Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 20 April 2017
What could have caused my swans to go blind. Last August 2016 I noticed my female black neck swan swimming in tight clockwise circles. She was on a small pond with her mate and I was able to catch her and determine she was totally blind in both eyes. Both eyes were cloudy white. She would still eat if I placed pellets in a tub of water and set her close to it, and splashed the surface gently with my hand. She lived about a month like this before dying without any signs of improvement in her vision. The male remains healthy. I think she slowly died because she could not get enough food this way, and perhaps the cause of the blindness is not what killed her directly. She was under two years old.
Just yesterday (4-20-17) I noticed one of three 12- day old black swan cygnets swimming in a circle much the same as the black neck had done. This was on a different pond and the two types of swans had not been co-mingled. There is a small fence around each pond to contain them. Up until yesterday everything seemed fine with the cygnets so this appeared to come on very fast. I can't seem to find much information about the causes of blindness in swans on the internet so I wonder how common blindness in swans is. The cygnet is still alive, but not really eating. I don't think there are any vets in my area (Bowling Green, Ky) that specialize in this area. I'll attach a photo for you to look at.
Thanks for any help.