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Cost of euthanasia

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  • Cost of euthanasia

    Lethal injection for horses has been around for years. It's not a new or experimental drug. Why does it cost so much to euthanize a horse?

    I'm not talking disposal, just the shot.
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  • #2
    I think it's related with the ammount of drug used. I could be wrong though.
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    • #3
      I don't know. But there is part of me that is glad that it does because that's the reason I've had the opportunity to see horses (not my own) euthanized using both injection and bullet. And now I know that I will NEVER choose the injection when a bullet is an option. Thankfully I live in an area where discharging a firearm is legal and I have plenty of people who are both excellent shots in general (either from hunting or target shooting) and good with horses.
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      • #4
        Yes it goes by the amount used. And it will vary according to where you live. Out in the middle of nowhere it cost me $65 to euthanize a 100 lb. goat and $65 to euthanize a 2 lb. rabbit at different clinics! But they just put down a huge warmblood next door and I think it took 4 or 5 syringes so it was probably in the range of $300 (this is the same vet that did the goat). Most people I've asked recently have said anywhere from $150-$400 although the upper end might have included the backhoe.
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        • #5
          I would much rather use injection, too much chance in NOT killing the horse with a bullet (not to mention shooting someone else). Injection is quick and painless (for the horse), it causes brain death first (the primitive brain which controls respiration goes last). Any spasms afterwards are involuntary and the animal is beyond feeling them.
          Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

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          • #6
            i dont go for jab sorry but i have had all of mine shot its cheaper and iam ther e with them they get drugged first cost 50quid

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            • #7
              I have heard euth horror stories but I haven't seen one in my own life. The euths I have been present for were lightning fast and obviously painless.

              I suspect that, like all shots, what you're paying for is the vet to give the shot. I mean, look at vaccines. Learning to give a shot was the smartest thing I ever did to save money with horses!

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              • #8
                Actually the drug itself is pricey. Add the vet call and yeah that is probably half of it!

                Shooting is OK if the horse is down and not moving but if he can move his head well, bad things sometimes happen.

                I don't mind spending the money to give my friends a painless exit from the world.
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                • #9
                  Ah...but that is where I disagree with you summerhorse. I have seen several euths both ways. In every case, the injection was clearly more traumatic for the horse than the bullet. Until you have PERSONALLY seen both, you don't know. Look into their eyes the whole time & you'll never question again. Of course, if you have some yahoo with a gun trying to shoot from a long way off, sure you can have problems. But I'm not going to let a yahoo vet inject my horse either. I know too many instances of vets underestimating how much drug the horse needs. And when you need to give multiple syringes, it is NOT an instantaneous death by any stretch.
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                  • #10
                    I have worked at a high kill animal shelter and have run a rescue for 20 years. I have seen THOUSANDS of animals put to death by lethal injection, all types, shapes, sizes and species. The only one I ever saw traumatic was when they used the old drug that stopped the heart without killing the brain first. And even that was quick. the others just slipped away and very few had sedation before hand. if someone is causing that much trauma to horses than they are either not using the right drug or they are giving it wrong.
                    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Critters Everywhere
                      Ah...but that is where I disagree with you summerhorse. I have seen several euths both ways. In every case, the injection was clearly more traumatic for the horse than the bullet. Until you have PERSONALLY seen both, you don't know. Look into their eyes the whole time & you'll never question again. Of course, if you have some yahoo with a gun trying to shoot from a long way off, sure you can have problems. But I'm not going to let a yahoo vet inject my horse either. I know too many instances of vets underestimating how much drug the horse needs. And when you need to give multiple syringes, it is NOT an instantaneous death by any stretch.

                      Shame on those vets.

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I asked the question because I was wondering if it were cheaper to put horses down maybe more people would do it rather than send an old horse to auction.

                        You can get the latest and greatest vaccine for around $20. Most cost less. Last time I had to have a horse sedated I think it cost $20, probably with a drug that's not available generic.

                        Sodium pentathol was discovered 70 years ago, about the time they discovered pennicilin. I'm curious, is it that expensive? Obviously, and for good reason, it's not OTC but it should be generic. I couldn't find a price on Google.

                        I had my old horse for 30 years, competed in horse trials and dressage. His most expensive vet call ever was to put him down.
                        I wasn't always a Smurf
                        Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
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                        • #13
                          How much does it cost? We had Cashel put down and my aunt and uncle who were there before hand called the vet the next day and asked to pay the bill so I don't know how much it cost. It did cost $400 to have her body removed.
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                          • #14
                            no they dont i have had al of my done via vet straught in the head standing up and its quick

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                            • #15
                              Carol, it's a regulated and controlled substance, fairly certain you can't find readily available generic substitutes. Every ounce of beuthanasia that is used must be logged and accounted for. Perhaps that alone incurs costs, as would secure storage.
                              Certain controlled substances are cheaper than others, I don't know why, but I do know that (for instance) morphine is cheaper that fentanyl, torb is usually cheaper than detomidine....etc. I don't know why, I suppose it has to do with production costs, and perhaps there are still patents.

                              Or, (and here is the cynic in me) performing euthanasia is such an integral part of any practice, they charge what they can. In other words.. it makes money.

                              I've had experience with small and large euthanasia. It cost me 240 + farm call and sedatives to put down my mare, but it was $180 in a small animal practice, including catheter and disposal.
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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                If a drug was discovered in the '30's it still should not be patented. Yes I do know it is controlled, like Oxycodone. That's why I can't find a price on line. But a doctor can order Percoset or a generic.
                                I was just wondering what the vets pay for a lethal dose and how much was markup.
                                I believe the vet call to put my old pony down was $200
                                I wasn't always a Smurf
                                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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                                • #17
                                  I have seen 3 horses ,and 2 cats put down,and they have all gone very peacefully.First they were sedated as if going under for an operation,then they were given the shot to end their lives.I really can't imagine an easier passing.I don't think I could bare to watch a pet get shot.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by summerhorse
                                    I would much rather use injection, too much chance in NOT killing the horse with a bullet (not to mention shooting someone else). Injection is quick and painless (for the horse), it causes brain death first (the primitive brain which controls respiration goes last). Any spasms afterwards are involuntary and the animal is beyond feeling them.
                                    Um, actually, most approved injectable euthanasia solutions, sodium pentobarbital included, kill by hypoxia and then cardiac arrest. "The primitive brain which causes respiration" (respiration is a pretty advanced thing, and is driven by the medulla and pons, which are hardly primitive) The animal is rendered unconscious initially, then involuntary brain activities are further suppressed, the animal stops breathing and then, finally, the heart ceases to beat.
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                                    • #19
                                      1. Euthanasia solution is a DEA regulated substance. Therefore, the vet must have a DEA license to purchase it. This costs $$$ every 3 years. Every cc. must be logged in a book and be kept track of for the federal government.
                                      2. Many vets place a catheter in the vein to assure delivery of the substance to the proper place. Catheter costs money.
                                      3. Many vets sedate the horse prior to administering the euthanasia solution to make the horse less "aware " of its surroundings if owner wants it walked up next to hole in ground or whatever. Sedation costs $$$.
                                      4. Routine euthanasia solutions are 1cc/10 lbs. - a dog would take at most- 15cc- for a large breed dog. A horse - we are talking 100cc. for a 1,000 lb horse. If the horse is very sick and its circulation is compromised it may very well take more of the drug.
                                      5. Nobody likes to do euthanasia's and things can go wrong, and people can get hurt. Insurance must be up to date, with any procedure they do.Most vets try to take every precaution to make it safe for everyone involved.
                                      6. Therefore, you are not just paying for the syringe of barbituate that you are loking for on Google , you are paying for the expertise of the veterinarian that I would hope has had some input in the decision making of euthanizing the animal and is supplying you with a safe and appropriate environment upon which to carry out the procedure.
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                                      • #20
                                        In the olden days when dinos roamed the earth the brainstem (composed of the medulla, pons and midbrain) was called the primitive brain. It controls many of your vital functions such as breathing and circulation of blood. I'm guessing it is called the primitive brain because you can be alive and breathe and your bodily functions will work (with basic support) if you brainstem is not damaged. The parts of your brain that support the thinking emotional us can be mush or gone altogether and the primitive brain can keep right on ticking (i.e. Terri Schaivo). Maybe they don't refer to it that way anymore but I'm pretty sure during the whole TS drama they did. (they being the medical experts on every news show that covered it endlessly)

                                        Anyway yes they do kill by hypoxia but since it is an overdose of barbituate the animal is asleep (if it isn't sedated already) and doesn't know the difference. I know I saw a veterinarian in an animal control film say it killed the conscious brain first so maybe an overdose of that amount damages the cerebrum and cerebellum irrepairably. It kills in seconds so I don't see it really matters.

                                        It is the preferred method by any vet and the national animal control (society? association?).

                                        It does poison the body though so any animal killed should be buried very deep (6' for horses and 3'-4' for small animals, more if you have a lot of coyotes or bear or other predators about). Or rendered of course.

                                        I couldn't stand to see any animal shot if lethal injection was available. But if not it is certainly better than seeing an animal badly injured and dying suffer. But that would be the only way I'd condone it.
                                        Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                                        Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

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