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Is this a kind end for an old friend ? SAD UPDATE POST 42

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  • #21
    Just out of curiousity, how does one find someone who offers these types of services? I had never heard of it before either, before COTH.

    OP-I can understand where you are coming from, it sounded like a barbaric thing to me when I first heard people talking about it. Then I started hearing horror stories of euthanasias gone wrong and it made me start to think that this might be a better way, if it is done properly.


    • #22
      Originally posted by Alter in Use View Post
      I've seen many horses put down over the years, and have not seen a bad reaction to it. It is hard to watch but it's over very quickly. Not that I doubt that it could happen.

      I have seen a deer attempt to be put down by a police officer. The deer was hit by a car, down and clearly dying slowly and I called to have someone come out and dispatch it as I didn't have access or knowledge to use a gun. Deer was shot 2x point blank in the head with a handgun, not sure what type, and was getting up as best it could to try and run away. The deer was not having muscle spasms, it was trying to get up by rolling onto its belly/shest and trying to get its front legs underneath itself. It was horrible and the cop got another call and so had to leave before the job was done. Obviously this cop did not know how to properly dispatch an animal.

      My concern is that since is just not commonly done at all in this area (I even called a few vets to ask about it - we're not far from Philadelphia so it's pretty urbanized), the person doing it will not be experienced and the potential for things to go badly is higher. I love my BO to death and she is a wonderful friend, but sometimes she doesn't always think things through and I'm wondering if she is asking the right questions about the person's experience while being that upset. I have not said a word to her about the method she has chosen, just told her I am so sorry that this mare needs to be PTS and that I will give her a big hug and a shoulder to cry on the next time I'm at the farm. I would never say anything to upset her further during a difficult time, and so have not said anything.

      Maybe I wasn't clear enough in the original post.

      I too am not too far from Philadelphia but not urbanized more suburban. (Pottstown). There are actually a few services in our area that will do it and have done it for a number of years. There was also a story in the Horse of DE Valley in the last couple of years where a vet used a gun on the backside at Phila Park to euthanize a horse.
      I personally know of a couple of horses horses that were picked up by a service and a gun was used to euthanize the horse. One the service took the horse back to their farm and did it there. Another loaded the horse in the trailer and dropped the horse in the trailer before he left the farm.

      When I was younger it was more common and Pet Taylor would come pick up the horse/pony and do the deed at his farm. If it wasn't urgent he would wait a few days until he had time to process the meat for pet food. It the animal was in pain he would do it immediately upon getting to the farm. He would also do it in his trailer at the horse's home farm for things like a broken leg so as to not tranport and unstable or critically injured animal.

      Therefore in the NE Philadelphia suburbs it is not unheard of. However if you talk to many horse people in this area they have no idea that there are people that still do it in this area. Some of the older vets have contacts for the services if people ask- especially those vets that are large animal vets not strictly equine vets.
      Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


      • #23
        Shame on you for judging your BO's decision. You have had enough posters on here tell you it is a humane end to the horse's life. Trust your BO to have someone qualified to put the horse down, it doesn't sound like she is someone who doesn't care.
        You have no way of knowing if the person is experienced or not, but like others said, it isn't exactly hard to do if they know how to use a gun.
        Well, I think the OP said that they were intending to keep their opinion to themselves no matter what, so I don't know if shaming is required (should be no shame in asking a question, no?), but I am going to chime in on the bolded part [mine].

        Let me preface by saying I am very much pro euth by bullet, I think it is a kind end for an old friend. I think recycling the body for meat (I'm assuming for zoo animals) is practical. Bodies are just an earthly vessel as far as I'm considered.

        However, I know of one person who did have her horse put down by bullet. The owner is pro gun, the shooter was a friend and iirc an accomplished hunter but had never shot a horse, and the job did not go smoothly At the critical moment the horse flung its head, the bullet wounded but did not kill and the flailing horse had to be shot again. Owner who witnessed the event said it was NOT as she expected or hoped, but the job was done and there was no ill will.

        Just about any person can have a gun and know how to fire it, and perhaps killed a lot of game or be a terrific marksman, but I personally would want to know the shooter has put down horses before having them put down mine. Heck, I'm friends with a Remmington gunsmith who is also a good hunter and *I* would not ask him to put down my horse.

        I believe - but am not sure - part of the problem with my friend's horse was his size, he was very tall and the shooter perhaps short. They relied on the horse keeping its head down and still and not flinging it at fly, etc. The devil is in the details so very often, and having things just right comes with experience... and can be the difference in the process going smoothly or not.

        Just food for thought.

        I do agree ultimately though, this is a case of myob.

        eta: I can completely understand the OPs feelings - needing to vent and ask questions - having witnessed a deer be shot multiple times and wounded and struggling. That is a very traumatic thing to watch.
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


        • #24
          OP, as many others have said, if it's done correctly, euthanasia by gunshot is considered quite humane. I work with an organization that assists local Animal Control with equine cases. We get a lot of calls from people who need to euthanize a horse but are short on funds, so wanted to explore low-cost euthanasia options we could refer people to. I did an informal survey of about 12 vets from the county regarding the local service that does gunshot euthanasia. I was surprised that every single vet I spoke with felt that firearm euthanasia was as humane if not more humane than drug euthanasia, and more than half of the vets had euthanized horses with a firearm.

          In our county, the rendering pickup man will euthanize a horse with a firearm for free if he is picking up the body. He does not advertise or offer this service as he says he does not want to compete with vets. You have to know to ask. The vets all know and bless his offering of this service.

          Glad you could explore your questions via COTH. Now go hug the old horse's owner, keep your thoughts to yourself. Euthanasia of one's own horse is a highly personal thing. Either way it sounds like the old mare is in caring hands.


          • #25
            My sister's vet put her horse down this way.

            Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by PremiumWarmbloods View Post
              I don't think the OP is judging the BO. She already stated that no matter what her opinion is, she will keep it to herself.

              I also have never heard of this "service" and as far as I know it is not done regularly in our community.

              I can agree with others that having a horse PTS by a vet isn't always the prettiest scene.

              Either way, having a longtime friend PTS is a terrible experience whether it is done by a "service" or a vet.
              PM, exactly - no judgement of the BO on my part. The method is her decision to make. I also understand her thoughts of the mare being useful even after she's gone, and have no issues with that. Again, the owner's decision, not mine. I did not express my concerns because I didn't want to upset her further, so thought I would ask here.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by buck22 View Post
                Well, I think the OP said that they were intending to keep their opinion to themselves no matter what, so I don't know if shaming is required (should be no shame in asking a question, no?), but I am going to chime in on the bolded part [mine].

                However, I know of one person who did have her horse put down by bullet. The owner is pro gun, the shooter was a friend and iirc an accomplished hunter but had never shot a horse, and the job did not go smoothly

                This is my concern. That where I am in central NJ, this is not really commonly done, and that the person who is going to do it is not experienced enough to do it cleanly. Now that others in the general area have said that is not uncommon, I think it's pretty likely that the person offering this service is experienced. I'm not trying to judge my friend for her decision, it's not my place.


                • #28
                  I haven't had time to read everyone's thoughts, but I thought I'd share mine.

                  If it was my horse, I would do what was best and easiest for the horse. Not what I thought was easy, comfortable or acceptable. There was an ancient mare at a farm I used to work at. Some days a couple of us would have to go out to the field and pull her up because she was unable to stand by herself. The owner made the hard choice before winter one year. I gave her a nice final grooming before the vet arrived. After two full-dose injections, that mare was still fighting to stand and I don't need to tell you to use your imagination to think about how that looked. As she struggled to stay standing on her fore feet (she lost the use of her hind end after the second dose) and looked around at us in delusion, I couldn't help but wonder what she thought of us just then.

                  A horse doesn't know what it means to have a gun pointed at their head. If the shooter is well trained with his weapon and has iron guts, then by the time the horse even hears the gunshot, she'll be lying peacefully. I hear stories of people who use injections to euthanize and they talk of calm, quiet reverie but I have yet to see an animal go down without a struggle.

                  If I knew someone to do it (who had a reference), I would absolutely allow them to give my horse that swift end if I knew it was her time.


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by buck22 View Post
                    Well, I think the OP said that they were intending to keep their opinion to themselves no matter what, so I don't know if shaming is required (should be no shame in asking a question, no?), but I am going to chime in on the bolded part [mine].
                    I think the original question is completely valid, and likely one I would have if I hadn't already heard of the method and heard experiences of it. However the Op still questions the BO after several solid answers, which seems overkill to me. It's not her horse, it really isn't any of her business. She has no right to vent about the method used to PTS this horse IMO. But no, no shame whatsoever in asking a question.

                    I'm very sorry for your friend's horse and your friend, that must have been a horrific experience. However, I think that even the most practiced person can have an experience like that. Horses are unpredictable after all.
                    come what may

                    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                    • #30
                      I think it is a kind and humane way to let an old friend go. I personally think it is preferable if done by a knowledgeable person. This would be my choice if I knew of anybody in my area that was experienced in it.


                      • #31
                        Either the AAEP or some big vet society has actually deemed euth by gunshot to be just as humane as chemical euth. Having heard personal stories from people I know about horses going badly by chemical means, I would absolutely do it by gunshot. My BF had to put one down like that out of necessity (broodie with a prolapsed uterus, no vet within an hour would come out, couldn't be loaded into a trailer with a prolapsed uterus and hauled several hours to a vet hospital). The mare went very quickly, before she had a clue what was going on.

                        A nice bucket of her favorite feed, and a quick shot to the head is about as humane a death as you can get.

                        I agree, shame on you for being so judgemental of someone who is about to lose an old friend and has made a clearly educated decision as to the best option for her situation. Had she not cared, I'm sure she could have sent the horse to auction.


                        • #32
                          Growing up in the fox hunt, it was considered a very honorable end for a hunt horse that had to be euthanized. We had a book that demonstrated the exact placement of the bullet in an emergency, but the huntsman was experienced in this type of euthanasia.
                          I also witnessed a captive bolt euthanasia, and if I could find someone who had one, that would be the method of euthanasia I would choose.
                          The rebel in the grey shirt


                          • #33
                            I am in favor of shooting vs. chemical euthanasia. This is a stupid thing to base my opinion on, but in his books, James Herriott frequently described killing horses using the "humane killer" - ie, captive bolt gun. To me that seems like an instantaneous, humane way of euthing a horse. I have read a lot of awful stories here on COTH about chemical euths gone bad.

                            I'd rather be able to give the body away to a zoo than have to deal with disposal where it would do no good to anyone.
                            I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
                              Have you ever seen a horse react badly to euth by injection? Trust me, sometimes a bullet is MUCH more humane.


                              • #35
                                I agree with everybody else that a bullet is very humane. I was against it for many years but after seeing 2 chemical euths gone bad this will be my method for my horses. 1 horse I had I had euthanized by my vet took forever and was very expensive. It was an emergency situation so I had no time to gather up the money for all the costs. Then when I had the rendering truck come and pick him up I had to pay over $100 to have my friend removed. So it was a very expensive and sad day . If I had him shot by the man with the rendering truck it would have been faster for the horse and cost me nothing because the meat would have been usable. I am sorry for your firends loss but I feel she made the best choice for her and her old friend. No judgement on your feelings here because I felt the same way as you do but now know the facts on both methods.

                                Oh forgot to mention my vets also recommend a bullet over chemical euth too.


                                • #36
                                  I would 100% choose a bullet over chemical euth for my horses. I'm not sure it will be possible with my mare where she is at the moment (barn in a fairly urban area), but my gelding I would 100% choose bullet over chemical if necessary. I've seen several chemical euths go bad and its horrible. My last memories of my childhood dog are of her going bonkers and biting the living daylights out of my hands and arms as I held her for the vet. I still have scars.


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Watermark Farm View Post
                                    In our county, the rendering pickup man will euthanize a horse with a firearm for free if he is picking up the body. He does not advertise or offer this service as he says he does not want to compete with vets. You have to know to ask. The vets all know and bless his offering of this service.
                                    When we had a rendering company in my area that would pick up horses this was the case, too. Certainly not something they advertised but something they did, no charge.

                                    A friend had their horse put down this way. It went smoothly.


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
                                      Have you ever seen a horse react badly to euth by injection? Trust me, sometimes a bullet is MUCH more humane.

                                      I've put down nine or ten horses over the years and the absolute worst was the sweetest most beloved little beastie. Most of the others were not quick and easy either. If I could be sure that 90% of the time a bullet would a peaceful end, I would consider that an improvement!
                                      Y'all ain't right!


                                      • #39
                                        If I said anything at all, it would be to mention possibly checking to see if the guy had any references she could talk to, just to be sure he really knows what he's doing.

                                        You might also take her out for a drink while it's being done.


                                        • #40
                                          I couldn't imagine NOT being with one of my animals when they were put down assuming I wasn't out of state and it was an emergency or something like that. No way I could stay with them when they were shot though. It's hard enough to watch them crumple to the ground, seeing the shot would put me over the edge I think. Taking her out for a drink sounds like a great idea to me!
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