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Euthanasia -- W/ or W/O Anesthesia

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  • Euthanasia -- W/ or W/O Anesthesia

    I've got an oldster who's coffin bones are rotating. He's closer to 30 than 20 so am probably looking at humanely euthanizing. Vet office quotes two different prices. One with anesthesia and one without. Wasn't thinking very clearly and didn't question. Someone want to educate me as to what is the kindest course?
    Susan B.

  • #2
    With anesthesia is often easier if the owner is present. Sometimes beuthanasia isn't pretty, hence the anesthesia. Some horses will "fight" the beuthanasia, so using the anesthesia completly sedates the horse before the procedure.
    Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.


    • #3
      I would ALWAYS go with anesthesia. If the vet didn't do that normally, I would insist. Whether I (the owner) am there or not, I still don't want the horse's last moments to be spent panicking or struggling.
      Proud member of the EDRF


      • #4
        I would go with anesthesia beforehand, or a bullet. I don't think I could watch the latter, but could handle being there for the former.
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          Definitely go with anesthesia. Imagine if you were given a drug to stop your heart without anesthesia or a very strong sedative.


          • #6
            I'm for NO

            I recently PTS my horse, I did not use anything before hand and everything went just fine. My vet explained to me that the sedation that some uses before hand actually decreases their blood pressure, decreasing circulation which make the euthanasia solution take a lot longer. Without there was no struggle whatsoever, it was peaceful and very fast. I would definetly choose no anesthesia again.
            To ride or not to ride; what a stupid question!


            • #7
              With. Never without I am sorry.

              When we put Killian down, I was able to sedate him so thoroughly that when the vet got here, he was already laying down. What a blessing that was in a time where even the smallest preservation of grace is a gift.
              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


              • #8
                Definitely WITH. I didn't know a vet would suggest doing it without.
                Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Coobie View Post
                  I recently PTS my horse, I did not use anything before hand and everything went just fine. My vet explained to me that the sedation that some uses before hand actually decreases their blood pressure, decreasing circulation which make the euthanasia solution take a lot longer. Without there was no struggle whatsoever, it was peaceful and very fast. I would definetly choose no anesthesia again.
                  So you are comparing short, possible struggle (seen or unseen), with comfort, possibly longer, in which case I still choose WITH. Really not meant to be personal, as many euthanasia are performed this way and go fine, and I am glad things went well with your horse.


                  • #10
                    Another vote for "With."

                    Bless you for doing right by the Old Man
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                    • #11
                      Euthanasia solution is actually an overdose of sedation. It actually slows everything down until the animal is "asleep" then continuing to give the euth solution the last step is stopping the heart. Animal is already "gone" by the time the heart stops.

                      I'm not advising one way or the other. Just stating what worked for me. In the past I have witnessed horses "fighting" the euth solution. I thought for sure that I would use sedation when the time came. After talking with my vet I opted without and I am very happy that I did. I would not have wanted to make it any longer for him then I needed to. He did not struggle, he did not suffer and already awful situation was over a lot faster.
                      To ride or not to ride; what a stupid question!


                      • #12
                        With. If all goes well it goes smoothly with just a sedation but if things go wrong you don't want to see what happens with the animal not under general anesthesia. Those extra couple-ten bucks are nothing compared to the total cost of entertaining a horse over any given period of time and it eliminates a lot of hazzle, 'what ifs' and 'I wish I hads'.
                        A well placed bullet will be just as painless but it is more difficult to watch and there has to be de-blooding after the stunning shot which is not pretty either. So if you are going to be present (which I complement you for!) go for a proper general anestesia and I think you'll sleep a lot better before and after. Bless you for thinking about those things beforehand and taking good care of your old boy into this age. Your horse is a lucky one
                        Froh zu sein bedarf es wenig...


                        • #13
                          I've gone both ways, not for my own personal preferences, but if I have a horse that is needle-phoebic, vet-phoebic, or gets very nervous easily, I sedate beforehand. It makes it easier on me and on the vet administering the euth drugs. But for my steady eddie's as I call them, no sedation was needed, there was never any struggling or fighting, they just went down quickly with the euth drugs and it was all over immediately. We put down the two oldest horses on the farm this March - both were having difficulties due to age and it was time. Neither needed sedation beforehand and all went very quickly and smoothly.
                          Susan N.

                          Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


                          • #14
                            Are they wanting to sedate first, or actually use the drugs that are used to induce anesthesia? We ALWAYS sedated first, made them relaxed and more comfortable, but still able to stand/walk. Made giving the solution easier and it seemed to amplify the effects of the euth solution. I'm not sure you would want to use induction drugs (which would make him unconcious), unless you had a place where you could lay him down safely.
                            When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


                            • #15
                              I'm all for making it as peaceful for the animal as possible, but either way they are being given drugs that they may be nervous about having administered, have some unexpected reaction to or anything else. Unfortunately there is no way to garuntee whatever method you choose will go smoothly. I think the most important factor is the attitude and professional skill of the people involved.


                              • #16
                                I've seen a few too many go badly, I've witnessed and been on heart attack victims. I've seen plenty, and I would not do it without sedation. They are sedated, they drop fairly gently, it's over. Not even anything to be scared of or look back on as a really bad experience. It is so peaceful and kind. A very sad moment that wasn't made worse by a "heartattack"type reaction..and that is ugly.
                                Sedate. It makes it a whole lot easier.


                                • #17
                                  I won't ever go the 'without anesthesia' route again. It was not a pleasant experience.
                                  "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Kareen View Post
                                    With. If all goes well it goes smoothly with just a sedation but if things go wrong you don't want to see what happens with the animal not under general anesthesia.
                                    I'm not trying to be argumentive or anything but it's not general anesthesia. General is what someone has when having surgery. For euth it's just sedation, not anesthesia.
                                    To ride or not to ride; what a stupid question!


                                    • #19
                                      With. Absolutely. And blessings for giving this horse the passing her deserves. Because nothing is scarier than someone with a foundering Real Oldster who does the bullshit heroics.

                                      And sorry that you have to do it.


                                      • #20
                                        If you horse's circulatory system is not already compromised (as with a colicking horse, etc.), I ALWAYS have the vet sedate the horse, wait for it to kick in well, then give the final euthanasia injection(s). Once your vet has given the euth. solution, have them grab the halter with both hands and rock your horse backward to assist them with going down, then hold the head hard with the lead rope to keep it from hitting the ground. Pick a soft spot, like an arena.

                                        Some people actually administer anesthesia and lay the horse down prior (the way you would with a castration or field surgery), then euthanize the horse.

                                        Bless you for making such a kind choice for your horse. I am so sorry.