The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 66
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,380

    Default Folding A Dead Horse

    This is supposed to be a helpful post, not just peculiar.

    We lost a horse a week ago to kidney failure. We thought it was colic, took him to the vet clinic. Stayed a while, then left him for observation because we hoped time would help and he would be there for Vet to check easily. We are 30 miles away. Vet called us back that things were bad, he was in pain despite heavy meds. Not a surgery candidate. So we made the decision. She put him down and husband headed off to collect the body. Vet had no service to remove him.

    Husband is very familiar with dead horses in his Farrier work. Real friendly with other horse vets and how they deal with dead horses. Sometimes the services can't come immediately, bodies must be stored until pickup.

    What husband has learned from the Vet Clinic workers was that if you fold the horse up neatly in the storage barn, tie the legs in place, then horse is very easy to manage later on for storing, loading out for disposal or burial. Sometimes they have to deal with a number of animals who were put down for various reasons that week. So this folding method was created and has been very helpful in dealing with the dead animals. The owners who sometimes come later to say goodbye are not faced with an ugly last view of old Spot, which is comforting to them. Most look like they are asleep all curled up. Some owners like us, want to take the animals home and a folded horse makes it much easier to do.

    Husband said you do need the bucket on tractor to position the animal, then bend hind legs, tie up so hooves are close to belly. The Clinic workers usually tie around the hocks. Fold the front legs, tie around the pasterns and elbows to hold in position. Bend the head and neck around over the folded legs, towards the belly area. Not sure if they tie head to hind legs to hold in place. Horse then looks rather like he is circled around to sleep.

    When rigor mortis sets in, horse will stay folded, legs bent and tied in place, head out of the way. This method makes it very easy to scoop up the animal for loading, no parts sticking out to catch or get damaged in moving. Animals take up much less room to store, dig a hole for burying or haul away.

    I remember seeing a rendering truck go by as a kid, with cow legs sticking straight up from the inside!! Kind of a ghastly sight for a small kid, would have been worse with horse hooves. Now most trucks are covered, but the dead animals still are very stiff and hard to fit inside the truck neatly. Locally, the rendering truck only makes a run weekly, good or bad weather so animals picked up would be pretty stiff.

    Husband picked our old boy up on the flatbed of truck. Vet's husband had said he could not load into our ramp trailer, tractor was too small for the size of this horse. Husband folded the horse up, tied the legs in place, put a tarp over him and strapped everything down to come home. The Vet's husband said this was the easiest way he had ever loaded out an animal, and the folding kept everything inside the truck bed edges. Flatbed was very easy to place the animal on, get him folded onto. He planned to suggest folding for the next animal they had to load out and practice his tying the legs in place.

    We dug the hole the next day, and buried him. Husband said having folded him first, everything went VERY easily, unloading, putting him in the hole with the bucket on machine. Didn't have to dig such a big hole either, because there were no flopping parts, stiff legs to deal with.

    All this folding idea was new to me, but really made a lot of sense as we dealt with the body afterwards. Easier to be a bit dignified about everything.

    So this is something to think about, consider if you have to make such a decision in the future. Fold them up while you can, tie things in place, to make it all easier to deal with later.

    Our Vet called that next day, said tests showed horse had shut down his kidneys, was not a colic. That was why things were not presenting like a typical colic case, none of our efforts were useful. Nothing anyone could have done, we made the right choice instead of dragging it out longer. Ugly news, but good to hear because we were kicking ourselves for not noticing his problems sooner to start treatments. Kidneys are a sudden thing, no fixing it. When he started sweating, making puddles on the floor, he was a walking dead horse. Even ours and her best pain meds only helped a bit. Best to let him go and learn from it.

    Hope the folding information is helpful, gives you more options for the last things you can do for him/her, while helping yourself as well.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
    Posts
    9,096

    Default

    Great that you took him home and buried him. I bury mine, and thanks for telling me that if one dies at the vet clinic, I can fold and then easier to transport.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    185

    Default

    I am so sorry for your loss. This was a great tid bit of information, thank you for sharing it, as I am sure this info will come handy in the future for many of us.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2006
    Posts
    1,621

    Default

    Great information to have in the back of the mind for when it might be needed.... Thank you- I am sorry for your loss...



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2002
    Location
    it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
    Posts
    12,079

    Default

    That is very useful, important information. Thank you for being courageous and posting it. It's the kind of thing that you hope you never need to use, but it is in the back of your mind, once read, for the worst-case-scenario.

    Condolences on your loss. Thank you for sharing this.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2001
    Location
    Catharpin, Virginia
    Posts
    6,695

    Default

    It's telling to see how few have opened and read this thread yet. But for the 5 who did view, 4 posted.

    When a horse dies there are a myriad of things to take into consideration, and some of them are really hard to deal with. Such noble and big creatures in life -- and so it is in death. It's a BIG event and often such an undignified situation because of their sheer size. Not like a dog or kitty, for sure.

    This was very good information and thank you for posting it. I now have about 10 of my best buds buried on my farm. I have a lovely man with a backhoe who does the deed quite gracefully out of my sight. Those that have died in hospitals, I've had cremated at a very large cost.

    Your information gives me an alternative - getting them back home to be buried in a way that can be handled.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2002
    Posts
    1,012

    Default

    Thanks for posting that. As difficult as it is to think about,I am sure that information will come in handy some day. I am sorry for your loss. Always something new to learn about horses.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2002
    Posts
    1,012

    Default

    Er...one question... what do you use to tie them with? Would baleing twine be strong enough?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2004
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,392

    Default

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    When we had to put Cashel down on Thanksgiving night a few years ago my dad and I tried to fold her legs under her because I had horrible visions of them breaking her legs to get her out of the stall the next day. When I went out the next morning her legs had stretched out from the position that we had put them in. So I think mentioning tying them is a good thing. Fortunately we had a great guy come out to remove her body and he didn't have any issues.
    Missouri Fox Trotters-To ride one is to own one

    Standardbreds, so much more then a harness racing horse.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 24, 2005
    Location
    St. Simons Island, GA
    Posts
    6,466

    Default

    Really thoughtful thread here. Will definately have in mind from here on out.

    Godspeed to your boy.
    RIP Bo, the real Appassionato
    5/5/84-7/12/08



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 2, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    652

    Default

    Thanks for posting this. When my first horse died, it was in a stall off the property where we wanted to bury him, so we had someone transport the body and he was all stretched out with his head propped up against the wall, so he "froze" that way, lip hanging and all. They had some trouble getting him out of the stall, and when the truck came to dump him off, his body rolled out and fell the several feet to the ground with a rather sickening rigor mortis-y crunch - a horrible sight for teenaged me to see after I had thought the most tramatic day in my life was over. We left him under a tarp and buried him the next day.... and it was again traumatic to watch his legs rocking back and forth in the hole while we covered him with dirt.

    So sorry about your loss, but thanks for posting about this so I know when my next one goes, it can be in a dignified way.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2006
    Location
    Frederick, MD. Canada originally!
    Posts
    2,497

    Default

    Great info that isn't common knowledge but very very useful.
    So sorry about your loss.


    I had to laugh about the cow legs comment in the OP. I was heading off the local ferry with a load of school kids where I use to live and in the line up to load was the "knackers" truck. A set of incredibly visable cow legs were sticking up from the back. One of the kids looked back at a fellow classmate and said "Hey Joe. You're Mom died."

    I almost peed.
    True North Dressage
    Select Cheval Canadiens for dressage and eventing
    www.TrueNorthDressage.com



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2001
    Posts
    15,232

    Default

    Thank you very much for letting your loss be our education.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 26, 2000
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,142

    Default

    Very, very useful thread. Thank you for the courage of posting that and I'm so sorry for your loss.

    As horse lovers we eventually are all faced with this unfortunate but necessary situation on what and how to dispose of a beloved friend's body.

    I would actually think that baling twine would be strong enough to handle the folding. One cut string may not be long enough though so you might have to wind up using a few pieces tied together.
    Visit my farm at www.hiddenrockfarm.com



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2007
    Posts
    686

    Default

    I'm so sorry you've lost your horse, you definitely made the best and hardest decision for him, so congratulations to you for that.

    Thank you for this information. I hope I won't have to use it, but in working with livestock and pets, I will be glad to know it at all.

    Thanks to you all for your morbidly amusing additions.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2000
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    12,713

    Default

    FWIW, rigor mortis is transient and will pass if you can wait.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,174

    Default

    Thanks for posting this.

    Luckily I have not had to see very many pass, or after passing, but this information is great to have. Seeing the bodies afterwords was always more difficult for me, than the actual passing. It just seemed so undignified for these great creatures to be moved around, stiff as boards. I would much rather see one seem to be peacefully asleep.


    Ghazzu, can you share with us how long that process is? From when it sets in, until it subsides?
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    3,503

    Default

    Ghazzu .. how long before the rigor mortis releases?
    --Gwen <><
    "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."
    http://www.thepenzancehorse.com



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2006
    Posts
    16

    Angry Folding a dead horse

    Goodhors,
    Thanks so much for sharing. I live with the nightmare of knowing what has to come.
    My deepest sympathy to you and my greatfulness for your courage.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2000
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    12,713

    Default

    Varies with condition of animal, cause of death, environmental factors,etc., but begins within a few hours, complete within 12, begins to fade after 24 or so, but can persist for 48.

    due to attachement of myosin to actin and lack of ATP to break the crosslink.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



Similar Threads

  1. In Memory of 21 dead horses - photos pg4
    By bryn in forum Off Course
    Replies: 170
    Last Post: Oct. 4, 2006, 08:18 PM
  2. 23 Horses dead in TX - warning for horse owners
    By Whitehedge Farm in forum Off Course
    Replies: 157
    Last Post: Jul. 27, 2006, 10:50 AM
  3. Ok now I might be beating a dead horse but...
    By brilyntrip in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 165
    Last Post: Nov. 15, 2002, 09:08 PM
  4. Two dead in one day. How many is acceptable?
    By Lord Helpus in forum Eventing
    Replies: 109
    Last Post: Mar. 26, 2002, 08:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
randomness