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Is euthanasia a reasonable choice here?

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    Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post

    Excuse me?

    The only thing the OP lied about was who the horse belonged to, which I have no issues with since she doesn't want the judgement. She's getting a divorce, she has a lame 4yo that she's now afraid of because it's rearing out of pain. Now she's running out of money to both continue to attempt to fix, train, and sell this horse. Blowing through Equioxx is my vet's line in the sand for euthanasia.

    Personally, I think that a horse that rears in response to a pain issue might not ever rear again when that pain issue is resolved so while I might mention it to a buyer I wouldn't consider it a big deal.

    However, it sounds there's a lot more involved than a simple issue and with limited funds on a 4yo the OP is making the right decision. Who wants a 4yo that's had extensive lameness issues? It's not like the horse is a schoolmaster. She's running out of money for board, training, and vet work.
    She asked a question. I have an opinion. It doesn’t need to match yours.


      No, but you possibly could show a little more compassion for somebody going through a very difficult and heartbreaking time instead of judging so harshly and without really knowing poster or the horse. Expressing the opinion is fine, pronouncing absolute judgement on this poster, not so much.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


        Originally posted by TWH Girl View Post
        IMO no, putting horse down is a cop out in this situation. You made this situation yourself and no one forced you into it. Try to do right by this animal first. It's not his fault. Also I think it's really crappy to lie about the circumstances and try to justify actions by getting strangers an internet forum to tell you it's okay. I don't think it is and you asked. I've just lost all respect here and will not follow further. Poor horse.
        No, the OP didn't make this situation; the trainer who gave/sold her this horse knowing full well what was wrong created it. If anything the OP should be commended for giving a crap about this horse that the first owner didn't. He very well could have ended up in the wrong hands and been on a truck to Mexico.

        Summerfield, I am sorry you are going through this. Euthanasia is a very humane option in this case and you should not feel guilty if it is the one you chose. Most vets in my area won't bring it up until an owner does unless it is an emergency situation. I hope your vet is more caring and compassionate than a couple of posters on this thread.


          People are so quick to condemn euthanasia of a young horse because they care about animals, but none of them are stepping up to pay the $150,000 to board, shoe, and provide special veterinary care to keep it semi-comfortable in the pasture for the next 25 years.

          It seems to me that half the "animal lovers" on social media say the things they do not out of actual love of animals, but out of a desire to prove their own moral superiority.


            Originally posted by TWH Girl View Post

            She asked a question. I have an opinion. It doesn’t need to match yours.
            Your opinion is wrong. She's spent 2k on a horse that walked off the trailer lame and is now looking at a large reduction in income and a 4yo horse that isn't pasture sound. What else would you like her to do?


              I have a horse who has had a lot of issues. And has learned some undesirable behaviors from it. While he's now rideable by a trainer and was even rideable on the buckle by a friend of mine last summer who asked for a half lease until he promptly developed another issue and I pulled the plug on that idea. It was difficult for me to even contemplate a half lease because I have so many balls in the air trying to keep him healthy. This friend has a physical job, and I wouldn't want her to get hurt.

              Although we may have gotten to a point in our relationship where we are not a good fit as far as riding goals, I will not rehome this horse. I have made this decision firmly. If I cannot care for him any longer, I will put him in the ground. While having made this decision is a hard burden to carry on the days he nickers and comes trotting up to me in the paddock, I've also been carrying the emotional and financial burden of his pain for 5 years already, and I am afraid of an outcome for him that is worse than death. I take it a day, month, year at a time. I am fortunate that I do not have some of the other life issues going on that the OP does.

              Now, OP could shell out $$$$ for Pro Stride in 2 joints and see what happens. What if it doesn't help at all? Would euth be ok then? If so, why not now? The location of the defects is not a kind area. This is most likely not going to be a one time injection thing even if the injections do work. I may have given a lot of money to my vets trying to deal with chronic problems, but I can't blame anyone for not wanting to or being able to do that.


                OP I just want to say that this is a crummy situation for you. Whatever your decision will be coming from a place of kindness and understanding of what this horse has gone through. No judgment here on whichever decision you make. I am thinking of you and am sending cyber hugs.


                  OP, I hope that you are able to be gentle with yourself as you are navigating your way through this (and I am so sorry that this is the second time you have been in this position - horses are heartbreakers).

                  I would look at playing "what if". If you do the prostride, what can happen? 1. It doesn't work. (Easiest answer - you still have a lame horse, no progress.) 2. It does work (but what does 'working' look like?) This is something to discuss with a vet (and maybe a second opinion). Is this a case where one treatment = complete improvement? Is this a case of looking at continued treatment annually? How long will it be before you know it's worked or not?

                  If the answer on "what does it mean for the prostride to work" sounds like a favourable one to you (say a one time treatment results in a horse who could comfortably be ridden/worked with a good prognosis for soundness for many years to come) then I would look at what does it cost you to get there. There's the financial input for any treatment, there is the time involved (would there need to be a series of injections, is it a one-time thing, is there a period of time before it is effective). Are these costs you can bear financially and in terms of time?

                  As it is, you are out 2k on diagnostics on an unsound horse. I don't personally know the cost of prostride, but I'm leery that it's probably on the upper end of costs based on a quick search. Likewise, spending money on something that isn't a one-time=solution but an annual upkeep situation is a hard sell especially if it's expensive (if you are able to rehome, who would be willing to take on that cost? there are plenty of young and affordable OTTBs who aren't dealing with lameness issues).

                  Ultimately, I don't think there's a right or wrong decision for you to make. It is clear you have already committed significant resources into this horse for diagnostics and treatment options and I am very sorry that you are having to deal with the choices you are. If you choose to euthanize, I do not think you would be wrong to do so.


                    It's almost impossible to remove the emotional element in a decision like this. If you could it would certainly make it a bit easier. As long as you have mapped out all aspects of the situation and the realities, then the decision is correct. Given the situation you are presently in, and the apparent quality of life issues with your horse, I would absolutely look at euthanasia. Even if you could keep the horse pain free, it really isn't viable to expect to be able to ride it as normal. Talk to your vet and pick a day. Keep your pony happy until that day and then he will be forever happy. You are absolutely doing the right thing by taking the burden and making the decision yourself. It is your responsibility as the owner. Thank you for taking on this responsibility, even when it's the hard decision to make. You should be proud.
                    Some days the best thing about my job is that the chair spins.


                      Euthanasia = free from pain, free from harm, free from fear.

                      I may soon have to make this decision for my (coming) 19 y/o homebred mare, and also for my coming 17 y/o gelding that I bought when he was a three-month old colt. It sucks but I have to do what is in their best interests.

                      OP, do what you think is best FOR THE HORSE and don't let naysayers guilt you into making what you know is the wrong choice. And don't have any regrets.


                        Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                        Come on, we all knew it was the OPs horse from the beginning or at least should have. I don't see how that makes any difference. Having spent the better part of three decades doing animal rescue I will choose euthanasia over rolling the dice that the animal will have his needs met adequately for the rest of his life every single time. I will also keep that decision to myself once having made it for the reasons that are easy to see in some places in this thread.
                        I've euthanized plenty of horses, for various reasons, and unless someone else has offered to take the problem off my hands and I can trust them to do right by the horse (right according to my standards) then I'm uninterested in their opinion. They can give it (pro or con) if they'd like, but I just have no interest in it. My horse, my decision.

                        Now if they have information or experience that may help with the problem, or they're willing to put their money where their mouth is, then I'm willing to listen.


                          Original Poster

                          Thank you all for the feedback. The vet said that she would be willing to euthanize the horse.

                          My biggest concern is that even if I do the Pro Stride (About $1400, and it is typically done on a yearly basis) or even a steroid injection, what the odds are of finding a flatwork-only home willing to do that kind of maintenance on a 4 year old. I also don't think injections of any kind are a magic bullet, and eventually they will stop working. That assumes that she is sound after injections for a reasonable period of time. (Again, blocking to the fetlock only resulted in 70% soundness. I don't know if anyone who has more experience in blocking can interpret that differently).

                          The vet didn't believe the rear was pain-related, but I 100% do, as she has been increasingly reluctant to go forward as her lameness has worsened.. So that either means she is a stoic horse who finally said "No," or, if it wasn't pain-related, then I have a serious behavioral problem (it was a HIGH rear with no warning.)

                          I am trying to get in contact with some of the TB rescues, as I believe they have a much better chance of finding that kind of home than I as a private seller.


                            If you do not treat (successfully) and do not euthanize, I would not try to find (yourself or through a rescue) a riding home. I would put money on the balking and the rear as being pain related and a big fat NO to work. Whether it’s 100% from the fetlock or partially from whatever the other 30% lameness is, it doesn’t matter. She is learning how to yell at people to be heard, and if that is ignored maybe next time she flips.


                              I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it again:

                              Euthanasia is not cruel. Prolonging suffering is cruel.

                              If you can't end the suffering, and there is little hope for recovery, euthanasia is absolutely a humane choice. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't truly understand animal welfare.


                                Originally posted by Dressagelvr View Post
                                The ONLY acceptable time to euthanize is when it is in the ANIMAL’S best interests.
                                Why do you feel that euthanasia is not in the horse's best interest in this case? This horse surely sounds like they are in pain. Treatments so far have been unsuccessful. Is not death and freedom from persistent pain not a good thing? I personally believe that there are things worse than death for all of us.

                                You and a few others are yes, entitled to an opinion. Speaking (well, writing) with no empathy filter employed is, IMO, not acceptable. OP has been treating this horse. She is looking for feedback on the possibility of successful treatment. She wasn't looking for a pile-on that she's a horrible person.

                                In a similar situation (which I never had to face) I'd be considering euthanasia over the possibility that the horse would end up in a bad situation because the pain was not treatable. My mare, when I moved to a different state, was fighting a mild stifle unsoundness. When I moved, she stayed with someone I trusted until it was time for her to cross the bridge. If my friend hadn't been able to board her, I'd have euthanized over selling and spending the rest of *my* life being stressed over where she might end up.

                                OP, you have my hugs and thoughts. You are facing a tough decision and having to deal with the emotions and decision that go along with a divorce. I can't speak to a possible successful or pain-free future for your horse. You have a vet who will support your choice if is euthanasia and you will certainly get no resistance from me.

                                Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; John Gilliespie Magee, Jr


                                  Generally, Legit rescues cannot take horses dropped off by people who expect free care with no donation that are on continuing pain meds just to stay pasture sound . Some will when accompanied by a enough of donation to cover at least a year. They will put them down if they are unadoptable or they are a hospice type retirement only facility. Their money needs to go to horses that are adoptable or those still able to get around without pain. Most feel not getting around without painkillers is a quality of life line in the sand. These rescues will tell you they get tired of getting horses dumped on them by owners who just can’t or won’t do it so they get stuck with it. Rescues can’t afford expensive vet procedures or continuing heavy pain killing meds neither.

                                  There are rescues that take them in and haul them to the low end auctions to fund continuing operations.

                                  OP, you’d only be kicking the can down the road trying to donate him, passing what needs to be done on to somebody else. Something that whoever it was who sold you this horse did to you. Passed their problem to you. And charged you for it.
                                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                    There’s nothing wrong with euthanasia and nothing wrong with contacting a rescue. I am not a vet but having been in the TB industry, I have seen a lot of OCD lesions and complications. Many grow out of them and it never cause issues, some have them with no issues, some have them and they cause issues and surgery helps, others have it and there’s absolutely nothing that you can do. I know of a mare that had awful OCD lesions (barrel horse not a TB in this case) created from too much work too soon. She is not riding sound but can be bred with no pain.

                                    But here’s the deal. If the horse could get better, he simply would have with some of the therapy you’ve already tried. Would he be 100%? No, but I would have to think you’d see even a 1/2 step forward rather than him peddling backwards as seen on the lameness scale. I couldn’t imagine someone taking this horse willingly, especially knowing that some therapies have already proven to not work and the horse got worse. To even consider surgery is a huge undertaking and you’re not going to know if it’ll actually solve the issue. I’ve seen that happen before as well.

                                    It might sound cold but you don’t know this animal and he’s already thrown you. You have NO idea what he’s like without pain, who’s to say he’d even be a match? I’m all about helping animals in need, but not if it’s going to cause this animal to suffer and you to go bankrupt. Quite honestly he sounds like he is just plain miserable. Like someone said above, horses don’t know what time is. They just want to be pain free and have a full belly, that’s all. I’m very sorry you’re going through this and I’m sorry for the horse. I’ve been handed some horrible horses and the one thing my dad told me was that at least they landed with someone who will finally do something right by then. While this may not be what you wanted, perhaps YOU are what HE NEEDED, to finally have the life (which could mean the peaceful ending) he deserves. You’re not a horrible person BTW. You’re very kind and brave to take this horse on and then try desperately to find the best decision. Also sorry to hear that you’re going through a divorce. Seems like this next New Year is full of changes for you and I hope they all end up wonderfully for you❤️
                                    Ride with seat and a little less hand, doesn’t matter if you’re jumping a fence or chasing a can🛢


                                      OP, I'm so sorry you are going through this on top of a divorce. Sometimes all the bad stuff hits at once and it sucks.
                                      It's clear to me that you want to do the best for this horse. Bad would be selling him at an auction, passing the buck, or letting him continue to live in pain. I would blame you for doing one of those. I would not blame you for choosing euthanasia. God knows it is always a hard, painful choice. Hugs.


                                        OP I feel for you and your horse. I wish you the best working with your vet and possibly rescues. Sounds like the horse is in pain and no assurance that would or even could be managed in a suitable home....euthanizing seems reasonable. I am sorry such inconsiderate rude responses were written by TWH Girl and Dressagelvr


                                          So sorry you're going through this, OP. Been there, done that with a horse who should have been my longtime partner. I agree 100% that euthanasia is an option, maybe the best one, for this horse. She should not be rehomed as a riding horse of any kind, even light trails--that rear was almost certainly because it just hurt too much to do what you were asking her to do. Because it's likely that conformation contributed to her condition and because the extra weight of pregnancy would likely be painful to her, rehoming as a broodmare isn't an option either. And companion horses are already a dime a dozen, and many of those don't require the maintenance this mare would just be pasture sound.

                                          If she's bilaterally lame all the time on a straight line, she's very likely in constant pain. In fact, because it's bilateral, she's likely not showing as lame as she would if it was just one side because the other side hurts just as much so favoring one side makes the other one hurt and it just cycles on and on. She could very well be in more pain than the lameness scale reflects because it's both sides.

                                          So you have a horse who is almost certainly in near-constant pain and will be for the rest of her life without (and very possibly even with) extensive intervention. At some point, what are the long-term effects of the treatments? With a horse this young, you're looking at a long time on treatment, if it does work (and "work" is relative as has been mentioned).

                                          I think someone already mentioned it, but if there is a vet school nearby, you could ask about donating her. She might be immediately euthed and her joints used for teaching purposes, or they might use her in a study of some kind and then humanely euthanize her when it's done. Either way, someone is learning from her and it might help other horses down the line. But if that's not an option for any reason, including that it's just not something you want to do, then yes, euthanasia is an option, it's a kind and gentle option. This is NOT a "convenience euthanasia" situation at all.