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How to know when it's "time"

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  • #21
    Originally posted by jennywho View Post
    Simkie, not to hijack this thread, but I o needed to read this today. I said goodbye to my heart horse on Friday and I'm still hoping I made the right decision.

    To the OP, even though I am heartbroken. I am so lad I spent the last two weeks spoiling my girl rotten. I said everything I needed to say and for that I'm so thankful. If I had waited until the situation was dire, it would have been different.

    Sorry about your horse.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by jennywho View Post
      Simkie, not to hijack this thread, but I o needed to read this today. I said goodbye to my heart horse on Friday and I'm still hoping I made the right decision.
      Oh, jennywho, I am so very sorry for your loss. Big hugs. You made the right decision. That doesn't make it any less painful

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      • #23
        So sorry, Jennywho.

        I put down my Border Collie two years ago. I always said that if/when the dog became incontinent due to old age/pain, that was time to put the dog to sleep. And I was always pretty sure that she would tell me when it was time to go.
        She had a lot of pain in her pelvis, it had fractured when she was run over by a tractor at age 4 or so. That pain made it hard for her to hunch up and poop, so towards the end, she made a mess in her crate once or twice.
        My vets gave me some good dog pain meds, and while those made her feel much better, she hated the administration of the liquids.
        I still feel a bit guilty, now knowing that she was 'telling' me she was in too much pain, carrying on and trying one or two more things that the vet gave me. She would perk up and feel better, and it was hard to bear putting her down if she was still getting enjoyment from her life.

        I agree with the others, that there is NO wrong answer, you will do what is right for you and your horse, whether Time To Go is tomorrow or two years from now.
        But now I know, that your critter can tell you it is time, and with the next breath show some joy remains in this life.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
          I agree with the others, that there is NO wrong answer....
          I'm sorry, but there IS a wrong answer here. I think the fact Worldlylvr67 is even here asking this question makes it exceedingly unlikely that she is walking down that path, but if we are talking generally about people and their pets it is most certainly possible to wait WAY TOO LONG and prolong the suffering of a creature that depends on us, as owners and caretakers, to make life GOOD.

          I have personally seen cats, dogs and horses owned by others in terribly miserable situations purely because the owner is unable to let go. A life full of pain is not an existence that ANY living creature should have to endure. Refusing to make the call because of our own selfish desires is wrong.

          Once again, I'm not saying that anyone here has made a wrong choice, and I am speaking very generally, but YES. YES it is totally possible to make a wrong choice when it comes to caring for our animals.

          And I think *anyone* who has waited "a moment too long" will agree. I myself waited too long with my first horse. He was doing well, then he went downhill very quickly and his last days were very painful. I should have been better prepared and understood more about where he was medically and made the choice to put him down when he felt GOOD instead of waiting until he was critical. It haunts me to this day, and I still apologize to him, nearly 10 years later. I doubt I will ever forgive myself and I am exceedingly careful of such a mistake now.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
            So sorry, Jennywho.

            I put down my Border Collie two years ago. I always said that if/when the dog became incontinent due to old age/pain, that was time to put the dog to sleep. And I was always pretty sure that she would tell me when it was time to go.
            She had a lot of pain in her pelvis, it had fractured when she was run over by a tractor at age 4 or so. That pain made it hard for her to hunch up and poop, so towards the end, she made a mess in her crate once or twice.
            My vets gave me some good dog pain meds, and while those made her feel much better, she hated the administration of the liquids.
            I still feel a bit guilty, now knowing that she was 'telling' me she was in too much pain, carrying on and trying one or two more things that the vet gave me. She would perk up and feel better, and it was hard to bear putting her down if she was still getting enjoyment from her life.

            I agree with the others, that there is NO wrong answer, you will do what is right for you and your horse, whether Time To Go is tomorrow or two years from now.
            But now I know, that your critter can tell you it is time, and with the next breath show some joy remains in this life.
            Ah, so true, and that's what makes it so hard! It can be time AND there can still be joy. And you are so right, not really "wrong" answers, not when people really love their animals and are trying to decide when "that" time is. Some people call it sooner than others, some later, but none of us has a crystal ball. And most people are not excited about putting down an animal who may be enjoying life - sure we could put them all down when they are six months and be SURE they are feeling well, but most people don't do that; they make the best,most loving call they can, based on available medical information, faith, finances, whatever. We all hope our animals' lives are safest in our hands. It is an awful situation, no matter how clear the decision may be.

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Originally posted by ElisLove View Post
              We are putting my 'old' mare down on Friday. She's had some hard winters and we suspected cancer for a couple years but could not confirm it.
              Her 'free leaser' (teaches children how to brush and care for horses, she used to give walking rides)Emailed me last weekend and said Markie was starting to be in more discomfort. She has had chronic lameness in her one leg for about 11 years that made her pasture sound/walking sound for most of these last few years and she would still trot and canter with the group if she wanted to. She said her leg was bugging her more, she was standing spread out and off her front legs as much as she could (I immediately thought founder when I heard her explain it that way) and was seeming depressed more often(some days better than others). They had her on bute to help with the pain.
              The vet came and confirmed founder, as well as joint degeneration and arthritis in her chronic leg, and there was now visible cancer signs. With hearing that I told her 'free leaser' to arrange for her euthanasia. I went out to see her yesterday and she was happy, walking fine (even spooked and cantered off), good weight. If she was like this everyday she could at least live till the end of summer and be happy, but I often see her at her best because she knows me so well (13 years) and because she knows when I come she gets crammed full of treats. I don't see her during her normal day life and so I can't judge my opinion simply on when I am there. And she has been on bute for the pain.
              Maybe it's too early for her, maybe she could make it to the winter, but she never does well in the winter so with her ailments getting worse we would have to euthanize by winter anyways, and if she is in founder stance and favoring that leg most days and needs bute, plus her cancer she's had for a few years, it's better early than late.
              Picture of Markie and I from yesterday
              http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL481.../406442841.jpg
              I'm so sorry you are going through this too. What a beautiful photo of you two. It made me well up..hugs to you.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #27
                Originally posted by jennywho View Post
                Simkie, not to hijack this thread, but I o needed to read this today. I said goodbye to my heart horse on Friday and I'm still hoping I made the right decision.

                To the OP, even though I am heartbroken. I am so lad I spent the last two weeks spoiling my girl rotten. I said everything I needed to say and for that I'm so thankful. If I had waited until the situation was dire, it would have been different.
                I'm so sorry jennywho, my heart goes out to you. It is a very courageous thing to do and I guess that's part of my problem. I'm not the most courageous person, especially in matters of the heart. But I have decided that I will do what you did. Make his time here on earth the best it can be before that time comes. I know it will be before winter. This I'm sure of as it is what's best for HIM. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

                Comment


                • #28
                  Thank you ALL so much.

                  I don't necessarily think that asking yourself is it time, means that it is too late or that it is time RIGHT NOW.

                  I had managed multiple issues with my girl for years. A great relationship with my vets helped keep her happy and pain free. Like the OP, I had originally planned to put her down before winter, but I kept having these dreams that we went out to put her down and she ran from me. Not once in 24 years had she run for me. So I gave her this winter. I discovered previcox, which did wonders for her arthritis. When new issues started popping up, I knew it was time.

                  Many hugs OP. It will be bittersweet, but you will be so happy for the extra special time you spend with your horse.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Depending on your personal beliefs you may laugh at this, but I'll say it anyway.

                    Give your horse permission to go. Tell them that you'll help them go when they're ready. Tell them all the usual stuff too - how you love them, appreciate everything they've done, etc. Tell them you will miss them, but that you'll be fine and they shouldn't stay for you. Tell them again that it's okay for them to go.


                    And remember the lesson my second horse taught me.
                    I finally realized that while the answer to the question "could I keep him going through another winter or several?" is a definite yes, that is the wrong question. The real question needs to be "Should I?" and to that question I must reluctantly answer "no". He definitely deserves better than being forced to endure life simply because I'm not ready to let him go. I never will be ready.
                    Hugs and sympathy to all who have lost or are facing a loss.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      It depends on you. Once I saw my old timer quidding, I stopped feeding regular hay. At 32, your old fellow probably doesn't have enough teeth to chew properly. You can feed soaked senior and chopped hay, if you want to see if that works. It depends on how much money you are willing to spend and what his quality of life is like. The senior feed does get expensive. Maybe it's a good time for a check up and some vet advice? My vet was very helpful in helping me decide when was the right time.
                      “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                      St. Padre Pio

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I am in your shoes as well. I have a 33 year old that struggled this winter. I could see his spine and ribs. He could no longer eat hay so we switched to timothy/alfalfa cubes soaked. Plus roughage chunks soaked. I also fed Purina Elite soak (higher fat feed in Canada.) He seemed to do better but slow. I contacted a few folks who deal with seniors and was told I was not feeding him nearly enough. So we up'ed everything and I top dressed with a high fat supplement. Feeding inside and out in a fence feeder. We kept him separate because they were picking on him. He loved his slop. The top dress was in his hay and in his grain...fed 4 to 5 times a day.

                        He rebounded to the point where he looks like he does coming out of winter. He is on grass now too and I have cut back on his feeds.

                        The key is finding good roughage to keep him going. If your horse will eat oil in his feed that will really put weight on. My guy does not like oil so went to an 18% fat supplement on every feeding.

                        The other day after eating his grain ration inside and then his sloppy hay ration outside I opened the laneway gate to go to the paddock. Can you believe he spritely trotted down the lane and went into a lovely canter down to the grass. He told me he isn't ready to leave. Warmed my heart. We will keep a closer eye on his diet going into next winter and decide from there.

                        Maybe you could get similar results with a diet change of a totally soaked diet of hay cubes/rough chunks.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by ElisLove View Post
                          We are putting my 'old' mare down on Friday. She's had some hard winters and we suspected cancer for a couple years but could not confirm it.
                          snip
                          The vet came and confirmed founder, as well as joint degeneration and arthritis in her chronic leg, and there was now visible cancer signs. With hearing that I told her 'free leaser' to arrange for her euthanasia. I went out to see her yesterday and she was happy, walking fine (even spooked and cantered off), good weight. If she was like this everyday she could at least live till the end of summer and be happy, but I often see her at her best because she knows me so well (13 years) and because she knows when I come she gets crammed full of treats. I don't see her during her normal day life and so I can't judge my opinion simply on when I am there. And she has been on bute for the pain.
                          Maybe it's too early for her, maybe she could make it to the winter, but she never does well in the winter so with her ailments getting worse we would have to euthanize by winter anyways, and if she is in founder stance and favoring that leg most days and needs bute, plus her cancer she's had for a few years, it's better early than late.
                          Picture of Markie and I from yesterday
                          http://pic50.picturetrail.com/VOL481.../406442841.jpg
                          Such a lovely picture and memory.

                          Bless you for putting her needs first. Founder is hard to come back from without other complications. If she's already on frequent Bute then she's probably got ulcers from it. You are giving her a loving gift and she will appreciate it. Sending you positive energy to face the Friday appointment.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                            And I think *anyone* who has waited "a moment too long" will agree. I myself waited too long with my first horse. He was doing well, then he went downhill very quickly and his last days were very painful. I should have been better prepared and understood more about where he was medically and made the choice to put him down when he felt GOOD instead of waiting until he was critical. It haunts me to this day, and I still apologize to him, nearly 10 years later. I doubt I will ever forgive myself and I am exceedingly careful of such a mistake now.
                            Hindsight, Simkie. Be kind to yourself. Your first horse gave you the gift of better understanding about end of life decisions so it was not all in vain.

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