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Arthritis and ending the suffering

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  • Arthritis and ending the suffering

    Hello all! This is my first post here, as I didn't want to really post it on Facebook in the known "Horse health discussion" page to try and deter the keyboard warriors that may have a negative opinion on whats been on my mind.
    Background info: Five years ago I bought a quirky, ugly duckling paint horse. Even as I tried him out and lifted his back legs and the sellers told me "he has an issue lifting that leg up" I bought the sucker just because.
    Our History: I planned on taking this horse to college with me to barrel race, but as I got him to college and started riding more frequently, the issues we faced while riding were the same and never changing. Lack of impulsion, terrible time getting into the opposite lead/holding that lead (and seriously, its not fun to ride either).
    Now: Five years later I've still got the dang horse, never made progress with him I wanted for fear of making things worse or him getting hurt. I've had xrays done to show some pretty good arthritis in just one hind fetlock which is keeping him from being able to fully flex his fetlock/leg and obviously affecting his whole riding career and willingness to please. $300 shots, all the supplements you can try haven't and just won't fix this. I'll also mention his winters are getting rougher and rougher for what I can offer him (stocking up, very stiff, ect)
    The Question: I love this horse, but we also have had a love hate relationship since I've owned him and he's just that kind of horse that has his own way of thinking about life and it's very annoying. I don't want to sell him because of his prognosis, but I hate that any time I get on him I'm causing him more discomfort then he's already dealing with daily.
    When do you decide an 11 year old horse is better off being put down? I mean I know he's not "old" but I don't have access to acres of land so throwing him out in a pasture isn't an option for me, and to be honest, I don't want to give him away because Kill Pens are huge around here and I know he'd end up in one eventually.

    Please be kind! While I don't enjoy his company, I do care that he is uncomfortable and want what's in his best interest! I'd love to hear your stories!

    Thanks guys! I'd appreciate your own stories about this kind of thing!

  • #2
    Originally posted by tjwagner4 View Post
    Hello all! This is my first post here, as I didn't want to really post it on Facebook in the known "Horse health discussion" page to try and deter the keyboard warriors that may have a negative opinion on whats been on my mind.
    Background info: Five years ago I bought a quirky, ugly duckling paint horse. Even as I tried him out and lifted his back legs and the sellers told me "he has an issue lifting that leg up" I bought the sucker just because.
    Our History: I planned on taking this horse to college with me to barrel race, but as I got him to college and started riding more frequently, the issues we faced while riding were the same and never changing. Lack of impulsion, terrible time getting into the opposite lead/holding that lead (and seriously, its not fun to ride either).
    Now: Five years later I've still got the dang horse, never made progress with him I wanted for fear of making things worse or him getting hurt. I've had xrays done to show some pretty good arthritis in just one hind fetlock which is keeping him from being able to fully flex his fetlock/leg and obviously affecting his whole riding career and willingness to please. $300 shots, all the supplements you can try haven't and just won't fix this. I'll also mention his winters are getting rougher and rougher for what I can offer him (stocking up, very stiff, ect)
    The Question: I love this horse, but we also have had a love hate relationship since I've owned him and he's just that kind of horse that has his own way of thinking about life and it's very annoying. I don't want to sell him because of his prognosis, but I hate that any time I get on him I'm causing him more discomfort then he's already dealing with daily.
    When do you decide an 11 year old horse is better off being put down? I mean I know he's not "old" but I don't have access to acres of land so throwing him out in a pasture isn't an option for me, and to be honest, I don't want to give him away because Kill Pens are huge around here and I know he'd end up in one eventually.

    Please be kind! While I don't enjoy his company, I do care that he is uncomfortable and want what's in his best interest! I'd love to hear your stories!

    Thanks guys! I'd appreciate your own stories about this kind of thing!
    You may want to post this in the health care thread, it really will get more attention there.

    Turning him out if he is not even pasture sound doesn't seem like a good idea?

    I would ask your vet to examine him, tell him what you posted and above and see what the vet thinks.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tjwagner4 View Post
      Hello all! This is my first post here, as I didn't want to really post it on Facebook in the known "Horse health discussion" page to try and deter the keyboard warriors that may have a negative opinion on whats been on my mind.
      Background info: Five years ago I bought a quirky, ugly duckling paint horse. Even as I tried him out and lifted his back legs and the sellers told me "he has an issue lifting that leg up" I bought the sucker just because.
      Our History: I planned on taking this horse to college with me to barrel race, but as I got him to college and started riding more frequently, the issues we faced while riding were the same and never changing. Lack of impulsion, terrible time getting into the opposite lead/holding that lead (and seriously, its not fun to ride either).
      Now: Five years later I've still got the dang horse, never made progress with him I wanted for fear of making things worse or him getting hurt. I've had xrays done to show some pretty good arthritis in just one hind fetlock which is keeping him from being able to fully flex his fetlock/leg and obviously affecting his whole riding career and willingness to please. $300 shots, all the supplements you can try haven't and just won't fix this. I'll also mention his winters are getting rougher and rougher for what I can offer him (stocking up, very stiff, ect)
      The Question: I love this horse, but we also have had a love hate relationship since I've owned him and he's just that kind of horse that has his own way of thinking about life and it's very annoying. I don't want to sell him because of his prognosis, but I hate that any time I get on him I'm causing him more discomfort then he's already dealing with daily.
      When do you decide an 11 year old horse is better off being put down? I mean I know he's not "old" but I don't have access to acres of land so throwing him out in a pasture isn't an option for me, and to be honest, I don't want to give him away because Kill Pens are huge around here and I know he'd end up in one eventually.

      Please be kind! While I don't enjoy his company, I do care that he is uncomfortable and want what's in his best interest! I'd love to hear your stories!

      Thanks guys! I'd appreciate your own stories about this kind of thing!
      You are in a tough spot. You bought a horse with a known health issue, and it's unfortunately not surprising he cannot perform well under saddle if he's had a fetlock issue that limits his range of motion in that joint since he was a 6 year old (which was likely to be the result of an accident, at that age and given it is unilateral.)

      It's not clear to me if he is or would be sound for a lower intensity job or even as a pasture pet/companion. (And I'd agree with you that the prospects for an 11 year old pasture ornament are pretty limited.)

      If he is not sound enough to be happy in either of those environments, or he is pasture sound but you don't want or cannot for whatever reason retire him to a pasture situation, I would perhaps investigate whether he might be useful to a vet school as a blood donor or something along those lines. If not, then you have a hard decision to make.

      I had a horse years ago who was similar - he had been in race training and was injured as a young horse, we did a very careful rehab and he had a number of good years as a hunter afterward but the injury caught up with him as a 10 year old and he simply wasn't comfortable enough being happy as a riding horse. My vet at the time arranged for him to be a blood donor at our local vet school and he had a very nice retirement there. He was well cared for and lived out the rest of his days in a pretty decent situation.
      **********
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
      -PaulaEdwina

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      • #4
        I would say put him down. Quality of life is paramount and I will never let any of mine suffer when they get to that point.

        Comment


        • #5
          OP, you are a young adult, this horse is 11 and not rideable? In your spot, I'd put him down. I'll bet you could spend at least a decade of money feeding him in a pasture. But what does that do to your pocket book at this stage in your life? And I respect your wanting to do the right thing for this horse. It sounds like you have pursued some kind of treatment for it--- joint injections don't do enough and I assume that bute doesn't either? And you really don't want him to start the whole cycle again where someone who doesn't know he's unsound tries there luck at giving him a riding career.

          I have euthanized a horse. This one's days were definitely numbered and I decided at the start of that summer that it would be his last. I really didn't want to see him hurting worse in the cold and early darkness of our rainy winters. I have watched people not euthanize horses that I think were ready to go. A euthanasia done well is peaceful for them, even if it's hard, hard, hard for us. I'd never want to wait to long, or lie to myself about the horse's quality of life being "not too bad" until it was really bad!

          I wouldn't judge you for putting him down, or keeping him as a pasture pet. But I think it's admirable that you know that his buck stops with you and you won't pass him off to someone else who might not care enough about him to be as honest as you are.

          Best of luck with your decision.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tjwagner4 View Post
            Background info: Five years ago I bought a quirky, ugly duckling paint horse. Even as I tried him out and lifted his back legs and the sellers told me "he has an issue lifting that leg up" I bought the sucker just because.
            Our History: I planned on taking this horse to college with me to barrel race, but as I got him to college and started riding more frequently, the issues we faced while riding were the same and never changing. Lack of impulsion, terrible time getting into the opposite lead/holding that lead (and seriously, its not fun to ride either).
            Just as a future life lesson, barrel racing is hard enough on a horse's body, much less for one with a known issue. Save yourself some heartache and don't buy a horse in the future with a known lameness issue if your intent is to barrel race. Just my two cents on that (being a fellow barrel racer!)

            Originally posted by tjwagner4 View Post
            The Question: I love this horse, but we also have had a love hate relationship since I've owned him and he's just that kind of horse that has his own way of thinking about life and it's very annoying. I don't want to sell him because of his prognosis, but I hate that any time I get on him I'm causing him more discomfort then he's already dealing with daily.
            When do you decide an 11 year old horse is better off being put down? I mean I know he's not "old" but I don't have access to acres of land so throwing him out in a pasture isn't an option for me, and to be honest, I don't want to give him away because Kill Pens are huge around here and I know he'd end up in one eventually.

            Please be kind! While I don't enjoy his company, I do care that he is uncomfortable and want what's in his best interest! I'd love to hear your stories!
            If he is uncomfortable and you can't make him comfortable, then put him down. It's the kindest option for the horse.

            I put down one of my horses at the age of 14. Should have been in the prime of his life. He was 1D/2D and high 17's on a standard pattern but he developed pretty bad arthritis in his hock and hip. Some days couldn't even trot on his own in the pasture. I had him since a 6 month old. I still miss him (and I put him down 7 years ago already) but it was the best choice for him and I am at peace with it. He had become grumpy and irritable and that was not him. So I knew it was time.

            Do what is best for the horse.... not what is best for you. Good luck.

            It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would put him down rather than rehome him, unless you can find a reputable rescue or like another poster said, a vet school. You already know the likelihood of him ending up in a bad situation obviously, and the arthritis will only get worse. I've got two in their late teens with arthritis, luckily both are pasture sound, and can be ridden lightly but would never be suitable for any kind of competition.. some days they feel great, some days they are gimpy, but not so bad that it is problematic for them. i know the time will come when it IS a problem though, and i will be in your shoes. It sucks, but it is the kindest thing you can do for them. Good luck <3

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi there...My heart hurts for you as I am essentially in a very similar situation. I would like to offer my post to you for guidance as someone who also came here in need of support and kind words of wisdom. The folks on this post were so helpful in making my decision so hopefully they help you too.

                http://chronofhorse.com/forum/forum/...t-through-this

                I have made the decision to put my 7yo mare to rest the week before Thanksgiving if we can get it scheduled...I still have a hard time making the call to the vet. I am broken. I have some push back from people in my life about the decision, but ultimately WE are the ones who know our horses and have their best interest in our minds and hearts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would very carefully look for homes before choosing euthanasia.

                  Around here, most people with horses are retired, do not ride, and have plenty of pasture. I would say for every horse that is ridden, there are 3 more that are just pasture pets.

                  My neighbors are retired and have a blind appaloosa they rescued. Another neighbor had 20 retired Arabians. The herd is dwindling because they are passing away. Most of those horses are 40 yrs old.

                  My friend rehomed her older horse twice. The first time it didn't work out as the teens were supposed to care for him but didn't. She took him back. The second home was perfect. It is an RV resort with 20 acres of pasture in the back. Horse has plenty of grass and lots of visitors with treats. My friend can visit any time.

                  Another friend of my parents took in all elderly horses, keeps them until old age gets to them and eventually has them put down. She brushes them daily. Might ride once a month, if that. But the horses are loved and cared for.

                  Not everyone wants horses that are rideable. Another friend of mine just bought a horse for his wife "to look at". His wife is often in the hospital but she loves the horses. The horse now has a great home and good food.

                  So my point here is that while the kill buyers are something to worry about, there are still plenty of people willing to take older or lame horses and love and care for them until their time comes.

                  The people to watch out for are the ones that show up with the trailer and want to take the horse on the spot.

                  Ask a very small adoption fee, ask for references and actually call the references, talk to the potential owner. Ask to see the property they want to keep the horse at. Most kill buyers won't want you on their property or show you where they live. Look for a retired person who isn't that interested in riding anymore.

                  It isn't impossible - i bet your horse is easier to rehome then a 20 yr old with cushings disease and dental issues.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    4horses, where are you? In most areas it is nearly impossible to place a pasture pet and most people ride their horses. The pasture pets I know of were all bought originally as riding horses by the person now supporting them.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Hey all! I see there are still people replying. And agreed MsM, it’s hard where I am to find pasture for horses without spending over 2500 an acre. As an update, My gelding is on free lease to a younger girl I know as a pasture friend to her horses. She will give him back to me when she needs to.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Horse was and still is feeling arthritic pain. You've tried everything to help him. Winter is coming and won't be pleasant. I would never re-home a horse under those conditions. Because once he's changed hands circumstances change and you have lost all control. Better a swift, humane end. I know it's hard. Try and think things from his point of view.you don't want him to go to slaughter where he will be terrified.

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