I am very sorry that you have to make this descision!!! It is very hard on everyone.
I would let his friend see him after he is gone. They do know what death is. I had to put down my 6 year old gelding in March. I let his mom see and smell his body while they dug the hole and she never called for him.........she knew and seemed ok with it.
I also recommend having him tranquilized before being euthanized. I did for my gelding and all went fine. A friend had to put her gelding down about a week ago. They only gave him a sedative before the final shot and once that stuff hit him he took off running and fell into a ditch and died submersed in a ditch filled with water It was HORRIBLE for my friend to watch.........I will never do it like that myself.
Good luck! My thoughts are with you.
RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
RIP San Lena Peppy
May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010
Aw...I'm so sorry.This is so hard,I know.I had to put my boy down on my birthday last yr.November 3.He was 36 1/2.I found him down and alive.I sedated him heavily with dorm and ace before the vet came,since I didn't want him to try to get up and hurt himself.He was put down by my vet and it was very quick.I let my other boy watch.After he was gone I took my other boy over to him on the lead and let him smell him and have a look.This whole thing absolutely was devastating to me....I loved and continue to love this horse with all my heart.My young boy was very lethargic for a couple of wks and I actually thought he may have Lyme disease or something.It didn't really occur to me that he was mourning since he really didn't seem too fond of my old boy.Well I was wrong....he mourned for about two to three wks and then was ok.I think it's very,very important to let your other horse see him .I also have a goat that was my old horses companion...if you have no other buddies you may want to think about a buddy for your horse.This past weekend I had to be in charge of the nasty task of being there to put my friends horse down.He had a devasting injury and she couldn't handle it.He was 23.I sedated him lightly,added some torb(per vets instructions)and walked him up to a grassy area.The vet injected the first vial and he quickly went down.I was at his head as well as one other person to help ease him down gently.His heart stopped beating quickly.We had the man who was going to cremate him lined up to be there right after the deed.Careful planning is important.Be organized,have help,emotionally and physically.AND most importantly remember that this is the most important gift you can give your horse.It hurts like hell and you will mourn in many unpredictable ways.....give yourself time.You will have a hole in your heart ,but time will help to make it grow smaller.I'm sorry you have to go through this.
There was a thread pretty recently on this, and the consensus was to let the remaining horse see the one who was put down.
As for letting him be there while his friend is euthanized, you know their personalities. My horse would get incredibly anxious and stressed if he was away from his friends, so I had his pony buddy with us in the field while he was put down. The pony is very calm, and he kept my old man calm. When it was over, the pony came over and sniffed the old guy's tail for five minutes and that was it.
This is the hardest time, I think. When you are waiting for D-Day to come. Once it is over you will start to feel a little better.
It sounds like you two are lucky to have each other.
I am so very sorry.....big hugs to you. Your horse sounds very lucky to have had such a loving person.
My vet is great. He does a local at the jugular vein so the horse doesn't feel much. Then he sedates the horse heavily and we spend time with it. Then the final injection --- an overdose of barbiturates. I talk to him the whole time, so the last thing he hears is my voice. I ask the vet to hold the lead rope tight and make sure the horse's head doesn't hit the ground when he goes down. I choose a soft place. After the horse is down I cradle his head in my lap as he passes.
Once the horse is gone, I bring buddies out to see the body. If possible I turn them out with it. Some sniff and walk away, others take more time. It seems to help a great deal for them to see the body.
I usually don't go out of my way to let the other horses see the euthanasia process, but they often have (looking out of their paddocks) and they have always watched very quietly. They know.
The hardest part is now, the period between when you have decided and "the day." Spend time with your grand old horse, love on him and explain to him what is coming. He will be OK. It is such a gift to give him. Just keep telling yourself that.
I had this conversation with my vet yesterday. She does not believe in sedating or tranqing the horse before she gives it the pentobarbitol.
She feels it slows down the pent which is what will kill the horse and draws the process out.
I am not sure how I feel about any of this, since I always heard it was best to sedate/tranq, then give the final injection.
However, I want it done quickly...I don't need to let him pass slowly. Its about the horse, not me talking to him while he is sedated or tran'qd. When we start, I want it immediate.
The vet also told me, after the pentobarbitol injection, they go down fast and hard. She said they are at that point brain dead and don't know it or feel it.
I am having a hard time with all this too...I want it to be peaceful in the sense, I want my horse to go quickly, but under no conditions still be alive when he hits the ground.
I hope others chime in. Its not an easy topic. I know there is a difference between sedation and tranquilization, so would like to hear the specifics as well if they were to use either of those drugs.
In my own case, when we buried a horse who had died naturally. I let some see him, but most were freaked out. He died at tufts and I brought him home for burial. I have heard others let their horses come out to see the horse after it has passed and that was a good thing.
If I was to do it, I probably would put the horses in their stalls or in a paddock right next to where we were to euthanize. I would let them come to see their friend. In your case, I might want them both sedated to avoid any anxiety on either one. Nothing worse than horses getting frantic.
Best wishes, and I hope you get the answers you need. Very tough time.
I just did a bit of googling, and actually watched a video of two horses being euthanized. Unfortunately, they don't show the needle or needles or give any guideline...more show the horse dropping. It appeared very quick and easy honestly. Pentobarbital is a sedative, just one that if given in a high dose almost immediately renders the horse unconscious.
It appears from what I found that my vet was right about not giving anything prior to administering the pentobarbital since it slows things down.
this is what I found...I do hope it helps. Also, please ask the vet to call you to 'discuss' the procedure, if you are comfortable with that. Best to you.
What I did find is from the AVMA.
Pentobarbital or a pentobarbital combination is the best choice for equine euthanasia. Because a large volume of solution must be injected, a catheter should be placed in the jugular vein. To facilitate catheterization of an excitable or fractious animal, a tranquilizer such as acepromazine, or an alpha-2-adrenergic agonist can be administered, but these drugs may prolong the time to unconsciousness because of their effect on circulation. Opioid agonists or agonist/antagonists in conjunction with alpha-2 adrenergic agonists may further facilitate restraint.
In certain emergency circumstances, it may be difficult to restrain a dangerous horse or other large animal for intravenous injection, and the animal might cause injury to itself or to bystanders before a sedative could take effect. In such cases, which might include euthanasia of a horse with a serious injury at a racetrack, the animal can be given an immobilizing agent such as succinylcholine, but an anesthetic must be administered as soon as the animal can be controlled. After the animal is anesthetized, an overdose of the anesthetic can be used to accomplish euthanasia. Succinylcholine alone or without sufficient anesthetic must not be used for euthanasia.
Ok. I just love this horse. He's my really old gelding. 36 years old and just this past month starting to have lots of trouble getting around.
I need opinions about euthanasia. His pasture buddy who is very attached will be sad I'm sure. Do I let him see the old guy after?
Do I take the other horse away while it is going on?
What does one do? Are there better methods? What is the most painless way? I have only had one horse put down and that was years ago. The vet really made all the decisions on that one.
I just need to know what questions to ask the vet.
I am sorry for what you are going through, but I understand. We just had to put down my large pony that I got when I was 12. (I am now 37.) He was easily 35 years old. My old hunter, who is about 32 and our donkey both lived with him for the last 24 years. We had the pony put down out in the pasture, near where we wanted to bury him. We put the old horse and the donkey in the barn. After he had passed on, we let the boys out to go and see him. My old horse walked up to him and sniffed him for a few minutes. The donkey would only go as close as about 50 feet. He was an adopted BLM donkey and I think his instincts kicked in and he didn't want to get too close since predators/ scavengers would be coming in his natural environment.
I think it is important for them to say good bye. They need closure and I think it helped mine all move on. They never really whinnied for him or looked for him. They already understood.
Good luck with your decisions. It's very hard to let the old ones go, but know you are doing the best thing for him.
So sorry you have to go through this, but what a magnificent long life! What a blessing. Oliver screamed the split second his friend Ted went down (he could see it from his stall), and them immediately knew he was gone and after an hour or so of fidgeting was fine. With Copper, his dearest horse friend and buddy, he was just "Yeah, whatever, bye." You just never know. I am always one for letting them see their friend's body. <<<<<HUGS>>>>> and may these last days bring you all the love in the world.
Thanks so much for all your support. I have to do this next week when I get home. He's wobbly and gimpy and the vet said yesterday that we have to do this soon. I have to go out of town on a business thing for the rest of the week and I can't read these postings until while I'm on this trip or I'll just cry the whole time. I'm putting my life on hold for about 5 days, it's cool and pretty here in Kentucky and he's getting the last good out of summer until next week.
So sorry, I just had to do the same with a 34 year old in June. It's hard, and it sucks, but I have to say that the few weeks before were worse than actually going through it, so I hope that the same happens for you. My vets did a really fantastic job of respecting my horse without making the day a sobfest, and we all shared funny stories and memories of him. The best advice I can give you is to bring a good friend with you, and make sure everyone knows how you want things to go and respects your wishes. There's really no right or wrong way to do it, and as long as the horse goes quickly and you are not traumatized, nothing else really matters, so do whatever you need to accomplish that.
The consensus usually is to let the other horses sniff over the body; I didn't do that only because the other horses seemed unfazed, and no one seemed traumatized by doing it that way either. We did it just outside of the barn, with the other horses in their stalls.
Sending lots of good thoughts your way--it's never an easy thing to do, but sometimes it is the kindest gift we can give them.
My vet is awesome at this. She sedates them so they go completely down, and she controls the head so they go down easy. then she gives them the "pink stuff". it is always very peaceful and I have done many over the years.
I stood in for a friend for two last year with her vet and he didn't tranq or sedate. It seemed that they were more troubled. I prefer my vets method.
I have a 30 year old that I check on first thing in the morning and last thing at night, so I know what you are feeling.
Hugs from me and mine.
I got back on Saturday night and we had a great day yesterday. The vet came at noon to put him down. He was a great horse and crossed the rainbow bridge about 12:30.
His name was Luciano. We called him lucky. He certainly was. He was 36 this year. He was Danish. His sire was Aleksander 492, b. 1963 and his dam was Sissi, b. 1967. He had a wonderful life. His days were filled with teaching everyone to ride. My girlfriend whose horse now has Lucky's old double bridle said this morning that you never knew what you were going to learn when you got on Lucky. He could still do his single tempi changes when he was 27.
My husband reminded me that Lucky had spent his last years babysitting all the younger horses and making sure they were safe. He could still canter up the pasture last week but his front right knee was just falling apart and we were afraid of an accident. Last week's radio graphs showed that things were on a rapid slide down.
I groomed him, washed his face and said my goodbyes this morning.
I grated some apples for him to have while the vet was prepping him in the pasture. It was a beautiful day, calm and mild. He was given an injection to sedate him and after he went down the vet gave him the rest.
It was a peaceful end and I'm glad I was there with him. I'm grateful for all the help from my vet and my husband. Everyone was super.
I was Lucky to have had Lucky for so many wonderful years. I had him 19 years. What a stoic, brave soul.