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Euthanizing a horse in shock...

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  • Euthanizing a horse in shock...

    Just curious if being in shock causes the horse to react to the drugs differently than they would if the horse was in a "normal" state.

    Came out to feed last night and found the Aussie TB Eddie standing alone in the back of the pasture. Went up to him to see what was up (he is a chow hound and watches the clock impatiently in preparation for his next meal) and found that his radius was sticking out of his leg. He had lost a tremendous amount of blood and was in shock. When vet got out she sedated him (not sure which drug). Took 4 tubes of euthanol (is this the correct term?) to finally put him down. He was still standing until several moments after the second tube had been administered, had a heart beat 5 minutes later & then started regular & rhythmic breathing, gave him another tube, and still had a heartbeat 3-5 minutes later so he got another.

    He was an average sized horse- 16.2 hand moderately built TB.

    I've watched euthanasias before and had never seen one take so long to "finish." Do you think it was because of shock?

  • #2
    I know with racehorses that get injured running they often have to wait to sedate them and do surgery because their spleens are still putting out massive amounts of blood due to the physical effort, so they have to wait for that stop to calculate the sedative.
    Maybe it is something like that with your horse?

    the poor baby, I'm so so sorry for his pain,and your loss
    "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

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    • #3
      Found this on horses-and-horse-information.com:

      "Beyond these scenarios, things can get a bit more difficult. If your horse is badly injured or in significant pain it can be dangerous to attempt to use an injection. If it is in shock, its circulation may be too impaired to transport the drug to its brain and heart, and the veins may be difficult or impossible to locate to administer it. In this situation, the veterinarian may need to use a .22-caliber pistol to euthanize the animal."

      So sorry for your loss.

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      • #4
        I had this experience with chemical euthanasia in a horse with a broken leg. Vet had trouble locating vein, horse had 3 seizures (this made it a very dangerous situation as the horse was in a stall) and took approx 20 minutes for the heart to stop and stay stopped.

        If I had it to do over, I would definitely use a firearm. The horse was down already, so there was no chance of being run over.

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        • #5
          Yeah its definitely harder when they are in shock especially hypovolemic shock. There just isn't enough blood pumping to get the drugs where they need to be to do their job. It has been my experience that horses in such a state do not appear to be distressed by the whole thing which I found semi comforting. Godspeed.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home

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          • #6
            So Sorry For Your Loss.

            Poor guy, so sorry for your loss.
            www.Somermistfarm.com
            Quality Hunter Ponies

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            • #7
              nothing useful to add, but so very sorry for your loss.

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              • #8
                What Laurierace said, plus add on that all the catecholamines (adrenaline) being released from the shock of the event. They will counteract to some degree the euthasol.

                So sorry for your loss! That sounds truly horrific.

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                • #9
                  Ditto Laurierace. When I had a terrible colic a couple of years ago it took forever for him to go... his circulation and blood pressure were so bad at that point that it took ages for the chemicals to work... but I also ditto Laurierace in that it seemed peaceful and he didn't suffer more than he already was with the colic.

                  I'm so sorry for your loss.
                  -Jessica

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                  • #10
                    I had a horse with a broken leg once. It did seem to take longer and more drugs than I expected. He wouldn't go down, which I thought might have been because he was so "locked" in the standing position because of the pain in his leg. I think he was almost gone before we could get him to lie down.

                    Heartbreaking for the whole group of us there with him, sobbing our eyes out. So sorry you had to experience something similar.
                    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo

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                    • #11
                      Sorry for your loss during a difficult time. Been there, done that. Lost a mule years ago very similarly. No words to add, but my heart understands!

                      Godspeed.
                      Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                      Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!

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                      • #12
                        Yes, this is why many vets prefer to euthanize with a gun in these cases
                        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.

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                        • #13
                          I wonder if it was because of the seditive, I used to be a tech and I know when we had to sedate dogs before euthanasia it would make the process a lot more drawn out/slow. I would think maybe it would be the same with a horse too?

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                          • #14
                            btw- very sorry for your loss.

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                            • #15
                              What a terrible situation. I'm so sorry.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by dwblover View Post
                                Found this on horses-and-horse-information.com:

                                "Beyond these scenarios, things can get a bit more difficult. If your horse is badly injured or in significant pain it can be dangerous to attempt to use an injection. If it is in shock, its circulation may be too impaired to transport the drug to its brain and heart, and the veins may be difficult or impossible to locate to administer it. In this situation, the veterinarian may need to use a .22-caliber pistol to euthanize the animal."

                                So sorry for your loss.
                                This...our old arab had either a major stroke or aneurysm...he was going so quick. Hard to get a vein or anything. The vet finally did, but he was going faster than we could put him down. The drugs helped him because he was in so much pain..helped him relax to go.

                                Another qh had a major mesenteric infarction, he was so hard to be put down. He was so toxic, that the drugs just weren't getting to his brain properly. That big ol' heart kept on pumping, we actually had to help by smothering him. Just closed off his nostrils. That was tough....

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                                • #17
                                  I also just went through this and I'm very sorry for the loss of your boy.
                                  My gelding broke the large bone above the hock sometime in the night. Blood all around him from where the bone came through the skin. He was shocky. Vet was called---he's 45 minuets away so I gave IM banimine to help take the edge off his pain until the vet could arrive. My gelding then settled out of his shock and pain enough to actually ask for pocket treats. When the vet actually got there to put him down he went very quicky--gone within 2 minuets flat. Since he was an Arab, who are notoriously hard to sedate, I really think he went peacefully only because I had releived his pain before the vet got to him. Had the vet been say only 10 minuets away I probably wouldn't have given the IM and, having read your post, I'm so glad my boy was able to go quickly and quietly.

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                                  • #18
                                    I am sorry for your loss
                                    I wasn't always a Smurf
                                    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                                    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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                                    • #19
                                      So sorry you had to go through that. Hope that it's a comfort to remember that shock is nature's way of making severe pain bearable, so although euthanasia may have taken longer than one would hope, he was probably not in a state of awareness or suffering.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by hank View Post
                                        I had this experience with chemical euthanasia in a horse with a broken leg. Vet had trouble locating vein, horse had 3 seizures (this made it a very dangerous situation as the horse was in a stall) and took approx 20 minutes for the heart to stop and stay stopped.

                                        If I had it to do over, I would definitely use a firearm. The horse was down already, so there was no chance of being run over.
                                        I had a similar experience with a horse with a shattered shoulder. If I could do it over again, I would have used a firearm hands down.

                                        So sorry for your loss OP

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