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"Convenience euthanasia" question

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  • #61
    A young friend in high school made the decision to euthanize her lovely 12 y.o. Appaloosa gelding with lingering aftereffects of an injury and persistent lameness. Julie Goodnight's website has an article, Dealing with the Death of a Horse.

    "This decision might be made easier by considering “The Five Freedoms of Horses,” which outline five aspects of animal welfare under our control:
    • Freedom from hunger and thirst.
    • Freedom from discomfort.
    • Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
    • Freedom from distress and fear.
    • Freedom to express natural behavior."
    "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019

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    • #62
      Mistyblue and MVP, I know Tufts has a euthanasia program for small animals, I think they have one for large animals too. It would suck to have to transport a sick/injured horse there to get it euthanized, because the mobile vet won't do it, but at least it is an option.

      I have a friend who had a 25yo colicing horse. The vet couldn't find a cause, so left to see other clients, and didn't suggest euthanasia as an option. My friend had the horse taken to Tufts, so she could get some answers, even though she was not going to do surgery. I must say, she gave them a $$ amount and they stayed within it. US showed what they believed to be a strangulating lipoma, and the horse was euthanized - after suffering all day.

      I remember a number of years ago, a woman from Spencer passed away. She had in her will that her two elderly horses should be euthanized. It didn't happen. There was much outrage. The horses were re homed instead.

      I think most people are so far removed from animal husbandry and death that they freak out about it. Heck my mother spent close to $20k she didn't really have to spend, over 4 years on an elderly shelter dog. On top of (or more likely because of), the physical issues, the dog had horrible separation anxiety, and general anxiety. None of the many vets and specialists they saw ever suggested euthanasia as an option. it wasn't until they found masses on his lungs and intestines that a vet from an emergency clinic finally suggested it. The dog was finally euthanized the next day.

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      • #63
        I'm looking at potentially euthing mare that I have. She's sound according to multiple vets. I've spent probably close to £10k on various scans, massage, chiro, acupuncture, lameness work ups and more. She's a stunning little mare and every time I've tried to ride her she's freaked out. Like full on throwing herself to the ground freaked out. Happens with and without a saddle.

        She's turned away and is quite happy by I couldn't in good conscience sell her because I know what she's like. I'm an experienced rider and have worked with plenty of young horse. She's the only one who regularly made me think she wanted to kill me.
        Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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        • #64
          Originally posted by kookicat View Post
          I'm looking at potentially euthing mare that I have. She's sound according to multiple vets. I've spent probably close to £10k on various scans, massage, chiro, acupuncture, lameness work ups and more. She's a stunning little mare and every time I've tried to ride her she's freaked out. Like full on throwing herself to the ground freaked out. Happens with and without a saddle.

          She's turned away and is quite happy by I couldn't in good conscience sell her because I know what she's like. I'm an experienced rider and have worked with plenty of young horse. She's the only one who regularly made me think she wanted to kill me.
          I understand. You can’t help them all.

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          • #65
            Not wanting to be indelicate but dealing with the remains must be mentioned and planned for.

            If you have one that you know has this looming in the near future, need to consider it happening in an inaccessible place making the vets job much harder and presenting a real problem removing the very large and heavy remains from a tight area. Bad as it is having them unable to rise anywhere, trying to tend to them in a in a confined area is worse and removing the remains a nightmare. Nothing dignified about it, can be very expensive and sure not the way you want to remember them.

            Keep that in mind as well. Nobody likes to think about it but it’s part of the responsibility of ownership.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by myrna View Post
              Someone i know and really care for put her 2 horses down as she was getting on in years and didn't feel anyone could take care of them as she did.I still feel it was the wrong decision.She never asked any one if they could take them on.I always thought that the older mare would end her days here,she was about 20,and her daughter maybe 12.Both beautiful horses with so much life ahead of them.If there are NO alternatives then euthanasia is a viable option,but in this case it was wrong.
              See I disagree. They were her horses and she did what she felt was right and best for them and ultimately best for her peace of mind.

              Both my mares are well broke , easily handled , regularly ridden and in their early-mid teens. If something happened tomorrow where I could no longer keep and care for them, I would opt for euthanasia as my first choice even though I know plenty of people( plus vets/ farriers) who could find a good place for them.

              That to me is convenience euthanasia and it isn't wrong because every decision relating to my horses is mine to make as long as it doesn't put them in a bad situation. There are just too many horses out there and too many promises of "forever homes" or good homes that go bad.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by mvp View Post
                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.
                You make a very good point here.
                It unerpins my ethical discussion with the vet about my retired 12 year old mare.
                Why? I have already had this conversation with my dog vet in relation to my very timid, reactive BC. HE initiated it so that, if we had to make a call on major surgery or illness, we wouldnt have to have the discussion then. It is on her notes and I have been asked about it by younger vets. My little BC is still going strong at 8 years old about 5 years after that conversation.
                Still Working_on_it - one day I will get it!

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by FlashGordon View Post
                  I'm confused on the definition of "convenience euthanasia."



                  See THAT is what I'd consider "convenience euthanasia." And really how often does that happen? Not very often I'd bet. The stories on this thread of unsound, geriatric, dangerous horses being put down... those are not "convenience euthanasias" IMO. Those are responsible choices made for the good of the horse.

                  I really doubt there are that many owners out there euthanizing horses willy nilly. It is not a fun thing to do and I don't think it is a decision that any horse owner takes lightly. In 20 years of being in horses I can't say I've known any owner that has put a horse down for an unwarranted reason.
                  Well you could do what a dirt bag I know did to his horse after years of service carting his sorry ass all over the mountains. He dumped him at the feedlot so he could get a "few bucks for him." He advised my husband to do the same with his old horse but DH has too much integrity and cares for his horse too much to surrender him to a horrible fate.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Cruiser12 View Post

                    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.
                    Some zoos or big cat sanctuaries will do this - you would have to check with the ones near you. But in most cases you have to trailer the live horse to them and they do the dispatching on site.
                    Flickr

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                    • #70
                      I have two standardbred geldings, 1996 and 2002 models. The older of the two is paddock sound but not under saddle, he's quiet to ride and would suffer through being ridden in silence. The younger, while sound, was broken to race, never raced, floated around in a paddock for a decade or so and then I got him, he had two weeks under saddle with a pro a few years ago and then my life exploded and he's not done anything since.

                      If anything happens to me, both are getting bullet but as the drought worsens, feed gets harder to source and the costs of horse ownership rise (while my own work cuts hours) I've been considering euthing both. I love them dearly but my old boy doesn't deserve the risk of ending up being ridden again and the younger one is really only worth dog meat money. I'd rather put them safely in the ground where I know they'll not be suffering. Both have had a good run.
                      I am lucky in that my agistment owner would shoot both for me and bury them. (If he couldn't I know enough hunters and shooters who could.)

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                      • #71
                        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 really have to disagree with you on a couple of points here.

                        First, euthing with a sedative is no worse to a horse than having it sedated for minor procedures. The horse doesn't know the difference, and in case of colic or other traumatic injury, will barely ever feel that needle. That said, I did have a needle-phobic mare who was ALSO immune to Ket. Euthanizing her was a bloody nightmare. The other four I've had put down were as simple, easy, painless, and peaceful as could be. One went down even before we'd administered all of the mix.

                        And shooting a horse is a skill that most don't have. I knew someone who's horse injured itself badly. They trailered to the vet, vet said there was nothing he could do, and offered to euth in the trailer. Owner said no, we'll take him home and shoot him. An hour later, the vet got a call - please come euth the horse. My friend had tried to shoot the horse, and it went very, very bad. He was an experienced hunter and sharpshooter, but he didn't know how to do this.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Alex and Bodie's Mom View Post

                          I really have to disagree with you on a couple of points here.

                          First, euthing with a sedative is no worse to a horse than having it sedated for minor procedures. The horse doesn't know the difference, and in case of colic or other traumatic injury, will barely ever feel that needle. That said, I did have a needle-phobic mare who was ALSO immune to Ket. Euthanizing her was a bloody nightmare. The other four I've had put down were as simple, easy, painless, and peaceful as could be. One went down even before we'd administered all of the mix.

                          And shooting a horse is a skill that most don't have. I knew someone who's horse injured itself badly. They trailered to the vet, vet said there was nothing he could do, and offered to euth in the trailer. Owner said no, we'll take him home and shoot him. An hour later, the vet got a call - please come euth the horse. My friend had tried to shoot the horse, and it went very, very bad. He was an experienced hunter and sharpshooter, but he didn't know how to do this.
                          Yes. Shooting a horse is a skill that the vast majority of people do not have. Except under a very few specific situations, shooting is not the best option. I know exactly one person that I would trust to euthanize a horse by shooting it.

                          And despite the horror stories people love to repeat, almost all chemical euthanasias are quick, peaceful, and easy on the horse.
                          "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                          that's even remotely true."

                          Homer Simpson

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                            Not to slightly derail...but how many folks can find any vet who will do a euth for a non-terminal horse?

                            I know around here it can be hard as heck...even if the situation isn't anywhere near being for convenience. As in a horse with a serious illness that will only get worse in the future and owner wanting to put it down before it gets bad/painful. Or an older than the earth horse with all sorts of health issues but still acting fine. (eating, eliminating, not hobbling badly, etc)

                            There are even a few vets around here that will not euthanize serious colic cases...insisting the owner send it for surgery even if it isn't a good surgery candidate or owner can in no way afford the surgery, etc.

                            I've known quite a few owners who've gone through Hades and back trying to euthanize a horse in situations like these and not being able to. And if you can't get your regular vet to do it, good luck hiring a new one just to euthanize.

                            So I get confused over the convenience euthanasia because sometimes it's next to impossible to get it done even on a horse that 99% of folks would consider it a kindness.
                            I think it's geographic. I had a little mare that I purchased from an auction, she ended up being much older than we thought (malnourished, so her teeth were a mess and hard to age.) She did ok and put weight on when I lived in AZ, but my work moved me to Orange County and after a very traumatic trailer ride, she began declining Day 1 @ new OC mega-barn. Literally woke up with a giant swollen eye, she was stocking up every night no matter what we tried, and you could tell she was uncomfortable. My peppy girl went to dragging toes and being painful to ride because she just did. not. want to go.

                            Vet had no issue euthanizing her, and agreed with what some of my new barnmates had said - it costs just as much to keep your NQR aging horse as it would to have one that you can use. Cost of keeping a horse in the area was the main driver of the argument, as was the unavailability of an affordable pasture/retirement boarding option within a reasonable distance.

                            I ended up finding her a perfect home with a family on a few acres a few hours away, and she's completely rebounded and looks the best I've ever seen. It's very evident though that she requires a very specific boarding situation to be healthy. If I were unable to give her that, the dignified thing to do would be to put her down. I can't expect someone else to make concessions and spend money on a horse they don't have a history with.

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                            • #74
                              A peaceful...HUMANE end is better than ending up in a slaughter house....the horror of that journey is unimaginable...when a "good" home...where you can keep an eye on him isn't possible...euthanasia is much safer for the future of the horse.....no long time suffering in terrible conditions. People don't usually spend a lot of time and money on older, unrideable horses...and death can take a long time when a horse is suffering!
                              www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

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                              • #75
                                When working in vet clinical we defined "Convenience euthanasia" as that where there were no physical reasons for ED> Grandma died, ; euthanize her pets. We are moving; euthanize. The dog is too big for the house, euthanize. I am off to college, put him down. Sadly encountered it more with dogs and cats than with horses.

                                putting down an older and/or unsound horse is not what I consider a convenience ED, it is a reasonable compassionate option
                                Last edited by hoopoe; Nov. 24, 2019, 05:37 PM.
                                _\\]
                                -- * > hoopoe
                                Procrastinate NOW
                                Introverted Since 1957

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                                • #76
                                  This is a great topic to bring up, I think most people in the horse world are afraid or for whatever reason totally avoid euthanizing their own horses. Hence the sad problem the horse world has with overflowing rescues and auctions.

                                  I cringe every time I see people posting on Facebook trying to give away their old or lame horse, looking for the perfect, magical, 'forever' home. I have seen it happen literally hundreds of times that people give their horse away to what they thought was this amazing dream stable and family that were supposed to love 'old sugar' for the rest of his life, only to find out the horse was given away again or just plain disappeared after 1-3-6 months. Then the old owners seek vengeance or splatter post every horse page looking for their horse that disappeared despite signing some silly contract.

                                  I used to manage the equine department at a humane society, the majority of people that surrendered horses to us were owners that had really old or really lame horses. Then we would end up euthanizing them because they were suffering so much with their health or they had behavioral issues were so severe that most people would never adopt them. It was a heartbreaking job. Horse owners need to know it is an option, it should absolutely be a last resort, but no one should feel guilty for having to do it if you've exhausted all other training and care options.

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                                  • #77
                                    Originally posted by hoopoe View Post
                                    When working in vet clinical we defined "Convenience euthanasia" as that where there were no physical reasons for ED> Grandma died, ; euthanize her pets. We are moving; euthanize. The dog is too big for the house, euthanize. I am off to college, put him down. Sadly encountered it more with dogs and cats than with horses.

                                    putting down an older and/or unsound horse is not what I consider a convenience ED, it is a reasonable compassionate option
                                    so how will that be handled under this new Federal Law?
                                    The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) is a bipartisan initiative that bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement or other serious harm to "living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians."
                                    https://www.npr.org/2019/11/25/78284...-federal-crime

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      Originally posted by clanter View Post

                                      so how will that be handled under this new Federal Law?


                                      https://www.npr.org/2019/11/25/78284...-federal-crime
                                      I think the operative word it HUMANE!

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                                      • #79
                                        Originally posted by Cruiser12 View Post

                                        I think the operative word it HUMANE!
                                        with the twisted judicial I believe humane might have various connotations

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                                        • #80
                                          Originally posted by clanter View Post

                                          so how will that be handled under this new Federal Law?


                                          https://www.npr.org/2019/11/25/78284...-federal-crime
                                          The new law, if you read it, is geared intentionally towards 'crush' videos (please don't Google), and other intentional torture for animals. It will not in any way affect humane euthanasia. Frankly, I am shocked it was passed at all, but apparently it is a 'clean up' effort to put teeth to an existing law.

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