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Has anyone ever experienced anything like this with a horse?

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  • Original Poster

    Thank you all so much for your input and kind words.

    When the injury occurred, I couldn't get a vet to come out until the next day, even though I stated very clearly that it was an EMERGENCY and that the filly needed to be euthanized. The vet who had been treating her would not come out. All of the vets stated that they were "booked", which for some reason took priority over a horse who was missing pieces of her leg.

    Please don't judge me for this, but the only recourse was to have her humanely shot. It was my vet office who recommended this man and he knew what he was doing. His business was the removal of carcasses and he had euthanized hundreds of large animals over the years.

    There was no way that I could let her suffer like that for 18 hours. Additionally, she could have broken out of the round pen panels before morning, since she had already jumped through one before. While the idea really bothered me at first, I remembered several tragic vet-done botched euthanasias that friends had experienced. One friend's horse flipped when being euthanized and almost crushed my friend. Another friend's horse was dying and the vet couldn't find a vein. The horse was thrashing around violently and groaning, but the vet couldn't put him out of his misery and he died a horrible death. Sadly, that horse had impaled himself on a wooden post. Yet another friend's horse took 45 minutes to die, even though the vet gave several fatal doses.
    The man who shot her told me that he knew a number of vets who had been seriously injured when trying to euthanize horses. He was good. He places a container of sweet feed on the ground for the horse. She was kept in the pen for safety's sake and she never knew what hit or or felt fear.

    My vet probably didn't want to euthanize this filly because she already knew that the filly was a handful. When trying to remove the drain from her chest, she had to be heavily sedated and even accomplishing that was extremely difficult. She reared after the needle was inserted and yet again after only part of the sedative was administered. We had a tough time holding her even after she was partially sedated and had to go through the whole process again before she could be doctored, with her getting progressively more difficult.

    It would have been very dangerous for all concerned to try to euthanize this mare by injection, so in the end I was glad that I couldn't get a vet out. Again, please don't attack me for this. There was no choice in the matter. Being shot made a necropsy of her brain a mute point, but I would have liked to have one done.

    After being threatened with a lawsuit, the breeder did return the purchase price within three days of the filly's arrival. However, due to vet bills, fencing costs,and related expenses, I am out almost $2000. My friends agree with those of you who believe the breeder knew all about this filly's issues. It is beyond belief to me that anyone would risk so many lives and put this poor filly through so much stress by putting her on a transport, when she should have been euthanized by them.

    Sorry to ramble. Haven't been sleeping worth a darn and am really worn down. Thank you all so much for your time, your input and kind words. For those of you who dealt with similar young horses, thank you for sharing your experiences.


    • #22
      All I can say is Wow.

      And you did what you had to do. No judging here.
      Barn rat for life


      • #23
        I am so, so sorry. You absolutely did the right thing. Do you think the filly could have possibly had a happy life? I sure don't. A nervous wreck of a horse that has only moments of 'normalcy' can't be fun for her. {{hugs}}


        • #24
          Wow, I'm so sorry you had to go through all this. You absolutely did the right thing, for everyone involved, including the filly. The vets probably wouldn't come out because word had gotten around that she was too dangerous to work with. Having someone experienced shoot her was the safest and most humane thing to do.

          It must have been hard, but please don't beat yourself up, none of it is your fault and you did the right thing, by the filly, as well as you, your other horses and any other person who might have come in contact with her.


          • #25
            Based upon your description of the behaviors your decision was wise. Good on you for having the fortitude to make a hard choice.

            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


            • #26
              God, what a nightmare. I absolutely agree you did the right thing by having her humanely shot. So very sorry you had to go through all of this. Don't worry, I cannot imagine anyone on this BB flaming you for what you did. And if they do then you know who's a jerk.
              What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


              • #27
                RB, I can't imagine going through this experience. It's sounds like something in fiction, but it is all too real. We do keep a gun on the farm, not because we want to shoot with it, but for situations just like you described. Sometimes a vet can't get there fast enough. And while Mr IF and I are not skilled with firearms, we have plenty of neighbors who are and we know where the bullet should be placed. So you did the absolute right thing IMO.

                I definitely agree that the breeders knew this filly had issues and should have euthanized her themselves. She should never have been sold. As someone who is a breeder and who sells several horses a year, I just can't imagine being this irresponsible on so many levels.

                I'm glad this horse is at peace now. It sounds like her life on earth was a complete terror. I hope there is a heaven for horses and she finds bliss there.
                Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                • #28
                  No flame from me. You did the right thing. Horses, even the sweetest, calmest, most well trained are a tremendous liability. To even try to maintain a horse such as this filly, well, sooner or later someone was going to be very injured by her. I know your feelings are very raw right now, but, try to put her behind you. There is another filly out there somewhere that has your name on her who will be everything you hoped of this filly.


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
                    I definitely agree that the breeders knew this filly had issues and should have euthanized her themselves. She should never have been sold. As someone who is a breeder and who sells several horses a year, I just can't imagine being this irresponsible on so many levels.

                    I'm glad this horse is at peace now. It sounds like her life on earth was a complete terror. I hope there is a heaven for horses and she finds bliss there.
                    ^^^^ This

                    I am sorry you had to go through this. There is no flame from me. You did what you had to do because she was a danger to herself, everyone and everything involved. It is such a shame that the breeder didn't have the balls to do it themselves instead of passing the buck.

                    It sounds like a nero issue to me also. I wish that you would have been able to do an autopsy. Not letting her suffer was way more important though.

                    Can I ask what breed she was?
                    Last edited by Nootka; Nov. 2, 2012, 10:42 AM. Reason: Added question
                    Draumr Hesta Farm
                    "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                    Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm


                    • #30
                      You did the right thing. I believe, and my vets agree with me, that a competent person putting down a horse via shooting is humane. Euthanasia CAN go horribly wrong and she was a dangerous animal. You did the right thing.

                      I hope you can heal from this experience over the coming days and weeks. You deserve better than this for all you have done for cats and dogs. That is a huge number to have rescued. When you are ready, try again to reward yourself - you deserve it! And I hope you find the best equine partner ever!
                      2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


                      • #31
                        I also believe you did the right thing, and I understand why you're afraid of flames.

                        When I was part of a horse rescue, we had a yearling filly surrendered. Cute little horse, and arrived super-calm, good condition, etc. The person who surrendered apparently indicated she just couldn't handle her anymore. Very common thing we heard when it came to youngsters, so we sort of shrugged, did some basic handling to see what she knew, found her polite enough, etc. Someone wanted to foster her, so off she went, more or less immediately, which, as you know from rescue experience, is pretty much fantastic.

                        Until we got the call that we had to come get her. She had put the foster in the hospital three times. Basically, she'd be doing her own mild, sweet thing, and out of nowhere go completely ballistic. The foster said it was basically like watching videos of a police dog take down a criminal- she'd attack, and not let up until physically removed. She would go through fences, stall doors, pin people in corners, run them over- whatever it took.

                        So we brought her back and had a full vet work up. Nothing. Everything was normal on paper. The owner of the rescue has small kids, so she was prepared to put her down, but some local folks had heard about her and decided they wanted to try to work with her- they had a facility and expertise in difficult horses. Made them sign all sorts of paperwork releasing the rescue from liability, and in a week, went to pick her up because she put that guy in the hospital. Same story- he was on one side of the fence, doing some work, and she came running up to the fence and started kicking at the man, eventually got the fence down, and came after him.

                        When she came back, we tried all of the vet's suggestions, but nothing worked. It was like you described- she'd almost go into a trance and become endlessly violent. She'd be fine for weeks at a time, and then just snap.

                        We gave her a week, and decided to put her down. It agonized all of us to do it, but she was a danger to herself, other horses, and people. But here's the truly awful part- a bunch of people heard we were going to put her down, and raised money to ship her to some special Natural Ranch where they could mystically cure her. I'm still hopping mad about that. Yes, let's prolong the suffering. They've been adopting her out, and from what I understand, she's still putting people in the hospital. You best believe that we put extensive paperwork on that situation before she got on the trailer.

                        You absolutely did the right thing, Rescue. Not only becasue of her leg wound, but because she was obviously suffering mentally. I'm sorry it's so rough on you, but I truly understand. Huge hugs and healing thoughts!!


                        • #32
                          Some horses just ain't right.

                          I knew a horse that would stick it's head in a tall water bucket and swing it's head side to side until it was a bloody mess. She also would go off like a light switch and be totally unmanageable. No vet in the area would get into a stall with her.

                          It's not fixable - you really went the distance with her.


                          • #33
                            I am so sorry that you had to go through this, but so glad you did right for the filly. Nothing to add but good thoughts, hugs, and hope you find peace on making the safer decision for everyone involved.


                            • #34
                              you absolutely did the right thing

                              Shame on her breeder.

                              Some of them just aren't right.

                              This includes the person who sent her to you.

                              Do not doubt for one second that you did the right thing for both yourself and the horse. Clearly she'd have suffered further, and either hurt you, someone else, or one of your horses.

                              I hope you can find a reputable breeder and truly get your "dream horse" someday.


                              • #35
                                I had a TWH gelding just like that. I bought him as a 2 yr old, and my friend bought his brother (same sire). The guy that raised them kept them in the same stall. They had halters on but were not halter broke.

                                When they were delivered we put them in separate stalls. My gelding would leap over the stall door on a daily basis. I was never able to lead him without him dragging me. He would put his head down, brace his neck and go. And nothing stopped him. He ran down the aisle and went over a gate that only had about 3' of clearance above it to the cieling. When he would get loose from me he would go through or over whatever he had to to get away and when outside he would take down multiple fences and just keep going. His vision was good, he was not shy or scared at all. Vet and I both thought he had a brain issue and I had him put down. My hands were bloody with blisters and no amount of ground work helped him. When he didn't want to do something he would lay down. He was never broke to ride because I couldn't get him over his craziness on the ground. In a roundpen he would scramble over the gate to get out, even with a lunge line on him.

                                His brother was completely normal and a dream to ride. I think these types of horses have an issue that no one can fix, just like some humans.
                                Derby Lyn Farms Website

                                Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


                                • #36
                                  Sounds like a blind or almost blind horse to me. Running into horses, running through fences, not moving forward, but going backward....

                                  How very sad.


                                  • #37
                                    The vets all suddenly being unavailable suggests they all valued their lives and limbs too much and definitely indicates you did the right thing. If you've got an animal the professionals want nothing to do with it, it's a hint. No one wants to deal with an animal that's going to try to kill them, even inadvertently.

                                    And frankly I'd probably have shot her at distance with a deer rifle even before the last big disaster. No need for psycho horses. Shooting's perfectly acceptable, and makes it easier to dispose of the body (no worries about poisoning anyone if you bury or compost.) I was wondering how you'd done it anyway--about the only safe way to use drugs would be to get someone to dart her first with a CapChur or blow gun (I do know zoo vets who would consider doing that, but it's not everyday you find someone like that convenient.)

                                    I disagree with the poster upthread who said it could have been something the old owners gave or the rabies vaccine. Anything in the system would have been metabolized, it sounds like, long before the last big episode. And rabies is a dead-virus vaccine and should NOT be able to cause any problems like this. The biggest problem with it is it sometimes doesn't take (especially in humans.) Dispatcher might be onto something, though--if she couldn't see (and if it were a tumor on the brain, it might be interfering with sight without leaving external signs) she could be panicking. Or she could be bolting from things that weren't there--my old OTTB had a pasture mate who had been a nice filly, until she just increasingly went berserk. Spooked at everything and nothing, ran into things, flipped...they eventually gave her to Michigan State for research and disposal, and later it came back that on necropsy they'd found a brain tumor. Nothing anyone could have done.
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                                    • #38
                                      You did the right thing, but how traumatic for you, all of it. Take care of yourself, you will be a long time recovering from this. Unfortunately we always wonder what the cause was, but all you can really know is that you freed her from suffering.


                                      • #39
                                        What the fruitbat? Am I the only one who doesn't believe the OP's story? OP has 4 posts...I think someone is trolling.

                                        I can't imagine a horse would run through 11 fence lines and flip over 6 times and walk away... So I called the OP out. Not a crazy thing to do IMO. I've seen my share of crazy horses but never one like this, so I'm calling bull. Threads have turned into trainwrecks over less.
                                        Last edited by SAcres; Nov. 2, 2012, 08:46 PM.
                                        come what may

                                        Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                                        • #40
                                          Well, if so she went to a lot of trouble with all those details.