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View Full Version : Spin-off from slaughter/euthanasia debate AND a personal issue



JoZ
Oct. 12, 2005, 08:42 PM
I had this question half-formed in my head and now, sadly, its answer may become necessary. A filly belonging to my friend and horse partner has been seriously injured and may need to be put to sleep. If you can spare a jingle or two that we do NOT have to face the equine grim reaper, that would be awesome. But my question is a little bit different.

Our vet quoted a price of $250 for euthanasia not including disposal of the body, though she said that (the disposal) would be the costly part. I've heard it quoted around here at $300-500 itself.

Are there any humane options? If it comes to that for this filly, it will be because surgery for her injury will run $5000-7000 on top of what my friend is paying right now to treat it pre-surgery, with no guarantee of success. Financially, that would not be possible. Would it be worth calling other vets to see if anyone would take the filly for free and treat her? Would a vet hospital euthanize her (no experimentation!) to use the body for student work? What about feeding zoo animals? I'd be interested in these options if it were my horse, not only for cost but also because it seems much more holistic and might actually benefit someone or something. Any thoughts on these or other options?

I re-read the above and it sounds pretty cold to me but please believe me it's killing me to even think about it -- the filly may as well be mine, all our horses are family members. It's very hard to think clinically or even logically about this, but since we are trying everything we can afford to keep her alive, it does afford a bit of time to think and plan.

JoZ
Oct. 12, 2005, 08:42 PM
I had this question half-formed in my head and now, sadly, its answer may become necessary. A filly belonging to my friend and horse partner has been seriously injured and may need to be put to sleep. If you can spare a jingle or two that we do NOT have to face the equine grim reaper, that would be awesome. But my question is a little bit different.

Our vet quoted a price of $250 for euthanasia not including disposal of the body, though she said that (the disposal) would be the costly part. I've heard it quoted around here at $300-500 itself.

Are there any humane options? If it comes to that for this filly, it will be because surgery for her injury will run $5000-7000 on top of what my friend is paying right now to treat it pre-surgery, with no guarantee of success. Financially, that would not be possible. Would it be worth calling other vets to see if anyone would take the filly for free and treat her? Would a vet hospital euthanize her (no experimentation!) to use the body for student work? What about feeding zoo animals? I'd be interested in these options if it were my horse, not only for cost but also because it seems much more holistic and might actually benefit someone or something. Any thoughts on these or other options?

I re-read the above and it sounds pretty cold to me but please believe me it's killing me to even think about it -- the filly may as well be mine, all our horses are family members. It's very hard to think clinically or even logically about this, but since we are trying everything we can afford to keep her alive, it does afford a bit of time to think and plan.

abrownhorse
Oct. 12, 2005, 09:04 PM
Unfortunately, there is a lot to think about before euthanizing a horse. The arrangements to be made for disposal of the body can be quite challenging- I am speaking from experience. Long-story but involves an Appaloosa with a fractured leg, a home in sub-division, a refusal from the boarding facility to bury and limited access to land...

Back to the subject at hand...
Are you located near a veterinary school? You may look into donating the filly. Dependent upon her ailment, they might be able to utilize her for teaching purposes. Rest-assured that she would not suffer through "experimentation". Trial treatments, yes... inhumane, weird-science type suffering-no. She may end up being humanely destroyed, or she might end up at another home (enter my current event horse). My current mount was a vet-school donate. He was used as a blood donor, then underwent arthroscopic surgery in order to allow the resident to practice the procedure. He has suffered no ill effects from his tenure at the college.

I wouldn't look to a private veterinary hospital to take her for free and treat her. There is entirely too much cost involved with little to no benefit to the private practitioner. Unfortunately, veterinary hospitals do have to make a profit...or at least try not to lose money. Bummer, eh?

I hope this discussion is of absolutely no use to you! Meaning... I hope she recovers and you don't have to face the ominous process..

LefT * of * CenteR!
Oct. 12, 2005, 10:44 PM
I'm not 100% sure, but I *think*, to be used for zoo animal food, she could not be euthanized, because of the drugs.

Jingles for this poor filly, I really hope she pulls through.

BasqueMom
Oct. 12, 2005, 11:01 PM
Jingles for the filly.

My vet charged about $130 to euthanize my dear old Fudgeman this summer. A horse/pet cemetary
was about 80 miles away and he's resting in a peaceful spot. That was $275 including picking his body up.

When my not-yet-then husband had to put his old horse (the barn's charity case who could no longer be used as a school horse due to seizures)down back in Colorado, the vet was a hunt master at local hunt. We trailered Tex there and left him happily munching some gorgeous alfalfa. The vet was going to put him down and use his remains to feed the hounds. He said he preferred a well-placed gunshot over euthanisa drugs as he thought it was quicker and kinder.

When we got back to the barn, the barn manager
was appalled Tex was munching alfalfa as he wasn't permitted it. Yoo, we think he can have anything wants at this point. She agreed.

2Traks
Oct. 12, 2005, 11:33 PM
I also paid around $130 for the euthanasia. My lovely old lady is buried in an equine cemetery. It was $250 and that included pick-up burial, grave marker, and a nice little funeral service. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sadsmile.gif Jingles for the filly.

county
Oct. 13, 2005, 03:37 AM
Have you checked to see if burying a horse is allowed where she lives? If so if you can find someone who knows how to kill a horse with a .22 caliber rifle its cheap, very effective, and not messy. Then if theres someone with a backhoe you can hire to bury it it won't be so expensive.

Trakehner
Oct. 13, 2005, 04:21 AM
When my retired foxhunter was at the point she needed to be released from her suffering, I also went to the local hunt. Seemed a "circle of life" sort of thing. She'd chased after the hounds for years and had a good life...she was now going to feed the hounds. She was also shot, so no suffering.

Sorry about your youngster.

carolprudm
Oct. 13, 2005, 05:10 AM
Prices vary with with location. Your best bet will be the vet school if they will take her to let students practice the surgery on her or a local hunt or zoo. I don't know how much it costs but you can have them rendered. Around here the number is 1 800 DEADCOW.
If you do have her "put to sleep" try to have the vet tranquelize her first. Some horses, like my old guy, fight it. My next one will be shot.

onthebit12000
Oct. 13, 2005, 05:26 AM
$250 is extremely high for euthanasia. The vets in my area generally charge about 50-75 for the drugs plus the regular farm call fee.

Most university's who have veterinary programs will euthanize, necropsy and dispose of the carcass for under $100.00. Equine clinics are generally in the $200.00 range for euthanasia and disposal is included.

Where are you located? I might be able to direct you to someone who can help.

MSP
Oct. 13, 2005, 06:50 AM
This may be a more expensive option but even here in Jackson Ms, we have a Pet Crematorium. I have not gotten a price from them but know of one person who had their horse put down at the crematorium to save money on hauling the horse’s body.

I have also heard of universities providing disposal services and I would think your vet would know most of your options in your area.

When I had to put my filly down we called the town road superintendent (in NH) and they volunteered a back hoe so it cost me nothing to bury her. I don't remember what the cost was to have her put down but I remember it was not much, definitely under $100.

BeastieSlave
Oct. 13, 2005, 06:50 AM
Wow, I think it was about $60 + farm call fee when I had my mare put down in June. I'm lucky, we have the equipment and the place for burial at the farm, so no cost there.

Where'sMyWhite
Oct. 13, 2005, 08:37 AM
This is a difficult decision. Be aware that if you donate your horse to the local hunt or zoo (which I think is a great idea), that chemical euthanasia is generally not possible as the "consumers" can easily get affected by the drugs as well.

nettiemaria
Oct. 13, 2005, 09:15 AM
I have not heard of a Hunt, what is it exactly?

Susan P
Oct. 13, 2005, 09:21 AM
Horses can be humanely destroyed with a well place bullet if you want to use their carcass. It's not a bad option.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by LefT * of * CenteR!:
I'm not 100% sure, but I *think*, to be used for zoo animal food, she could not be euthanized, because of the drugs.

Jingles for this poor filly, I really hope she pulls through. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hunter's Rest
Oct. 13, 2005, 09:28 AM
Oh you poor dear. Prayers and warmth for all involved.
As the above say, a bullet is far preferable than an injection. Too many horses try to 'fight' the injection as they feel themselves slipping (?) beyond. The shot is instant. You can be there (which is hard, I know, but soooo important for your friend to be in loving hands) and hand the horse off with a pat and then (if you can't stand it) go around the corner. It doesn't take 2 seconds and its over. Then you can caress and love and coo and cry. Oh, my, I'm sniffling just thinking of this. Horses are so special. Love the ones that are here and remember the ones that are gone with a smile. Gotta go bawl now.

Susan P
Oct. 13, 2005, 09:59 AM
Yes, I would think so. You are kind people. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">When we got back to the barn, the barn manager
was appalled Tex was munching alfalfa as he wasn't permitted it. Yoo, we think he can have anything wants at this point. She agreed. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

poltroon
Oct. 13, 2005, 11:22 AM
In the Los Angeles area, Wildlife Waystation takes donations of horses to feed their big cats. I understand that they normally like to accept a live horse and keep it for a couple of weeks to flush anything out of its system and to also determine if it's a rehab candidate before they put it down.

BoldChance
Oct. 13, 2005, 11:44 AM
another option for disposal if you have patch of land to do so on, euthanasia or shot or whatever method of putting them down... is to burn them.

My thoroughbred was shot and burnt last year. I am very glad he was burnt as the other option was leaving him out for the coyotes (no deadstock removal here, and psycho-trainer-who-lies wouldn't have been willing to help find a backhoe to bury) and the thought of that bothered me more. BUT... I would not have wanted to be out there supervising that burn. (and wasn't.)

But it is an option for disposal if need be.
And it works, though it does leave charred remnants so perhaps still best if not euthanized chemically.

Hard decision. I, too, hope that things work out so that your filly gets another chance at life.

BC

EBO
Oct. 13, 2005, 12:55 PM
$100 for the euthanasia, $50 for a backhoe (an acquaintance, who probably gave us a deal). We have our own place, and I didn't ask the county what they thought about it. I spoke to her for years everytime I passed by her grave.

Coreene
Oct. 13, 2005, 01:17 PM
Where are you? Disposal in So Cal is about $260. Between that and what the vet is quoting to put her down, your friend will probably still come out ahead, compared to what they are most probably dishing out in vet bills right now.

Justina
Oct. 13, 2005, 02:29 PM
Here it is around $80 to have a vet euthanize a horse, then from there we have the option of burial (allowed on our land, costs us about $45 for the backhoe), dead stock removal truck which was free prior to BSE, then cost $30, or cremation if you haul the horse to the crematorium 100 miles from here--cost of that is close to $1000. Pet cemetary cost a friend $250 for a foal; I'm not sure if the local one would take a full size horse.

There used to be a couple of places that would pick up animals for pet food; the owners would come out, shoot the horse & then haul it away for a total charge of $30. As upsetting as it is, I too prefer to have them shot (provided the shooter knows what he's doing, & these pet food guys did)--with a well placed bullet I know the horse is dead before he hits the ground. With euthanasia drugs, well, I'm never 100% convinced it is absolutely "instant".

I'm sorry that you have to be making these decisions. It's hard enough with an old horse that's lived a good life; when it's a young horse, it's much much worse.

nettiemaria
Oct. 13, 2005, 02:47 PM
I know this may not the appropriate place for my ranting here, but really - eating YOUR/MY horse? This reminds me of the time my ex husband's grandmother had conjestive heart failure, and the son was on the phone with the morgue two weeks before she died at Thanksgiving dinner with everyone sitting around the table!!!!

I know some people are gonna get upset at me, and in fact this is a "factual finding" question here, but you know what, at this point, this is really getting quite gross and graphic, if you ask me.

This lady's horse is in trouble here, and people are suggesting that the horse be sent for dog food, or cat food, or zoo food.

You know, to shoot the horse yourself or have a trusted neighbor or friend do it, if unable and THEN call the renderer is one thing, but to have someone come out and shoot the horse, a person you don't know - that is completely different. You don't know these people! I would never be able to forgive myself.

Is this my opinion - sure it is.

And then there was the thing with donating it to the hunts - Doesn't everyone here know that those big game hunts are a terrible thing to begin with? To put them in small areas and to have rich people come out and "hunt" them? That's not hunting, that's not sport, that is a coward's "trophy" and "status symbol". Because he/she doesn't have the gumption to get out there and hunt for real, because he might get his little toes cold.

I really feel for the OP, but some of these suggestions are quite graphic, and disturbing at this point. At least no one has brought up sending the poor horse to - well, I won't go there (yet).

OP, I am certatinly sorry about your horse. At this point, If it were me, I would have the vet do it, or do it myself. I am sure that there is some way to afford to either burn, bury or render the horse. I hope you make the right decision, but I really can't help but to start to get upset about some of this graphic talk. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif

RainDancer
Oct. 13, 2005, 02:59 PM
nettiemaria- The OP asked for the options. There is absolutely nothing malicious about what is being said. No one said anything about chasing a horse down in a hunt. They said shot in place and fed to the hounds. I have a friend that is a great shot and I will have her shoot my favorite mare. Others will go to the Un. of Illinois to be put down. Cost is $90 for putting down and disposal.

JoZ
Oct. 13, 2005, 03:03 PM
As the OP... I'm still fine with everything being discussed and suggested. There might be some things about which I say "not for me" but heck I'll even pass those along to my friend. Everything is a matter of personal taste, "stomach", tolerance, etc.

I don't think anyone suggesting donating to a hunt was anticipating that the filly would be hunted. Ugh. THAT would push me over the edge!

Hunter's Rest
Oct. 13, 2005, 03:25 PM
Nettiemaria
The hunts people are referring to are foxhunt clubs, not big game hunts. You have your horse put down by bullet then they will come and take him away, for free, and feed to the foxhounds. Or zoo animals, or whatever. The horse is dead. It doesn't really care. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The cycle of life and all that stuff. In hunting circles (fox, not big game) it is considered the only way to go. Non wasteful, humane, something you yourself can control and assist (to a point) and responsible.

carolprudm
Oct. 13, 2005, 03:49 PM
Also, putting the horse to sleep sounds peaceful but it is not always that way. My 37 year old horse fought it. Let's just say it was NOT pretty. If I ever have to put a horse down by injection I will ask the vet to trank him into insensibility first and put a fly mask on him.
If I have a choice they're going to the fox hunts.

Procella
Oct. 13, 2005, 04:17 PM
why a fly mask?

Coreene
Oct. 13, 2005, 04:23 PM
I was so fortunate in that Willem went down without a fight. Of course, I'd given him a full tube of Banamine while waiting for the vet, plus we gave him a sedative in the stall before taking him out, and another before we did the Big Shot.

My friend BBer Pinkerdo had her finger on the vein the Big Shot went into, and kept her finger pressed in until three syringes full went in, so it was blissfully quick.

BTW, for those who suggest that it is better to do it with a bullet, remember that by law many of us do not have that option. I am in a public equestrian center in a good-sized city, so it's not like I can whip out a shotgun.

MKW
Oct. 13, 2005, 06:13 PM
Just thought I would share a few experiences. I worked as a vet tech for 10 plus years for a vet who made house calls. Unfortunately, one of the things we did alot of was euthanize dogs and cats in their homes. So, no last trip to the vet for these animals. I always thought it was a great service. Anyway, as a result I have held off the vein and held numerous critters in my arms in their final moments. The vet I worked for said that the pink stuff went to the brain first,effectively making the animal brain dead, before the heart stopped.
The vast majority of the time, it was just like they went to sleep. Those last breaths (and sometimes vocalizations) were a reflex after the animal was gone. These were small animals, not horses, but I can't think the process can be any different. At no time did I ever have the feeling that these animals were having a heart attack. Personally I would have a harder time trusting someone with a shotgun to get the job done right than my vet who knows me and my horse.
JMO...good luck to the OP. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

SLW
Oct. 13, 2005, 06:20 PM
You could contact a Veterinary teaching hospital in your area to see if they have a need for the filly. My concern is this- what is the condition which is causing her pain?? IOW, I would be uncomfortable having her kept alive for a period of time with a painful condition.

Crematories are very expensive when you get to the horse weight catagory. Around here it is just under $1000. As some others have stated local hunts will euthanize and dispose of horses. However, in our area it's only for hunt members.

A chemical euthanasia is not a bad way to let an animal go, even a horse though the price you quoted is higher than average. At the clinic we always, always heavily sedate the horse first and let it "rest" for 5-10 minutes before giving the drugs which will arrest it's systems. I guess the comment about the fly mask is to protect the onlookers from a horse which passes on with it's eyes open.

Where'sMyWhite
Oct. 13, 2005, 09:19 PM
Ummmm, based on talking to my vet about this, it's a .22 not a shotgun. Also, after talking to my vet, I'd trust him with this responsibility.

OTOH, my small animal vet will not come to your house to perform this service. It sounds like sometimes they need to be at their facility (and I chose not to go into details as to why).

Kat the Horse
Oct. 13, 2005, 10:31 PM
We have Rolling Hills Animal Preserve right here in Kansas, about 8 miles from where I board my horses. I've given it great thought, and when the time comes, I'm going to ask them if they could come and send my mare's spirit free and use her body to feed their big cats. Somehow, that just seems right. I'll just take her on a walk in the pasture, a stranger will step up and put a bullet right where it needs to be.

I held my sweet 29yo mare while she was put down by a vet. You could call it a lot of things, but peaceful it was not. She KNEW what was happening, and her last look was into my eyes--I will NEVER forget the terror and sudden understanding I saw there. That absolutely haunts me...

So, BIG bullet right to the sweetspot.

SweatySaddlepad
Oct. 14, 2005, 04:29 AM
This is a tough post........I really recommend you have your vet give a good traq prior. When my mare was euthanized it was very peaceful, she gave a heavy traq, she started to feel very woozy, my vet sat her back on her butt and then gently rolled her down and then gave the shots. I too would fear a bullet, just my preference I would fear jerking at the last minute. None of this is ever easy but I know my vet said in all her years as an equine vet using the method described all went peaceful http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sadsmile.gif.

carolprudm
Oct. 14, 2005, 05:20 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Procella:
why a fly mask? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I found looking at his open dead eyes heartbreaking.

onthebit12000
Oct. 14, 2005, 05:46 AM
For those of you who want to know what to expect during the euthanasia process, there is a video of the process available here..

http://www.saplonline.org/slaughtervhumaneeuth.htm

llsc
Oct. 14, 2005, 06:54 AM
When I put my mare down this spring I had her up at Cornell for treatment. I donated her for them to do an autopsy on after she was dead. They still charged me $250.00 to put her down, even with the donation.

Then to add insult to injury, they mailed me back her halter 3 mos. later. That started the waterworks all over again. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif

Coreene
Oct. 14, 2005, 10:11 AM
Another word about the open eyes things. Their eyes do not close. If you try and close them, they will open back up.

bornfreenowexpensive
Oct. 14, 2005, 10:35 AM
I believe I paid around $350-500 to my vet--this included dispose fees. A friend too him to the vet clinic. They had a nice stall for him and lots of rich hay and a bag of carrots. He was an OTTB and didn't stress about being in new places. I said my good byes at the farm--I wanted that to be the way I remembered him. My vet and friends STRONGLY recomended not being there. As they said, he will not know it is coming. My friend had held a number of horses being put down and said it was very peaceful. ALL our vets around here tranq. them first. My vet who I trust, took care of everything. I've know several people who have donated to a fox hunt or to a vet school. Those are all good alternatives. For me, I wanted a little more control so I was sure that his last moments were not highly stressful.

Edited to add: I also had him taken to the vet clinic so the kids at the barn didn't have to see any of it either.

I hope that you don't have to make that decision. It was one of the hardest ones I've every had to make but it is part of our responsibility as horse owners to make those hard decisions....even when they hurt. Good luck--I'm dreading having to make the decision for my 12 year old Rottie but I think she will let me know when its time.

Carol Ames
Oct. 14, 2005, 11:16 AM
beautifully said Hnters' rest"Love the ones that are here and remember the ones that are gone with a smile. Gotta go bawl now.

schwung
Oct. 14, 2005, 11:41 AM
I had to put down a rescue horse afflicted with HERDA a couple of months ago. He was boarded at a facility with young children, so in order to spare the family having to have a dead horse on the property or deal with the removal of the body, I hauled the horse to our local vet hospital, where they put him down and took care of the rendering. The cost was $350 - but the cost does vary based on the weight of the horse (this was a very thin pony stallion).

Susan P
Oct. 14, 2005, 12:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Then to add insult to injury, they mailed me back her halter 3 mos. later. That started the waterworks all over again. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif

kookicat
Oct. 14, 2005, 01:13 PM
I've had horses shot and PTS by injection. Shooting may seem brutal, but as long as the person doing it knows exactly what they're doing, I much prefer it to the injection. When I had to have Pip PTS on course on XC (he smashed his cannon) I chose the gun.

Jingles for the filly though. I'd phone local vet clinics etc and see what they say. Good luck.

EqTrainer
Oct. 14, 2005, 01:20 PM
No kidding about the eyes. It's the thing that haunts you forever.