could help him in some way," said Chris Stull of the Large Animal Protection Society.
So they brought the horse to the New Bolton Center, where, Wednesday morning, ophthalmologist Dr. Mary Utter and a team of specialist went to work.
Pat's left eye had a cataract and a detached retina-- the damage was irreparable.
But the right eye had only the cataract.
So the team made an incision through the cornea, then used a high-speed ultra-sound to pulverize the cataract-coated lens.
"We break it up into pieces and vacuum it up, out of the eye. And then we have to close up the little incision with a tiny suture that's the size of a hair, and we're done!" said Dr. Utter, "he's standing in his stall watching people walk by. And you might think he's hearing it, but he's actually tracking people."
Pat's become more sure-footed, as he gains the ability to take in his surroundings.
The folks at LAPS say they have already got some leads on long-term foster homes or a permanent sanctuary.
"You can just tell, with all the sores and stuff, he worked hard all his life. I think he deserves a good retirement," said Terry Dopirak of LANS.
Pat's post surgery care is adding up and a GoFundMe page has been set up to raise the funds.
You can check out Pat's GoFundMe page or even send a donation here
You can also get updates from the LANS Pennsylvania Facebook Page here