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Horse is in terrible pain-owner will not put down. -UPDATE 1/11/07 Page 5

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    Horse is in terrible pain-owner will not put down. -UPDATE 1/11/07 Page 5

    I have a horse boarded at my facility that needs to be put down asap. The mare is 18, and has terrible arthritis. Her right knee is three times the size it should be, and the joint capsule is protruding. She has taken all of her weight off of that knee and put the weight on the other leg. The other front leg is just as bad. Due to having to hold the majority of the mare's weight, her suspensory has pretty much been stretched beyond it's limit. Her ankle only sits about three inches above the ground. The mare can not trot or canter, she is very lame at the walk. Her knee is calcifying, so she has a hard time bending it. In addition, she is dropping weight. She is being treated for ulcers (I believe they are from the pain/stress), and gets unlimited hay/alfalfa, 4 qts of "senior" feed twice a day, and plenty of grass turnout. The owners current vet said that she just has arthritis, and does not need pain meds and should not be put down. He said that the mare will let us know when she is ready to go. I suggested using a different vet. The owner had my vet do digital x-rays. My vet told her that the horse should be put down right away. He felt that the suspensory would snap at any point, and then the mare would be in incredible pain, and would not be able to walk at all. He also told her that the mare was in a great deal of pain, and that it was inhumane to let her suffer. We went ahead and scheduled to put the mare down the following day. The morning we were supposed to put her down, the owner called her old vet, and he convinced her not to go through with the euthanasia! It has been about one month since my vet said to put her down. The mare is still gimping around. Is there anything I can do? I hate to tell them to move to another farm because I don't think the mare can withstand a trailer ride, but I hate seeing her in so much pain.
    Last edited by Buglet; Jan. 11, 2007, 10:47 AM.
    Happy Hour-TB
    Cowboy Casanova - Brandenburg

    Do you live near university where they have a vet school? If so, can you recruit their professor to come over to write a report on the mare's condition? that might help the owner see the severity of the pain. The owner sounds like she will listen to a person with authority. Or, you can recruit your friends nad have them write down what they think. The mare will thank you.
    Will get a dream horse!
    More riding, swimming, and rowing, less posting


      Poor mare.....
      She isnt on any pain medication?
      i would have your veterinarian talk to the owner again. I wouldnt want to put her on a trailer either. You sound like you are this mares only hope!


        Talk to the owner about pain management. She needs to at least do this. Then perhaps you can arrange a little too many pain meds out in a nice field one day. Her heart just gave out you know. She just lay down and went to sleep, is a nice story.


          How about convincing her to get a third opinion?


            Having a horse put down is a VERY hard decision for a person to make. Having someone who isn't a close friend have their vet examine & schedule euthanasia for your horse isn't making it any easier.

            Do you think the owner is lying about her own vet's advice? If her own vet truly did say the horse isn't in excruciating pain, then you have to respect that her vet & your vet have two different opinons. Vets do not always agree. That's what their advice is called an "opinion" not a fact. The owner & owner's vet could truly believe the horse isn't suffering.

            Is the horse still eating OK? Is she able to stand & move around?

            Instead of ganging up on her with the help of your vet, why not try taking the friend approach and offer support. Get to know her. Try to understand her reluctance. Maybe she'll reveal the real reason she's reluctant to let the horse go... maybe you can (nicely) solve those roadblocks. Be there for her when she is ready to let go of her horse.

            Talk to the owner about pain management. She needs to at least do this. Then perhaps you can arrange a little too many pain meds out in a nice field one day. Her heart just gave out you know. She just lay down and went to sleep, is a nice story.
            Do NOT overdose the horse on pain meds yourself in an effort to kill her. It's dishonest, illegal, and it violates any & all trust the owner has in you. How would you feel if you found out another boarder OD'd your horse intentionally on a drug because she felt your horse was getting too old and needed to go?!

            You're also not a vet so you wouldn't know the right dosage or drugs to *painlessly* have her pass away. Get it wrong and you have a horse who is now very sick and may be in more pain from the screwed up kill attempt. At the very least you're risking turning the mare into a horse with liver damage. That is cruel.
            Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


              Take away all this woman's pain meds...then kick her right square in the knee and let HER limp around. See how she likes it.
              And the above applies to her vet as well...WTF???
              I pray that someone there at the barn is kind enough to at least slip a couple of bute tabs into the mares feed.
              Jingles to the old gal.
              Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.


                I have given her the number of three different vets, and recommended getting another opinion. She said that her vet has worked with the horse ever since she bought the mare, and that she completely trusts his opinions/recommendations. I hate this vet! The digital x-rays that my vet did showed a couple of small fractures in the one ankle that has the suspensory damage. He showed the owner the fractures, and she acknowledged that she could see them on the x-ray. She emailed her vet the digitals, and he said that he could not see a single facture. When the mare started dropping weight and going off of her feed, the vet said it was because the grain being left out too long was making her colic. I put the grain in the stalls about 15 min before the horses come in to eat it. It is stored in feed bins. I told her that the vet doesn't know what he is talking about, and that the horse has ulcers, and that is why it doesn't want to eat. The owner asked the vet to check for ulcers, and WOW she does indeed have them. What an idiot! Anyway, we treated the mare for them, and now she is back to eating normally, but is still in a ton of pain. Her vet said that on really bad days, the mare can have 1gram of Banamine paste. EVERYDAY IS A BAD DAY! A couple of the other boarders have talked to her about the mare, and all of them told her that it was unfair to the mare to be in such pain. My horses's chiropractor (also a vet) warned the owner about having animal control called on her. After hearing this, the owner contacted her vet who wrote a letter stating that he has seen the mare, and acknowledges she has arthritis, but in his opinion there was no need to put her down at this time. The owner gave me this letter, and also posted one on our bulletin board. The owner is extremely nice, and truly loves her horse, I just think that she is not ready to let go, and sadly the horse has to be the one who suffers. I am very good friends with the owner. I have been the one there who holds her hand while she cries over the horse. About a 3 weeks ago the mare came in with her suspensory extremely swollen. The owner cried and cried and said that "this is probably it". The vet said that it was just a strain, and to give the horse stall rest for two weeks. All the swelling is gone, but the mare is still just as lame as she was before she got hurt. The mare is so lame that she no longer needs the farrier because she drags her feet. I do give her a bute every other day. I dont want to give her too much because of her past ulcers. The owner truly believes that the horse will let her know when it is time, but I think that the owner is going to wait until the horse's legs have given out, and she can't make it in from the field.
                Happy Hour-TB
                Cowboy Casanova - Brandenburg


                  If I were in your shoes and assuming that the pain she's in is as obvious to all other rational people as it is to you - when I got desperate enough I'd tell her that you couldn't stand the sight of the mare struggling anymore and that if she wouldn't put her out of her misery, she needs to find a new home for her.

                  I know this is risky on the surface because the fear is that this mare could get shuttled off to somewhere without a person like you looking out for her, but the gamble is that this woman who owns her would be too embarrassed to move a horse as crippled and in agony to a place with strangers who would judge her for it, and would then do the right thing. And - I would think that most decent places would refuse to take a mare like that, so she might not like what she'd find as an option if she even bothered to look.

                  I know this approach has its flaws, but I'd resort to it, as a last resort. You know this woman and could best judge if she's be embarrassed to move this mare.
                  "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."


                    I agree with Swale. I would insist that the mare be moved from my property if she was not humanely destroyed by a certain date. You could say that it is upsetting other boarders or something...and hopefully you could force the issue with the owner and I suspect that giving an ultimatum like that would probably have the desired effect. It's an intolerable situation that a horse should be allowed to suffer with no hope of recovery.


                      Is there any way you could get your vet to talk to her vet? Professional to ... um ... "professional"?
                      "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." ~ Mark Twain


                        I agree with everyone who says give her an euthanization or evict notice. I also would NOT be slipping this horse bute. If she already has ulcer issues, that is the last thing she needs.

                        Poor thing.
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                          Originally posted by EqTrainer
                          I agree with everyone who says give her an euthanization or evict notice. I also would NOT be slipping this horse bute. If she already has ulcer issues, that is the last thing she needs.

                          Poor thing.
                          I'm also in agreement. I'd not be a party to letting the mare suffer any longer... Maybe that'll wake up the owner to at least get a third opinion.


                            Poor mare!

                            It's amazing the torture people put their animals through because they love them but have no empathy.

                            I have PM'd you a couple articles from The Horse magazine on euthanasia and knowing when it's time. Print them out & give them to your boarder.

                            I would try an 'intervention' with her before giving her an eviction notice. I would include all of the boarders, a couple vets, animal control and/or some people from any respectable equine rescue group in the area, and whoever else you feel she might listen to. Sure, ganging up on her isn't 'nice', but what she's putting this mare through is downright cruel.
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                              Sounds like her vet doesn't want to give up the fees he is getting to come out and look at the horse. I hope this isn't the case but it sounds like it. The woman needs to get a third opinion on this horse.
                              Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


                                Truly loving your horse means not being selfish when it comes their time

                                I truly know it's hard but when you put the horse first, their comfort is all that matters...even unto that last shot.

                                I agree with the "intervention" attempt. Someone must get through to her
                                <>< 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.


                                  The crazy thing is that the owner doesn't think that the mare is that bad. The owner is fairly new to the horse ownership world. She was actually thinking about moving to Florida and taking the horse with her! The vet actuaaly said that the mare could withstand the trailer ride! The mare constantly trips, and has fallen down three times while just being led to her field. The facility she came from is only about two miles away from mine. The owner moved the mare to my place because the old facility only has standing stalls, no grass, and all horses are required to have a weekly training session (even this lame mare!). I'm afraid that if I push her to move the mare, she will just take her back there, which would be a horrible situation for the mare (not to mention that I have three other boarders who recently moved from that farm to mine because of the conditions). Maybe I will have my vet call hers to discuss the situation. Thanks for all the suggestions!
                                  Happy Hour-TB
                                  Cowboy Casanova - Brandenburg


                                    Originally posted by ChocoMare
                                    Truly loving your horse means not being selfish when it comes their time
                                    So true. If she had ever seen a euthanasia, perhaps she would not be so hesitant. The horse truly seems to feel no pain and is dead by the time it hits the ground. It is a much better decision than to let the animal suffer so.


                                      I would have someone put the horse down, or do it yourself if necessary. I don't know if you can get the medication OTC.?????????????/
                                      I've got the 3 things men want. I'm hot, and I'm smart!

                                      -The 6th Member Of The Bareback Riders Clique-


                                        Originally posted by ChocoMare
                                        Truly loving your horse means not being selfish when it comes their time

                                        I truly know it's hard but when you put the horse first, their comfort is all that matters...even unto that last shot.

                                        I agree with the "intervention" attempt. Someone must get through to her
                                        Beautifully stated. What a sad situation.
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