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"Convenience euthanasia" question

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  • #41
    Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    And if you cannot find a vet to do it, at least in our area, we have a very kind gentleman that will use a gun and dispose of the remains.

    FWIW if you can find a general farm vet rather than an equine vet they might have a different attitude.

    I had an old mare whom I loved dearly. I had her for almost 30 years. She had been having minor health issues and started to colic. Granted it wasn't bad at that point but the vet refused to put her down.

    A few days later it got really ugly.

    Comment


    • #42
      Originally posted by Brigit View Post
      Interesting topic. I've actually recently considered putting down one of our horses. 7 year old mare, nothing "physically" wrong with her. She was a freebie that someone gave me and she's turned out to be a whackjob. We've given her lots of time and different approaches and she's still just not quite right. We were going to send her to a "cowboy" trainer to see if he ride her though her tantrums and do something with her but she ended up running through a fence. Now she needs to have her wounds cleaned out and bandaged daily. I said "ok, not a problem, we'll do this till she's better and then send her off to the trainer".
      Well now she's getting dangerous in the barn when she decides she doesn't "want" to have her leg wrapped. She flipped out yesterday and ended up throwing me into the barn wall from across the aisle. I'm glad I was able to get out of her way because she would have stepped all over me if I hadn't. That was my last straw.

      My way of thinking, I've already spent way too much money and probably time on this horse when there are SO many GOOD horses out there. I'm just not willing to "exhaust" my time and $$ as some of you have put it, on this horse.
      So what are my options? Try and sell her, being completely open about her behavior, I doubt I'd find anyone interested. Besides having that on my conscience if someone were to get badly hurt by this horse, is not something I want. She IS dangerous and WILL hurt someone. I can take her to an auction but run the risk of someone buying her and gettting hurt OR having her to go slaughter. Although I've got nothing against slaughter, I don't like the thought of sending one of my horses, I'm not sure I want that on my conscience either. Or there's euthanasia. Kinda seems like the lesser of the evils doesn't it?

      And I say BRAVO to you for considering this instead of "Well, she has ovaries I'll breed her or give her away as a broodmare".

      Comment


      • #43
        Originally posted by Brigit View Post
        Interesting topic. I've actually recently considered putting down one of our horses. 7 year old mare, nothing "physically" wrong with her. She was a freebie that someone gave me and she's turned out to be a whackjob. We've given her lots of time and different approaches and she's still just not quite right. We were going to send her to a "cowboy" trainer to see if he ride her though her tantrums and do something with her but she ended up running through a fence. Now she needs to have her wounds cleaned out and bandaged daily. I said "ok, not a problem, we'll do this till she's better and then send her off to the trainer".
        Well now she's getting dangerous in the barn when she decides she doesn't "want" to have her leg wrapped. She flipped out yesterday and ended up throwing me into the barn wall from across the aisle. I'm glad I was able to get out of her way because she would have stepped all over me if I hadn't. That was my last straw.

        My way of thinking, I've already spent way too much money and probably time on this horse when there are SO many GOOD horses out there. I'm just not willing to "exhaust" my time and $$ as some of you have put it, on this horse.
        So what are my options? Try and sell her, being completely open about her behavior, I doubt I'd find anyone interested. Besides having that on my conscience if someone were to get badly hurt by this horse, is not something I want. She IS dangerous and WILL hurt someone. I can take her to an auction but run the risk of someone buying her and gettting hurt OR having her to go slaughter. Although I've got nothing against slaughter, I don't like the thought of sending one of my horses, I'm not sure I want that on my conscience either. Or there's euthanasia. Kinda seems like the lesser of the evils doesn't it?
        A couple of years ago I watched some good friends in a really similar situation. Some things were different-- they had bred the filly and then (in my opinion and others') skipped the basic training that would make her anything but dangerous. She was also the horse who stood up on her back legs for fun. Nature had not helped with a particularly good mind.

        In any case, cowboy was planned when filly got really hurt on a fence. The following months were filled with bandaging and increasing doses of sedation (short and long term) because she was hard to work. She built up a tolerance to the drugs. IIRC, the vet really didn't want to get close to her but did his job. It was only the brave, dedicated and tireless owner that helped this filly heal.

        Goes to cowboy's place. Some pilot error ensues and the filly flips over backward and dies the same day she arrives.

        With 20/20 hindsight (and speaking as a spectator) it seems to me that the owners should used the danger involved in just treating this filly as a reason to ask themselves if they'd ever trust her under saddle. I'm sort of relieved the kid (for whom she was bred) never got to ride her.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat

        Comment


        • #44
          Originally posted by carolprudm View Post
          FWIW if you can find a general farm vet rather than an equine vet they might have a different attitude.

          I had an old mare whom I loved dearly. I had her for almost 30 years. She had been having minor health issues and started to colic. Granted it wasn't bad at that point but the vet refused to put her down.

          A few days later it got really ugly.
          That is just heartbreaking, shame on the vet, for allowing the poor mare to suffer.

          I would have called another vet.
          There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

          Comment


          • #45
            MistyBlue's post scares me. I live in the same state-- where land values and board are very high and where there is no shortage of vets and clinics ready and able to cut into a sick horse. I always discuss my wishes regarding colic surgery with my treating vet and BO, and write a letter to both reiterating that plus giving a couple of trusted people authority to make a euthanasia decision should I be MIA.

            If a vet planned on forcing me to send one to colic surgery that I expressly said (in writing) I do not wish to go, we would have a huge problem. Effing Huge. I can't imagine standing in the barnyard with a very sick horse that the vet won't euthanize and that I won't send to surgery when I made that clear up front.
            mvp...discuss your views up front with new vets. That's all I can give for advice really...find a vet that best fits your own views on these issues. The good thing is that we do have a ton of vets so if needed we can keep swapping until we find the right fit. And then build a long relationship with them so they know you're not just wanting to euthanize anything out of convenience.

            And yes, it's beyond horrifying and heartbreaking to be in a situation where a vet will not put down a horse due to their own misguided feelings.

            I think the issue is with the younger newly graduated large animal vets...many have never ever lived on a farm. Many have boarded only and don't have a working knowledge of livestock/horses in general other than the medical aspects of them and just can't accept that some horses are not surgical candidates for different reasons.

            I have had a vet stand in front of me and tell me things like "It doesn't matter how much pain the animal is in...or surgery will cause it...if I were terminally ill I'd rather be in pain and alive than dead!" Same vet cried after dehorning (because it bled) their first bovine and refused to do the rest they were scheduled to do because it was unnatural.
            A friend had a vet tell her that she should take out a home equity loan to pay for surgery on a 28 year old horse because the owner had already maxed out her credit cards trying "one more thing."

            Thankfully though there are a lot of good vets that aren't emotionally and financially fakakt in this state too.
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!
            ...Belefonte

            Comment


            • #46
              I won't deal with any vet that doesn't have the animal's best welfare at heart. Nor any vet who does not accept my call on the matter of treatment versus euthanasia. I'm very much focused on quality of life for the animal, not how long you can keep its heart beating.

              In my opinion, any vet who will only euthanize as a last resort falls in that category. Either they want the bucks that go with treatment, or they are overly wrapped up in the 'god' ego, they can make the animal better, even if the animal has to go through hell to get there.

              Euthanasia is NOT CRUEL. PERIOD. Whether overdosing with anesthetic or shooting. I have no problem with a perfectly healthy animal being put down. That might be a waste of a perfectly healthy animal, but the animal does not suffer, and it does guarantee that the animal WON'T suffer, doesn't it?

              What I do have a problem with, increasingly, is people who want to 'place' their beloved 'pets,' whether horses or dogs or cats, in 'retirement situations,' which I translate as, they don't want to deal with the hard decision at the end of that animal's life, they want to dump the problem on someone else. Heckuva way to reward an animal's devotion and service. Don't y'all get all excited now, often such placements are just fine and I have no problem with them- but, sometimes, and as I said, increasingly these days, I do see the 'find a retirement home' copout occurring when euthanasia would be kinder.

              Comment


              • #47
                Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
                That is just heartbreaking, shame on the vet, for allowing the poor mare to suffer.

                I would have called another vet.
                FWIW, for the most part she was only mildly uncomfortable. If I hadn't known the mare so well I might not have even known she was ill. However when it went south it was really bad

                Comment


                • #48
                  MistyBlue and others on the vets and euthanasia issue.

                  I agree that the owner has some responsibility here. We need build a long-term relationship with the person. A mortally sick horse already puts an ambulatory vet in a tense situation. That plus an owner they don't know well, and youth or a "pet not livestock" kind of thinking must make a euthanasia call really, really hard.

                  I also think we as owners need to ask a lot of questions and do some hard thinking about euthanasia before the heat of battle. I have watched people make bad decisions (usually keeping the suffering ones alive too long) because they just couldn't wrap their head around the euthanasia problem and decision fast enough.

                  We owners--whether we are devoted to the extreme or accustomed to treating horses like dixie cups-- need to make sure our views line up with those of the treating vet sooner rather than later. It's just not fair to do the old bait-n-switch with the DVM who will ultimately do the killing. I do know that i can find the right vet if I ask the right and candid questions.

                  I think the vast majority of owners are reasonable people. I also think that our concerns money vs. utility vs. quality of life are a new or unfamiliar problem for vets. FWIW, the decisions I have made about extreme measures and euthanasia (including how it's done) have been made by talking with vets about what they see in their practices. It's a legitimate point of discussion between vet and owner.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by mvp View Post
                    With 20/20 hindsight (and speaking as a spectator) it seems to me that the owners should used the danger involved in just treating this filly as a reason to ask themselves if they'd ever trust her under saddle. I'm sort of relieved the kid (for whom she was bred) never got to ride her.
                    That's exactly our train of thought. Even if we *did* send her to a trainer, and they did manage to get her broke to ride, would she ever be a reliable, safe riding horse? I doubt it.
                    __________________________________________________ _
                    Proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals!

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      I also think we as owners need to ask a lot of questions and do some hard thinking about euthanasia before the heat of battle. I have watched people make bad decisions (usually keeping the suffering ones alive too long) because they just couldn't wrap their head around the euthanasia problem and decision fast enough.
                      Yup, can't agree more.
                      It's never fun to completely plan out future treatments and possible euthanizing a healthy horse, but it's something every owner needs to do long before any type of problem happens. Because during a crisis is not the time to make those decisions.

                      And before anything drastic ever happens is the time to discuss it with your vet too. You know your own horses the best...that's when you let a vet know which ones aren't candidates for surgeries/extended stall rest or pain, which ones will deal with that fine and what your budget can and can't handle without ruining your finances.
                      You jump in the saddle,
                      Hold onto the bridle!
                      Jump in the line!
                      ...Belefonte

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by SteppinEasy View Post
                        In reading over the dangerous horse euthanasia threads, I noticed the term "convenience euthanasia" coming up a lot. That made me wonder...

                        How do YOU define "convenience euthanasia?" Does it always have a negative connotation?

                        For me, having worked primarily with rescues over the years, I suppose that I have a more positive view of owners who take the responsibility of putting an animal down when they can't care for it (for whatever reason) as opposed to those who try to find the horse another home. A caveat: I'm thinking primarily of elderly horses who aren't strong candidates for finding a new home, but are still healthy. Young, fit horses are another story in my mind.

                        Just curious to hear what others think...I'd be particularly interested to hear the opinions of practicing vets.
                        can we revisit this post from many years ago. I have a 14-year-old mare who has DSLD. She is mostly comfortable in the pasture although she is definitely unsound on the RF with every trot step . She does however, still trot to the gate occasionally. Her board isn’t very expensive as I provide the hay and grain, and the lady where I board is very good and I trust her. However I am considering euthanizing her, partly because of the finances, not that it’s a big cost expenditure but because it IS a cost. She will never be sound again and will only continue to regress. My vet is completely fine with euthanizing her. She is not a good candidate as a companion horse because she is overly aggressive when it’s only her and another horse. To the point of “vet costs” for the other horse. Where she is now, they are able to keep her in a separate pasture, where she can see the other horse and has a lovely run in shelter and all the conveniences of life, but she isn’t kept with the other single horse.
                        The barn owner has tried to put the two horses together occasionally when she’s there to watch them but my mare inevitably puts the heels to the other mare with no cause. I.e., plenty of grass in the field, plenty of room, plenty of water, plenty of shade. She just does it because she can I think . She is fine in a, “herd” situation but with just one other horse she’s horrible.
                        also we will be moving to another state in a few months and while I could probably find her a decent boarding situation if I try really hard, I just think it would be difficult. So that’s it, I could probably leave her where she is when we move , I don’t even know, I haven’t asked the owner. But I just think it might make more sense to euthanize her while I am still nearby, before she starts going downhill physically more and more.
                        I am struggling with it because she is mostly a healthy and happy horse aside from her physical limitations, which are not horribly serious at this point, but which I know will continue to worsen.
                        thoughts
                        Last edited by Cruiser12; Nov. 20, 2019, 05:30 PM. Reason: Spelling

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Look, if the horse limps every trot step, it hurts. Ending constant pain in an animal who can’t just lay on the couch watching TV thinking tomorrow might be a better day is not a matter of convenience. All the horse knows is the pain of today and every day.

                          Matter of compassion and selflessness, are you keeping her around for you and your guilt that you can’t fix this., not her best interests.

                          Often disagreeable, fussy horses are that way because they are never comfortable, may not sleep well, get depressed, whatever. Do you really want to load her and her chronically sore leg and haul hours to another state far from everything she knows thinking it’s best for her? Or because it’s best for you?

                          Think about it. And remember it’s your decision and yours alone, not that of cyber friends who may never have faced the decision or even owned a horse. Many of these people don’t have personal experience with this, just parrot what they read or heard. It’s a very, very individual and personal decision that should never be second guessed by the cyber or real life peanut gallery.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            I am in the position where I will have to make a "convenience euthanasia" decision in the next couple of years or so.
                            "Convenience" as I have made the decision NOT to invasively treat my retired 12 year old mare for any illness or injury- who I have had since birth.

                            Mare is a beautiful soul - her whinney every morning when she sees my light go on is sweet. I'm sure that the neighbours really love that when she is at the front of my property . .

                            Mare had a paddock accident when she was 2 1/2 years old where her left hind was opened to the bone with exposed joint capsules at the hock and fetlock. How she didnt cut the tendons, I dont know. After compression bandaging for 4 months - bandages changed every 2 days and, after 3 weeks, by myself and my flatmate - she was givenuntil she was 4 before she was broken in formally.

                            My horse breaker took double his normal time to complete the breaking in process as he wanted to really really really make sure that the leg would stand up - so she went mustering, hill riding with his clients, riding through the river with him as well as arena work. I had a couple of short seasons successfully competing her. And then the lameness started .... We are in a drought prone area - so ground got hard, she went lame. Ground softened, she was fine. Finally, started having trouble bending on a 10m circle. The specialist vet said very clearly that it was her back - when she hit the ground and the leg was caught in the fence, she damaged all of the ligaments in front of her back. Right where the back of my 18.5" saddle sits. Cant be fixed. She was retired at 8 years old. With probably all up 18 months of riding.

                            We live on the flat and it disguises how lame she can be. So, to keep her mentally happy and with some physical exercise - I taught her competitive dog obedience . Walking at heel off lead, stays, recalls and, yes, retrieves!! She thoroughly enjoys that. We still do it.

                            But she is lame again. Just a little. Could be rich grass - could just be the typical spring temperature fluctuation. I'm managing that.

                            I've had a chat to the vet about this ethical question. There are no reason why the vet wouldnt euthanise when I ask.
                            Still Working_on_it - one day I will get it!

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              What you're talking about, Cruiser12, is not a "convenience euthanasia," it's choosing to euthanize an already lame horse with a progressive condition that will only get worse and be more painful as time goes on. This is what responsible and caring owners do for their horses.
                              "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                              that's even remotely true."

                              Homer Simpson

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
                                What you're talking about, Cruiser12, is not a "convenience euthanasia," it's choosing to euthanize an already lame horse with a progressive condition that will only get worse and be more painful as time goes on. This is what responsible and caring owners do for their horses.
                                This. Sorry you are in this position OP.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Cruiser12 Please do not feel bad.

                                  I am facing a very similar situation. In my case, the animal is behaviourally unsound and cannot be trusted as a riding horse. He is at least 25 years old, about 14.3, physically healthy, an 'average' keeper, and cute as a button, but totally spun mentally. I have given him a good life for 15 years. Two owners back before us he had been abused and it still shows. He is extremely anxious. While the gelding has improved with time and sympathetic handling, he will never be reliable. The problem is that lately he has taken to bolting out-of-the-blue when ridden (in the true sense: running off blindly and out-of-control; full panic mode).

                                  I cannot 'place' him as a companion animal because (understandably) nobody wants one and I cannot trust that he will not be ridden - people always assume they can 'fix' whatever the problem is, don't they - and someone will get hurt AND the horse will likely be sent down the road to the auction, or worse end up abused again. This gelding is not worth much monetarily. I have already invested years in him. He is not my only horse and he was originally purchased as a school horse prospect - a job for which he is eminently UNsuited. I have given him every chance. It has come down to taking responsibility for his future prospects and being realistic. I have to decide when 'enough is enough'. It's soon. I will wait until after Christmas simply because I have to have the finances on hand to euth him. Euthasia and disposal is going to fall in the $500-$600 range.

                                  It would not be right to do otherwise.
                                  No matter where you go, there you are

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    Thank you all for your support. I know it’s for the best. I just love her, she really is just sweetest hay burner!!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      I believe too many people have no thought as to what happens to their horse when they are not usefull or have problems or the multitude of issues in owning a horse. I'm more concerned about how things happen rather that why they happen.

                                      I hesitate commenting but after experiencing too many euthanasia's I'm more concerned that the people involved know what they are doing. Which means the horse will not.

                                      It's very difficult to lead a horse out to grass (or a pail of grain) knowing that as they are enjoying that moment it is their last because there is a gun by their head. Having been through this several times I'm convinced the death is less traumatic than lethat injection.

                                      Lethal injection by an experienced horse vet can be quick but the horse of course does not want a big needle stuck in it's neck and thus is aware. Should you decide to sedate first, the horse's heart rate is slowed which means when the pink fliud is injected it takes a longer time for it to reach and stop the heart. If your horse is one of those that does not repond as expected (for many reasons) it can be a nightmare.

                                      For those appalled at shooting, if you live in Wisconsin you may find that your vet will offer the shooting option due to enviornmental regulations about the toxic euthanasia solution.
                                      So now these extra considerations may cause people to avoid the euthanasia decision and just escape by sending the horse off to a sale/auction.
                                      Again there are few discussions of such things, classic reacion to things we find unpleasant.


                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by twadwis View Post
                                        I believe too many people have no thought as to what happens to their horse when they are not usefull or have problems or the multitude of issues in owning a horse. I'm more concerned about how things happen rather that why they happen.

                                        I hesitate commenting but after experiencing too many euthanasia's I'm more concerned that the people involved know what they are doing. Which means the horse will not.

                                        It's very difficult to lead a horse out to grass (or a pail of grain) knowing that as they are enjoying that moment it is their last because there is a gun by their head. Having been through this several times I'm convinced the death is less traumatic than lethat injection.

                                        Lethal injection by an experienced horse vet can be quick but the horse of course does not want a big needle stuck in it's neck and thus is aware. Should you decide to sedate first, the horse's heart rate is slowed which means when the pink fliud is injected it takes a longer time for it to reach and stop the heart. If your horse is one of those that does not repond as expected (for many reasons) it can be a nightmare.

                                        For those appalled at shooting, if you live in Wisconsin you may find that your vet will offer the shooting option due to enviornmental regulations about the toxic euthanasia solution.
                                        So now these extra considerations may cause people to avoid the euthanasia decision and just escape by sending the horse off to a sale/auction.
                                        Again there are few discussions of such things, classic reacion to things we find unpleasant.

                                        I too wish that it could be done without a lethal injection, but with a gun in experienced hands. I am just afraid that that option is probably not available. I will ask my vet, although I suspect he would have offered it if it was an option. I think it would be great if the deceased animals could be donated to zoos to feed the big cats etc. at least their death would bring something positive.

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                                        • #60
                                          I had a beautiful 5 yo mare that I bought thinking she only needed time, and love to relax and be the perfect ride. Didn't happen. After 9 years and several trainers, medical work-ups and "let's start again as if she was green" I retired her- she was never safe and would get "light in front" any time she got tense. She was aggressive towards other horses but got screamed and paced if she was alone, hated being stalled and was unhappy on 24/7 turnout. I was asked to remove her from 4 different barns. My vet totally agreed with me that euthanasia was the kindest option for her. She was only 15 and healthy but my god she had a screw loose. My vet was incredibly kind and understanding- I was so grateful. I suppose this was a convenience euthanasia" but I shudder to think what might have happened to her if I had sold her.

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