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Putting a mostly healthy horse down. The emotional side.

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  • #41
    Originally posted by hosspuller View Post
    I had a dog that was an unpredictable biter. Sweet & calm one moment, Tooth and claw the next. He was PTS for the safety of the people around him.

    It was a hard decision, as is yours.
    I had one too.

    It turned out that it was a brain tumor. Certain visual stimuli provoked an adrenal response, like flashing lights can trigger an epileptic siezure.

    Because of my experience with my dog, I would second the poster who said to donate her to a vet school. They will be kind as they study her, she will feel no pain, and then be put down, and studied further - and maybe because of her, they'll learn enough that someone else doesn't have to go through this.

    Comment


    • #42
      Originally posted by CHT View Post
      Thank you for the words/thoughts.

      DH is dealing with this by avoiding discussing, but now vet results are in I feel it is time to decide so I can be free of the "what ifs" and the "can I really do this".

      I hadn't even considered having someone else help the vet. I am sure that would make it less stressful for all concerned but wonder how I would feel not being there. She can be tricky to catch.
      First of all, I'm so sorry you're in this situation. I have a red mare and hold a special place in my heart for them. It sounds like you're a loving and responsible horse owner and you'll make the right decision for your mare. Second, being there or not being there is a big decision. I have only been through one euthanasia, my beloved dog, and I'm so glad I was there to hold her. As hard as it is, I think it's a process you need to go through and I think you'd regret not being there. But everyone feels differently, so give this one a lot of deep thought and do what's best for you in the long run.

      Hugs to you.

      Comment


      • #43
        Originally posted by CHT View Post
        Part of me feels I need to be there when she is put down....maybe as my "punishment" for failing her? I know that is stupid, but I think that is how I feel.

        DH is avoiding the discussion as predicted. I just want the decision made so I can make my peace with it.
        I faced this decision a few years ago. My mare went off like a bomb at unpredictable times. One farrier fired us. She hurt one of the barn workers when she exploded and threw the young woman against a wall.

        I made the arrangements - arranged for the vet and the hauler - but my trainer and his wife were the ones to stand with her when the time came. Not that I couldn't bring myself to do it, but because I wanted her last moments to be filled with peace. I could not bring peace.

        I'm so sorry. It's the hardest part of animal ownership; being the one to send them on.

        Comment


        • #44
          Wishing you peace and closure. You are expressing all the same emotions I would feel making this tough decision. As far as being there, either choice is "right," but I have never regretted being there.

          Comment


          • #45
            http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...umane-Solution

            Been there.

            Your mind will play with you, try to get you to blame yourself.

            Don't let it.

            You dig deep and do what is right. No good will come to any human or the horse when the horse is dangerous.

            Comment


            • #46
              Been there, done that. I had a gelding that was going to kill someone, very lucky he didn't kill me. Euthanasia was the best decision for the horse and for me. The horse never suffered and I don't lose any sleep wondering what has happened or could happen. That being said I cried all the way home from the vet clinic after I had him put down.
              Things happen for a reason...so when I reach over and smack you upside the head, just remember...you gave me a reason!

              Comment


              • #47
                To you OP, my sympathy and respect. I can only hope that in the same situation, I would have the character and strength to make the same decision. You are being a good example of responsible horse ownership. I hope others notice.
                Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

                Comment


                • #48
                  Originally posted by hosspuller View Post
                  I had a dog that was an unpredictable biter. Sweet & calm one moment, Tooth and claw the next. He was PTS for the safety of the people around him.

                  It was a hard decision, as is yours.
                  I had a dog like that and the Vet diagnosed "Rage Syndrome". I tried lots of things, but it was what it was. When he finally tore my arm apart, that was when I knew he couldn't be made safe..

                  I'm sad about what had to happen, but I'm also relieved that I'm not putting anyone in danger with him.

                  It's always hard. But OP, you are doing the right thing. Via con Dios.
                  Founding Member: Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique

                  People used to ask my Grampy, "What's your favorite color of horse?" He'd answer, "FAT".

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    We had a dog that we had to put down due to his behavior. I was a kid (and the only person the dog really liked) and it was and is still hard to think about, but it was the right choice.

                    Even putting the unhealthy ones down is emotional. Had to make that call yesterday with my mare and I've been crying off an on since. That was the first time it was MY decision and it does feel like playing God. Turns out nothing could have been done to help her, which should make me feel better, but I'm still a wreck. Now I've got a month old orphan to deal with, but at least I've got a piece of her.

                    Happy thoughts with you OP for the tough choice.

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                      I recently had to put my gorgeous, seemingly happy and healthy 8 y/o eventing horse down. He had a minor mystery lameness that cropped up and after tons of farrier visits, vet visits, and a final hospital visit it was determined that he had had a fractured neck as a baby and now the arthritis and bony changes were putting pressure on his spinal cord, causing him to be neurologic. We took x-rays to confirm, but I put him down same day. I had seen his demenaor completely change over the six weeks of diagnostic testing. He simply wasn't happy any more. He was in constant nerve pain, it was guaranteed to get progressively worse, and he just wasn't going to enjoy life standing in a stall. I mistakenly posted to FB and the vultures certainly did descend. I agree, though, that if the horse has no quality of life or is a true danger to itself or others, it is the kind and responsible thing to do put it to sleep. I just encourage you to do it quietly and be confident about your decision. Other people may try to criticize you, but the point is that you are doing what you're doing out of love and respect for the horse. You know that I believe your horse will know that too.
                      THIS makes me so angry - that other people have the gall to judge anyone for making the best decision for the horse, which is what you did. As others have said, animals live in the moment, and when those moments aren't good - whether due to a physical pain or a mental/behavioral one that cannot be resolved; nobody should have anything but hugs and blessings for the owner for doing what is right by the animal - even if it is hard for the human.

                      OP- <HUGS>
                      Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                        For an animal, today is forever. They have no concept of life expectancy or quality of life vs quantity of life etc. If she is good right now in her mind she is good forever. Makes no difference to her if forever is only for the rest of the day.
                        EXACTLY! This is what I tell people. I faced a similar problem with one of our rescues when I was operating a non-profit. He was a 12 year old TB gelding, who I believe had suffered a hip or pelvic injury at the track. He could not be ridden, and was very touchy around the hindquarters. After spending over a year (and getting quite attached to him) dealing with numerous abcesses throughout the body, he started becoming dangerous. He beat up my mare, who was retired and had been excellent companions for nearly a year. He kicked at a volunteer. He bit my daughter. I was faced with a horse who could not be adopted as a companion horse due to his sudden inability to not get along with other horses, and to top it off, he was requiring special shoes.He also had some quirks which meant he was not suitable for someone not experienced in OTTB's. This was during one of our really cold winters and I believed there was a connection to the cold and him being in pain due to whatever injury he had suffered at the track (he was well bred and winning big races, when he suddenly did not finish his last race and "disappeared".) Short of spending even more money to ship him to Ocala for expensive testing (which would most likely not resolve anything), I realized there was only one solution. His final week he was miserable. He wanted to be back with my mare and hated being alone. Our highs were in the 40's yet he was dripping with sweat from pacing the fence line. On his last day, he had pulled the hot wire off, knocked the top fence board off and would probably have escaped his pasture had I not interferred.
                        Of all the horses I have put down, this tore me up big time. I could not even be with him as the vet was injecting him, instead, bawling my eyes out in the barn. I felt I had betrayed him, but I know that it was the kindest gift to give him.
                        I honestly feel for you, I understand what you are going through. You are doing the right thing. A horse that is hurting and dangerous is a liablilty to have around. If she hurt someone, you would never get over that.
                        >hugs<
                        Lori T
                        www.calypsofarmeventers.blogspot.com
                        www.facebook.com/LoriTankelPhotography
                        www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                          CHT, you've not failed her. It sounds like you have explored a lot of avenues and have come to the best solution. Choosing to make her end a GOOD, KIND one is doing RIGHT.
                          This! And thanks also to Laurierace for putting things so well. Truly it is a GIFT that you can give to this mare. By caring for her in this way (and euthanasia can be caring) you are giving her the gift that she will never end up in a bad place.

                          If you weren't a good, caring horse owner you wouldn't be churned up by this decision. Keep strong.

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            All these posts and 100% agreement. I love COTHers. OP, please do NOT feel like you have "failed her." You are doing the right, responsible, loving thing by this mare. Sending you hugs and wishes for peace and strength.
                            What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              I've been there. It was the hardest thing I've faced in all my years of owning horses. I had a decent support system, including two trainers and several vets that agreed with the decision. I didn't want the peanut gallery comments, so kept it between the pros and me - I'm not on FB but it is bad enough dealing with all the boarders in the barn, etc. I'd already had enough of the try this, try that, etc. advice from people that had no clue what was going on with the horse.

                              I made arrangements over the phone, trainers got him to the vet, everything taken care of there. It was the right thing to do, I have physical scars from that horse (and I'm not an easy target), I had no where else to turn (vets stumped, after exhausting insurance policy and spending thousands of my own $ too), and I was scared to bring him home to "retire" for fear he'd hurt my SO.

                              I'm sorry your husband is not participating in the discussion and decision. I have a very supportive SO, but he also had a bit of a hard time dealing with it and left it all to me. It was a dark and quiet household for that week or so.

                              You sound committed to doing what is right, and I'm sure you'll find a way to deal with it. Lots of good advice here. Much of it mirrors what my trainers and vets were telling me then, which was helpful.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by blame_the_champagne View Post
                                I recently had to put my gorgeous, seemingly happy and healthy 8 y/o eventing horse down. He had a minor mystery lameness that cropped up and after tons of farrier visits, vet visits, and a final hospital visit it was determined that he had had a fractured neck as a baby and now the arthritis and bony changes were putting pressure on his spinal cord, causing him to be neurologic. We took x-rays to confirm, but I put him down same day. I had seen his demenaor completely change over the six weeks of diagnostic testing. He simply wasn't happy any more. He was in constant nerve pain, it was guaranteed to get progressively worse, and he just wasn't going to enjoy life standing in a stall. I mistakenly posted to FB and the vultures certainly did descend. I agree, though, that if the horse has no quality of life or is a true danger to itself or others, it is the kind and responsible thing to do put it to sleep. I just encourage you to do it quietly and be confident about your decision. Other people may try to criticize you, but the point is that you are doing what you're doing out of love and respect for the horse. You know that I believe your horse will know that too.
                                That is exactly why I have never spoken about putting down any of my horses beforehand on this thread. It is a personal decision to be made and only you and those involved can make that call. It is easy to be the armchair quarterback. When my former rescue partner questioned my putting Teddy down, I told her to come get him from my barn and that she could take care of him, if she didn't want me to euthanize him. We did not speak for 6 months after that, although I am glad we have resolved our differences. You know what is best for the horse, and certainly nobody on the internet can despute that.
                                Lori T
                                www.calypsofarmeventers.blogspot.com
                                www.facebook.com/LoriTankelPhotography
                                www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  I can't agree with the vet school donation idea. If she's not safe to be around in her familiar barn setting, it's only going to get worse in a vet school with lots of different students (with widely varying horse handling experience) trying to learn how to do procedures on her. (Sidebar: a vet school is not going to agree to a restriction like "nothing cruel"- as defined by whom? Any medical procedure and recovery is likely to involve some pain. Even if the students are simply learning how to do IV injections or gastric tubing, that's probably not a real fun day for the horse.)

                                  OP, I think you are doing the right thing. I hope DH comes around and supports you in this. But it's a tough thing to confront and maybe you just have to be the strong one. Over the years Mr HH and I have faced quite a few PTS decisions. Usually we're completely in sync, but there were a couple where I knew the time had come, but he didn't feel strongly. And vice versa. It's certainly easier to deal with the loss when you're both actively saying together "Yes, it's time", but sometimes you have to just give each other the space to abstain (without it being interpreted as lack of support or trust).

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    OP I am sorry and when you actually see the possible damage that a horse like that can do, it is sobering. I came into contact with an extremely agressive horse once at a schooling show and my TB never went into that warm up ring again without balking. There was never any physical contact between my horse and the agressive horse but had there been, myself and my horse would have lost. I do hope that owner put that horse down, he was not allowed back at the showgrounds.

                                    I also have helped people when they euthanize their horses. It is easier for me since I am not the owner and I can deal with the vet and the hauler. I would ask someone to help you, you would be surprised how many people will come out to help if you ask. Likely not DH but others can help, let them.

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Please don't hesitate to ask someone else to help on the day.

                                      Many of us have held way too many leadshanks and leashes on the last day and were happy to give what comfort we could from a less emotional place.
                                      The death of any animal is sad, but sometimes necessary to be humane. It's why some people work in the ER trying to save lives and some work in hospice, to bring what comfort and peace they can at the end. You may not be at either end of the spectrum, but you are doing the right thing. Sometimes the right thing is the most difficult.

                                      It's likely quite hard for your DH to not be able to give you the comfort, help, or answers you need. There aren't any magic words and he may be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, especially if it's the "first time" he's had to cope with and "intentional" end of life issue. Makes a lot of other hard conversations come up sometimes. if he isn't being a jerk, tell him you just need a hug and give him a pass.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                                        At the risk of sounding new-agey, I will say that there is a very clear moment when the spirit of the animal leaves, and the body left behind is simply a body, no longer a being. If it helps, it's always been very clear to me that there's an "ahh" moment for the animal.
                                        Thank you for saying this as it has been my experience, too.

                                        OP, sorry you're faced with a difficult decision. We're here for you...

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
                                          To you OP, my sympathy and respect. I can only hope that in the same situation, I would have the character and strength to make the same decision. You are being a good example of responsible horse ownership. I hope others notice.
                                          This! 100 percent! So sorry for the tough decision.

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