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Episodic blindness and ataxia in a horse with cholesterinic granulomas


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R. David Whitley
Tel.: 515-294-4900
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An 11-year-old Oldenburg mare presented following three episodes of acute, transient blindness, ataxia, and disorientation within the preceding 7 months. Clinical improvement, including return of vision, occurred within 1 week of initiating corticosteroid therapy for each of the three episodes. However, mild right-sided miosis was a consistent finding on ophthalmic examinations. Routine clinicopathologic testing revealed no significant abnormalities, and testing of cerebral spinal fluid for selected infectious diseases was unrewarding. Computed tomography of the brain demonstrated a hyperattenuating mass with peripheral mineralization in the rostroventral aspect of each lateral ventricle. The mare was euthanized due to a guarded to poor prognosis. On histopathology, the masses consisted of clusters of cholesterol clefts admixed with leukocytes, mineral deposits, and connective tissue. Cholesterinic granulomas of the lateral ventricles and hydrocephaly were diagnosed. Cholesterinic granulomas should be considered a differential diagnosis in horses presenting for intermittent blindness.