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  • #21
    I completely understand where you're coming from and I wouldn't think you were a horrible person if you put him down, FWIW. Like others have said, he doesn't have any concept of tomorrow and what you've already given him sounds like a wonderful life. I love my horses too but I don't think you should feel obligated to sacrifice your own financial security to maintain a pet to whom you've already given a lot.

    I'm in a similar-ish position with an elderly dog, except the motivation isn't finances (though she does see the vet regularly enough for treatable things that ending those expenses would be nice). Won't go into great detail but anyway, I get it and I support you.
    Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

    Comment


    • #22
      I certainly understand your issues. I hung up my Spurs for good as I felt the fragile nature of my finances. I was able to get my horse into a situation where I know he is valued. He still had a lot to teach. I think you are being wise about your long term

      You friend is an old horse with Cushing's. Not sure any vet would consider that healthy.

      Winter is coming for most areas of the country. I think it is time to talk to your vet about options and what-ifs.

      You said you don't know what the vet would feel,
      time to ask
      _\\]
      -- * > hoopoe
      Procrastinate NOW
      Introverted Since 1957

      Comment


      • #23
        A different perspective.....

        I get where you're coming from. I'm 65 and still working and in the same salary range. I've been riding since I was 6yo and had a horse since I was 12yo. I knew early on that if I wanted to keep my horse(s) I would have to work until I die. It's my passion - kept me alive and moving forward no matter what. I sacrificed a LOT to keep my horses healthy & happy. My choice.

        Then, 4 years ago my beloved mare died. She was 24, and while everyone here will say she had a good long life, it killed me. 6 months earlier, one of my vets said "she's going to live for another 20 years". I laughed and said I'd be happy with another 10! I knew I wouldn't be able to have another. The practical side of me said well, time to save for retirement. So that's what I'm doing. But I would trade it all to have had her for these past 4 years.

        Everyone has a different perspective - you need to do what's right for you. For me....I've always said I'd rather die happy and poor.

        Comment


        • #24
          The AAEP (professional association for horse vets) has a position statement on euthanasia. Frankly I think it too specifically worded and some vets interpret it too literally. But, it might be a good starting place for a discussion with your vet if you have concerns about where the discussion might go.

          That said I completely support you. As horsemen/horsewomen we are caregivers and custodians for our horses welfare. Making “the decision” is never easy but clearly you have been thoughtful. Be at peace with that.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #25
            I just want to thank everyone again, I really appreciate the thoughts and stories and it has definitely helped me gain some perspective. I'm not going to rush to make any decisions but it helps to know that I am not completely off base for having some of these thoughts.

            Comment


            • #26
              Just my two cents of support here!

              You don't have to discuss this with anyone in the "real world" except your vet. Don't give anyone room to pass judgement on the decision you make for yourself and your horse.

              I'd agree that trying to give or sell away this horse would be unkind. I fully support a decision to euthanize if you do make that call. You'd be doing it for the right reasons, both for your horse and for yourself.

              When I hear that someone isn't saving enough for retirement, my mind immediately starts down the "what if" path. You have your health and your job now, and that is amazing, but what if something changes? What if you can no longer work, or become under-employed, or you fall ill, get injured, etc.? You owe it to yourself, any family you might have, and yes, your furry friends to get on as firm a financial footing as possible for the future. I think you are wise to want to work on that. It's not selfish, it's intelligent.

              Sending hugs as you weigh your options!

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by cattywampus View Post
                I think it is absolutely ok to give an animal you love an easy way out BEFORE they hit rock bottom.
                I would take this a step further: it is our RESPONSIBILITY as horse owners to euthanize WELL before a horse hits rock bottom, and if you consciously leave it so late that the horse is in avoidable pain, you need to check your priorities.

                Originally posted by cattywampus View Post
                I give you my blessing to make this choice. I am sorry for how much it sucks. I would be very surprised if your veterinarian, who has been on this journey with you, would refuse to euthanize your horse.
                100% this. OP, sacrificing your own financial security and heath (yes health - healthcare costs money) for the sake of an elderly horse is not OK. Your horse will never know a day of real pain and suffering if you put him down now: how many owners can hand on heart say that about their horse's end of life?

                Comment


                • #28


                  I'm a great believer that euthanasia is always a valid, humane choice even if the only issue is financial. To be honest, horses are not cheap or easy to keep even when they are in the best of health and not all can or should be passed to a new home. To me, there is nothing more heartbreaking to see an ad for for an old/unrideable/ problematic horse knowing that they are unlikely to end up in a good place. I would always advise PTS in those circumstances - you have secured their future, they are safe and at rest then.

                  The bit that makes my jaw drop in this, is that your vet might refuse to euthanise??? An old horse with a degenerative medical condition? Really? I'm in the UK and this just doesn't happen in my experience. Yes we have access to the knackerman and hunt who will PTS with a bullet - I have used both of these for mine as well as vets and there is never any question about your decision, for any reason. Maybe that is why vets are more amenable here as they know you have other options?

                  Sorry for going off topic but I am genuinely bewildered that your service providers, who do not have to pay the bills or provide the facilities and care for an animal have the right to veto your decision even if they think it is for the wrong reason. I do understand that vets, by nature and training wish to save lives not end them but they must also see the benefit of a peaceful death rather than a slow decline to a point where euthanasia is the only option.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I'll add that I totally get the fear of your veterinarian judging you--when I decided it was time to euthanize my old horse last year, I opted to take him to the local haul-in equine clinic rather than do it myself, because they are set up for carcass disposal and I board.

                    Even though I do euthanasia consults all the time for my clients (and even for patients I'm seeing for the first time whose owners are working through the same problem you are) I kept thinking WHAT IF THE OTHER VETERINARIAN THINKS I'M A MONSTER?! What if he tells me to suck it up and keep this horse going at all costs? After wrestling with this myself, will I have to justify this decision to someone else?

                    Rationally, I knew that wouldn't happen, and it didn't. Everyone was very sympathetic and helpful and it was as okay as it was going to be.

                    In reality, odds are your veterinarian is just waiting for you to raise the subject. I wish you well.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by cattywampus View Post
                      I'll add that I totally get the fear of your veterinarian judging you--when I decided it was time to euthanize my old horse last year, I opted to take him to the local haul-in equine clinic rather than do it myself, because they are set up for carcass disposal and I board.

                      Even though I do euthanasia consults all the time for my clients (and even for patients I'm seeing for the first time whose owners are working through the same problem you are) I kept thinking WHAT IF THE OTHER VETERINARIAN THINKS I'M A MONSTER?! What if he tells me to suck it up and keep this horse going at all costs? After wrestling with this myself, will I have to justify this decision to someone else?

                      Rationally, I knew that wouldn't happen, and it didn't. Everyone was very sympathetic and helpful and it was as okay as it was going to be.

                      In reality, odds are your veterinarian is just waiting for you to raise the subject. I wish you well.
                      I totally understand this too! I wish vets would raise the subject, though I do understand why they don't. (People are nuts and vets don't need patients going around town telling everyone how the vet "wanted to kill my poor Dobbin!") I have questioned my old dog's quality of life several times over the past 6 months to the vet, and would have appreciated, say, a discussion of how to objectively gauge quality of life. I did do one of those pet QOL scales after posting here last week and she scored fairly low but not desperately so.

                      I actually ended up putting her to sleep this weekend. On Friday she developed a new and painful health complication that would require surgery, so that helped me draw the line. At 16 years old, I don't think it would have been fair to put her through all that. My wonderful equine vet offered to do it at home so she wouldn't have to suffer the anxiety of a car ride and vet visit. It was very peaceful for her and I'm eternally grateful for his kindness. My husband dropped her off at our small animal vet for cremation and I'm *still* stressing about being judged by them even though rationally I think it's unlikely. (I also can't stop thinking about her weight in my arms, or her little body in their freezer. Ugh. I know I was blessed to have 16 wonderful years with her, but it's still hard to say goodbye.)

                      Wishing you the best in your decisionmaking, OP!
                      Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by OverItAltered View Post
                        Posting this as an alter for reasons you'll see.

                        I'm almost 40 years old. I am single so everything I do happens on one income, $55k range. I've owned a horse and have been responsible for all its expenses since I was 18 (I had one, that one had to be put down and I got another). I've always had enough money but not tons extra. Basically I've supported my horse all of these years at the expense of retirement savings. My 401k has $40k in it and that is all I have saved toward retirement.

                        My horse is now around 27-28 years old and retired. I have gotten his expenses as low as I reasonably can. He is pasture boarded for $250 which includes his feed and hay. He's barefoot and trims are $25 every 6 weeks. He has cushings so he's on Prascend at around $55 a month. And of course, horses, so there's always the random vet bills and little supplies needed, which I have tried to keep as minimal as possible.

                        Lately I've been thinking about how much more money I could sock away toward retirement if I didn't still have him on my payroll. Last year he averaged me $435 a month and that was with no cushings meds, started those this year. If he were 10 years younger, I'd have already sold him. I am realistic in that I know there is no one that would want him as free to a good home. Although I have not attempted to look, I realize that if I am no longer wanting to pay to care for him why would anyone else. I would never send him along to an auction or a sale. That leaves me with continuing on with his retirement board for however long that may be or putting him down. I think I actually would be fairly comfortable putting him down. This horse has had a good, long life. He's been retired 2 years so it's not like he's suddenly unrideable so I'm tossing him aside. But I have no idea how I would find a vet that would agree to put down a fairly healthy horse.

                        I just am over it. I know, I am horrible but it just is the truth. At this point, I'm funding my horse's retirement to the detriment of my own retirement. I am so far behind where I should be. I guess this is more of a vent than anything. If he had any even slightly major medical issue come up, I'd put him down but with my luck, this horse is going to live another 10 years.
                        Where are you located at? Is he still technically rideable? Can you donate him to a theraputic riding center in your area? You could always go on face book and list him as a companion horse? I actually just bought property to bring my pony home and thank goodness my friend wants to rotate out her geldings at my place, otherwise a situation like yours would be a godsend to me! Check around on craigslist/riding fb group in your area/ barns in your area, they may want a gelding like yours for when they ween males from the mommys? There's plenty of options, just look around, or tell us your location n one of us may randomly know someone in the area!!! Best of luck!

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by carman_liz View Post

                          Where are you located at? Is he still technically rideable? Can you donate him to a theraputic riding center in your area? You could always go on face book and list him as a companion horse? I actually just bought property to bring my pony home and thank goodness my friend wants to rotate out her geldings at my place, otherwise a situation like yours would be a godsend to me! Check around on craigslist/riding fb group in your area/ barns in your area, they may want a gelding like yours for when they ween males from the mommys? There's plenty of options, just look around, or tell us your location n one of us may randomly know someone in the area!!! Best of luck!
                          But there aren't plenty of options - not for a mid 20's horse with Cushings that is unrideable. Also, I volunteered for years at a therapeutic riding facility, and when their horses could no longer be ridden they would try to place them, but if not successful they put them down. No way I would let this horse leave my care. Life is too dangerous for a horse in that situation. The odds of them ending up in a bad way are astronomically higher than finding someone who wants to take care of them and medicate them to the end of their life.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by OverItAltered View Post

                            I honestly am not sure that my vet would put my horse down in his current condition. He's old. And he has cushings but other than that, he gets around pretty well for the time being. After this thread though, I am at least going to broach it with her to get her stance on it. And I do think that if a new medical issue were to come up or his cushings got worse, she'd agree with me at that point.

                            However, Clanter, our circumstances are much different. If I had my own farm and could easily afford the upkeep of an elderly horse while meeting my other financial goals, I'd not be thinking about putting down a 'healthy' horse either. But at his age, I really don't have many other options. I can try to give him away. I send him to an auction or a sale. Or I put him down. Is there another I'm missing?
                            Falling down when being ridden is enough of a reason in my opinion. Not everyone has the funds to spend on a horse that cant be ridden, and you sure as hell cant make sure he is ok if you sell him or give him away.
                            "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                            carolprudm

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                            • #34
                              I bought a horse once who had been retired due to unsoundness. At age 19. The place he was retired to traded him for another horse. The third place used him as a lesson horse and then traded him to another person who sold them to me. As a 12-year-old. He died at age 21.

                              don’t pass around your old horses. The chances of them ending up in a good place are very, very slim.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by carman_liz View Post

                                Where are you located at? Is he still technically rideable? Can you donate him to a theraputic riding center in your area? You could always go on face book and list him as a companion horse? I actually just bought property to bring my pony home and thank goodness my friend wants to rotate out her geldings at my place, otherwise a situation like yours would be a godsend to me! Check around on craigslist/riding fb group in your area/ barns in your area, they may want a gelding like yours for when they ween males from the mommys? There's plenty of options, just look around, or tell us your location n one of us may randomly know someone in the area!!! Best of luck!
                                1) Think about it - the last thing a therapeutic riding center wants is a horse that trips and falls. And who has expensive medical needs. A lot of them run on a shoe string. And for heaven's sake, you don't want to be hurting the clients!
                                2) There are not plenty of options. Once in a blue moon, someone honestly needs a companion horse. But if they want a companion horse, they want one that doesn't have expensive medical needs. Otherwise, you get the sketchy folks from CL who are going to put the poor old horse on a truck and ship to Mexico. You can't tell me that's better than a humane end.

                                It is NO FUN to decide to euthanize an old friend. But being able to make the decision in a sane and sensible way is all part of being a grownup.

                                Good luck OP, I have confidence that you will do right by your horse. Hugs!

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by oldernewbie View Post

                                  1) Think about it - the last thing a therapeutic riding center wants is a horse that trips and falls. And who has expensive medical needs. A lot of them run on a shoe string. And for heaven's sake, you don't want to be hurting the clients!
                                  2) There are not plenty of options. Once in a blue moon, someone honestly needs a companion horse. But if they want a companion horse, they want one that doesn't have expensive medical needs. Otherwise, you get the sketchy folks from CL who are going to put the poor old horse on a truck and ship to Mexico. You can't tell me that's better than a humane end.

                                  It is NO FUN to decide to euthanize an old friend. But being able to make the decision in a sane and sensible way is all part of being a grownup.

                                  Good luck OP, I have confidence that you will do right by your horse. Hugs!
                                  I missed the him falling down part, good point. and i would take in a companion horse needing medical assistance, but I kept my mare from the time i was 7 till i was 34, so I'm one of the odd balls i guess :/

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by stb View Post

                                    But there aren't plenty of options - not for a mid 20's horse with Cushings that is unrideable. Also, I volunteered for years at a therapeutic riding facility, and when their horses could no longer be ridden they would try to place them, but if not successful they put them down. No way I would let this horse leave my care. Life is too dangerous for a horse in that situation. The odds of them ending up in a bad way are astronomically higher than finding someone who wants to take care of them and medicate them to the end of their life.
                                    The therapeutic place by where I live was going to take my mare, with the stipulation that if she didn't work out, or got worse, I would be the first phone call to take her back. I didn't see the unrideable part, that's a big bummer. Well good luck to OP no matter which avenue she takes!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Whatever decision you do make, we understand! Not everyone will agree -- that goes to say if you do put him down or don't, you'll always have varying opinions on that.

                                      Another thought -- can you find a barn you could work off the board? $250 would only be a part time type of thing... and I'm sure you're at the barn visiting your boy anyway. If you could clean stalls once a week and not owe anything... might make it easier for you. Nobody wants to work more, I know. I have an arrangement at my barn to do some office work for trade on my lessons. It makes it so I can afford to keep my boy there.

                                      Not sure if there's anything like that... but it doesn't hurt to look around and ask! And I'd hate to recommend getting another job... but... if you can get $10 an hour and work 6 or 7 hours a week... you've paid for your board!

                                      I'd also recommend selling whatever horse stuff you don't need or use anymore! I sold a bunch of apparel and some odds and end things when my horse had to get shockwave. It helped. Again... only temporary... but... maybe you can generate some additional revenue!

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        He's an aging horse with a degenerative disease who has demonstrated some degree of balance/mobility issues leading to his retirement. If you are in an area that receives any type of inclement weather, winter could be a scary time for you both. I don't think many vets would object to peacefully letting a horse go in the fall when the quality of life is high rather than waiting to see how he fairs during the winter.

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