Vet 1 wants to euthanize... Vet 2 disagrees (insurance). UPDATE post 22!
[sorry about the spelling issues! I typed this on my phone and I don't know how to scroll down and edit.]
Not good! My 4 year old, raised my self, had a fractured C6 (8 weeks ago). He was initially fine and we treated aggressively medically (not a surgical candidate according to 2 surgeons). Thought all would be well. But it's not. He's now a grade 1-3 neurologically depending on the day. He's been at the hospital for about 3 weeks now.
My regular vet (well respected surgeon at a well known hospital) as out of town when he came in, so is not the primary vet on the case. His collegue is and that's fine, but they disagree on what to do. At first, they were on the same page... Not hopefull but let's do blood work (neuro panel), bone scan and myelogram before finalizing his fate. We did that. Everything points to what they thought (poor healing/arthritis at C6). Prognosis: never ride him; will deteriorate neurologically over months or potentially years.
Maybe, maybe, maybe could be a surgical candidate with chance of being a pasture buddy (I don't have pasture and he doesn't do well in a group). Surgery would by over 15k (some covered by insurance).
My regular vet says: let me know when you are ready to put him down. Insurance is on board, no problems. The other vet now wants to exhaust all possible treatments to extend life as pasture pet (or light riding, but hes not a trail horse- too hot, too unbroke). He keeps giving me inklings that this could improve with injecting the neck and high dose steroids. This seems great that we have something to try, but the insurance has a capped number of days from injury to when the horse must be put down from he injuries or there is no coverage. My heart says "who cares about insurance" because this is my dream horse and he was truly international quality, but my logical brain knows this horse will never be what he was meant to be (ridable) and putting him down now is worth it. He's WAY underinsured, so it not going to allow me to replace him with more than a new weanling.
Other problem: insurance is requiring both vets sign off on agreeing euthanasia is the only option because he has a poor prognosis for pasture soundness, but now the one vet won't. My regular vet is adament that the horse is dangerous to his care takers in his current state, should not leave the hospital, and should be put down. He seems to have gotten very potective of ME (has known me well since I was a kid; other vet is new to me)! He does not want me to get hurt or have the liability of him hurting a person at the barn.
This is making me sick making me make this decision. I absolutely love this horse! He has grow up to be more than I ever imagined. I was ready to put him down and move on, but now I've had all this doubt and complication added to the matter. The vets should be holding my hand through this, not punching me in the gut (I did kind of tell them that today).
Sigh... I guess I just needs some hugs and a shoulder to cry on.
Last edited by Worstalteryet; May. 31, 2012 at 06:09 PM.
I am so sorry this has happened to your heart horse.
The added stress of disagreeing vets and insurance is the last thing needed. From the description, it makes me question the 2nd vet. There is a limit to what any animal should suffer, what the chances for a decent prognosis and life are, and the hard truth of limited finances. I would almost want to say the vet is not being professional and is making this much harder for you and your horse. Disagreeing at such a difficult time, instead of working together as a group of caring, thoughtful people to find the best given difficult circumstances, seems out of line. Almost cruel. I don't have all the facts of course, but that is my impression.
Thanks bob! I appreciate your kind words. You are helping me think more rationally
I don't feel at all that the vet is trying to be malicious or uncaring. I think he legitimatly feels that he didn't do enough and is now expressing that. I think the root of the probably may have been the vets did not talk to each other before giving their "final word" and in defense of the new vet, maybe he didn't expect me to ask my regular vet to step in and exam the horse and review the imaging. That was probably partly my fault. In my mind, my regular vet was going to fully take over when he got back. He's known my horse since he was a foal.
My plan is going to be to ask them to discuss what to do between themselves (without me- it's too hard), and let me know the combined plan. If it is within reason, I will go with it.
Talk to both vets and tell them that you will do whatever they both agree on. Tell them that they are both making you sick with oposing view points and ask them to get togetheh for for your sake and come up with something they can both sign off on, for your and the insurance sake.
Sorry you are going through this. Frankly, I would not want the agreementto be that the horse is going to go on through painful and difficult adjustment circumstances and I think he should be put down. Tell the opposing vet he has to sort this out and get it together or no one is going to get paid. for your sake, there has to be some kind of settlement between them.
Trainer's website - photos of my horse Airborne under About and Francesca Edwards also in media page 1
Get a second (third) opinion to sign off on euthanizing. I have arthritis in my neck and would never wish that on anyone-I can't imagine having it plus a poorly healed fracture that caused me neuro signs.
Best of luck.
Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
Sam: A job? Does it pay?
Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.
talk to insurance again. We had to fight with insurance and a outside vet after our vet felt that putting a young mare that had shattered her knee should be put down and insurance/outside vet wanted to fuse the knee and leave a yearling a cripple for the rest of her life. For 3 days that poor filly had to suffer until we got the okay. I was so mad and would never use that insurance company again.
Get a second (third) opinion to sign off on euthanizing.
Best of luck.
This. The two vets at the clinic may never come to an agreement if they have not already. I don't know where your horse is, but sending the files to an expert in neurological issues might be the way to go.
At this point, tell the vets what YOU want and that's it!
If the second vet doesn't understand you and your horse's needs, find another vet.
Your horse should not be treated like a guinee pig.
Vets work for you, not the other way 'round.
Talk to the insurance company. Tell them you are going to fire the vet who won't sign off and then you want the horse euthanized. See if they will go for this. If they won't then get out your insurance policy and READ IT. I'll bet that you'll find you have the final call on this.
If they still won't go along, cancel the policy, fire the second vet, and then have the horse put down. You will have to pay for it, but in the end it will be vastly cheaper than spending thousands on treatment with a low probability of success.
Your horse is your property. The Company's only interest is in paying for things covered under the policy. As long as you've got a vet to do the job you're OK.
This situation really rates an SUX and I'm sorry you're where you are. But you are the owner and you have the last say in what happens. Speak wisely and in the best interests of the horse.
All I want to say is how sorry I am for you and your horse. I went through something very similar many years ago with a OTTB that had a shattered knee, laminitis in one hind foot, and had major skin/immune system problems. My local vet recommended euthanasia and I took him to a clinic where when they discovered he was insured they refused. I will spare you the hell I went through after that.
It's a big regret of mine that I didn't just take him to another vet and have it done (and forego the insurance altogether), instead I spent thousands more and found him a "perfect" home that turned out to be hell. If you have your own place then it might be a better situation than mine, but I can tell you neck/neuro issues are nothing to mess with, and there is a chance the damage in his neck is worse than you can see.
Anyway, I have no advice, I just hate it when vets behave like this, as if death is some horrible thing. But IMO it really comes down to them not wanting to put their name on those insurance papers.
I'm sorry you're having to go through this. I had to euthanize a 4 month old foal a few years ago due to a damaged c3 anc c4 vertebrae. He had neurological problems as well. He wasn't insured, he would have been euthanized regardless of what the insurance company wanted.
I also had to face the decision of whether to continue treatment and another surgery for my mare (the mother of the above foal) or to euthanize. Again, not insured, but I would have chosen euthanasia, even if the insurance company/vet didn't want to. My horse's welfare is my call.
Oh and if anyone wonders why I didn't just take my horse home and have it done, I was seriously guilt tripped by people at the clinic, and he was at the clinic because I was getting grief from do gooders at my boarding barn. I was talked into transferring him to a rehab facility.
Anyway, please do what you know is right and don't fall for the guilt trips and peer pressure.