When would you kill your horse?

Cortrasna

Grumpy old nag
Aug 5, 2009
9,901
3,065
113
Ireland
#1
Starting a new thread on this as really don't want to clog up KP's thread about her pony with negative input - and taking into account her obvious aversion to responding to anything I contribute to her threads of course :eek::D

Rather more seriously than my rather sarcastic humour - when do you decide or would you decide with a horse or pony that the right thing to do is euthanasia? it seems to me reading responses to that particular thread, and other threads on here from NR members we all vary hugely on what we consider the right set of circumstances to shoot our horses?

To be clear - I have in mind certain circumstances and scenarios where I would without hesitation kill. I use the word kill deliberately - I always feel PTS , let go, make the right decision and euthanasia etc. rather sugar coat exactly what we are doing and the depth of the decision we are taking. I tend to think if we allow ourselves to say - "at this point shall I kill this horse/dog/cat or is there another way forward " does sharpen our perception of what we are doing and clarify the sometimes rather uncomfortable reality of why we have reached that decision.

I wont expand on my thoughts and decisions I have made and would make and why at this stage - but very interested to hear yours?;)
 

lauren123

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2007
2,861
907
113
East Yorkshire
#2
Hmmm. Interesting question!
I will use sox as a example. With him i have already decided given his very long medical history. That he will only go back up to my vet hospital for impaction colic, everything else is to be done on the yard. He isnt to be box rested. At a push i would pen rest him but if it would have to be for months.
I wouldnt put him through that. It wouldnt be fair on him.
All the way through our journey its been his quailty of life. If he cant be a normal horse, canter or trot when he wants then i wouldnt let him suffer,due to me.
With the navicular,IBD and everything else he has had. Personally i felt i could let him go before i had tried every option to get him sound. I felt as his owner i owed it to him to try every viable option. However i declined the cutting his nerves to his feet. I was strongly against that and felt and still feel tjat just because there is that option doesnt mean i had to take it. Also that would be for my benefit,not his.

If it was a emergency situation (broken leg,bad RTA) then yes i would.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Learning together!
Apr 30, 2010
16,713
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58
Surrey Hills
#3
To me the word "kill" has overtones of violence, which is why I don't use it - I would say put down or euthanise, but I do understand what you mean about sugar coating.

I still miss my lovely dog Molly every day. I had her put down last year when she refused to eat after a very painful attack of pancreatitis. She was happy and bright, but she would not eat, and she was quickly turning into a bag of bones and getting weaker by the day. It was quite an easy decision as these things go and I was there with her. If she had started to eat again, even though the vet thought it would be a long haul, I would have given her every chance.

I was seriously thinking about having Ziggy put down when he would not come right after his laminitis. It wasn't that his pain was awful, but it seemed possible that he would not ever be able to live as he has been used to live, out with his friends. I was considering euthanising him partly because I thought that living in a box is unacceptable for any animal, and partly (I am being really honest here) because I know I wouldn't have the time, money or emotional capacity to look after a horse on permanent box rest who will never work again. Fortunately for both of us, this looks much less likely now. So in his case my view was partly about him and partly about me.

Like @lauren123 I have also decided that Ziggy has been through enough medical interventions that I will not send him to horsepital again.
 

domane

Chatterbox
Jul 31, 2005
15,126
4,616
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#4
Dom and I have already had the talk about Jack and if anything catastrophic happened to him we would "kill" him (kindly!!). Although we think he's only rising 20, his PPID seems to have aged him, although he seems very healthy in his retirement. He's not a sociable horse with the herd and although he likes to know they're there, he chooses to keep on the periphery and is a bit of a loner. He is on a low dose of pergolide and we don't have him blood tested. Our vets are in full agreement with our decision and management of him as they see lots of horses that are on 4 x Prascend tablets a day and have a multitude of issues but are clearly being kept alive purely because the owners are unable to part with them.

I always say "there are a lot worse things for horses than death". Most domesticated animals don't have the same lifespan as a human so when you take them on you have to make your peace with the fact that you will probably outlive them.

Our gorgeous black lab is only 9 but she had a mast cell tumour removed last year and she now seems old before her time. Again, Dom and I have decided that if any big issues come up again with her we won't prolong her life just for our benefit.

We adore our animals but we feel that we are realistic. It's about quality of life.
 
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newforest

She's not fat, she's too short :-)
Mar 15, 2008
25,271
8,707
113
A field
#5
I can only really go on personal experiences. And I don't mind questions if people want to ask anything.

I have made that call twice.
The first I did get shot- wouldn't do that again, second was an injection.

The first was an elderly mare. I knew I was her last home. I took her on knowing it would be me making that choice. As a first horse I hadn't realised it would be so soon into our partnership.
I had retired her but was leading out. Her behaviour became dangerous for me to cope with, I called the vet to check her over. Few tests later probably a week, they rung to say her kidneys were failing. We can't give you bute either.
I decided to let her have the summer, but it was becoming clear that was my benefit and not hers. Booked the lorry.
She deteriorated, rebooked the lorry for a soon as.
I still have her ashes. Must fix that.

Next comes J. He was only 8 and heart ripped out gutted doesn't even cover that.
But he was found collapsed in the field and it took three of us to get him in, called the vet. They didn't know why when he drunk water, it was just refluxing straight back up again.
Called them back, off to the vet. Most of the yard helped to load by lifting each leg one by one.
Impaction colic, 50/50 needs surgery. Gone through the pain barrier, been trying to unblock himself with water, never had a pony still breathing. Ok try it, he's fighting his end. Pulled the water drinker off the wall in recovery becayse he was thirsty-@cortrasna I think said quirks. Yes he had those.
Things were up and down when he came home.
But the vein went in his neck, it was a no coming from problem, but you don't have to do anything right now.
So I turned him out to play with his friend. They had the best day ever. 48 hours later he was buried.
I don't regret doing the surgery, would I do it again. I bloody hope I never put in that position again.

Of course the cob went sick and got given 20% chance. But the vet said she's too stubborn to die before she's ready! So true.

Someone once said if you have livestock, you get dead stock. That's true and over the years I've seen friends making the choice. One was just two and that really effing sucks when you bred them.
But in both of mine they were going to die a show painful death if left.

Gina that most members won't recall.
PicsArt_09-02-08.41.17.jpg

PicsArt_09-02-08.43.56.jpg
Jack, that as the years go by less members will remember him.
 

newforest

She's not fat, she's too short :-)
Mar 15, 2008
25,271
8,707
113
A field
#6
Hmmm. Interesting question!
I will use sox as a example. With him i have already decided given his very long medical history. That he will only go back up to my vet hospital for impaction colic, everything else is to be done on the yard. He isnt to be box rested. At a push i would pen rest him but if it would have to be for months.
I wouldnt put him through that. It wouldnt be fair on him.
All the way through our journey its been his quailty of life. If he cant be a normal horse, canter or trot when he wants then i wouldnt let him suffer,due to me.
With the navicular,IBD and everything else he has had. Personally i felt i could let him go before i had tried every option to get him sound. I felt as his owner i owed it to him to try every viable option. However i declined the cutting his nerves to his feet. I was strongly against that and felt and still feel tjat just because there is that option doesnt mean i had to take it. Also that would be for my benefit,not his.

If it was a emergency situation (broken leg,bad RTA) then yes i would.
Silly question. How does a horse without the nerves to his feet? Was that to remove pain that was due to nerve damage?
 

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
3,217
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...la la land
#9
Yes. It's like humans who have nerves cut to stop the pain. An acquaintance of mine has just had this done on her back due to her spinal problems. But like everything there is risk and if they had cut the wrong nerves they could be left paralysed. So I guess if they cut the wrong ones on a horse it could be left unable to walk.
 
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Bodshi

Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2009
6,080
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Yorkshire
#10
I can't honestly answer the question, I haven't had to face it with a horse yet. I have with dogs and with all of them it was very difficult to make the decision because they all had conditions that meant they deteriorated slowly. I'm pretty sure that if either horse were really ill and the only option for a possible recovery was to transport them to the vet's for an operation I would have them pts (I can't say killed, sorry) on the yard.

But if you're talking about when to call it a day with a lame horse it's very different. I can't honestly see me wanting to let Raf go, if he could be kept sound and happy on pain relief then I don't think I could bring myself to have him pts, even if I couldn't ride him. I think I could if it were Jack because he's old and I don't have such an emotional attachment to him.

But what am I saying - Jack has Navicular which means that although he's paddock sound and sound in walk, he can't be hammered on hard surfaces as he quickly goes lame, albeit only temporarily. So we are keeping him in virtual retirement (not just because of that, but because my OH doesn't ride any more) at great expense and simply because it doesn't feel right to put an otherwise healthy animal down, plus I feel he deserves a retirement after spending his long life serving humans. OH would like rid of him because as he rightly says we could have another mortgage for what his livery costs, but I won't help him and he won't do anything about it himself because he doesn't really want the guilt - he'd be quite happy if someone else would arrange the deed for him. A bit like those of us who eat meat but wouldn't like to kill the animal ourselves I suppose.
 

Pete's Mum

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2014
1,342
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#11
For someone so sentimental about their animals, I'm suprisingly black and white about PTS.

If it is in the horse's best interest, then they get PTS.

I had my old horse PTS rather than try to retire as he'd been a race horse & decent level competition horse and *hated* doing nothing. It was fairer on him to PTS despite looking well than trying to retire him - my vet and trainer completely agreed, but I took a lot of stick off busy bodies for it as he looked so well.

It broke my heart having to make that decision when I was 20 years old, but I've never regretted it for his sake.

With Pete, if anything happens to me, he is being PTS immediately. It's the kindest thing I can do to secure his future.

If he became sick or injured, I would try to retire him providing his welfare was not compromised. I'm hoping he has a long retirement, after a long ridden career :)

I'm a big believer in doing the deed a day to soon than a day too late, though.
 

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
3,217
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...la la land
#12
It's a difficult one for me to answer being a farmer. Obviously I see alot of life and death. And I have to make the decision to send animals to slaughter that are perfectly healthy. So slaughter/kill is the term I would use for this.
It's never easy and as I'm getting older I find it harder each year. Yet you would think that when I was younger it would have been more difficult. The only way I can look at it is that I know that I have looked after each animal to the best of my ability before sending to slaughter. I have loved and cared for them and got to know each individually.
I have also had many sick animals over the years and again I am the sort of person that will care and nurture them to bring them back healthy if I can.
I know other people personally who leave there animals in the field and generally they die because they don't get that same care that I would have given if it were mine. It breaks my heart to see it.
I have also had many sick animals that I have made the decision to PTS. But I take each case as it comes. Some I have made an instant decision, others, it's taken 6 months before I made the decision.
 

newforest

She's not fat, she's too short :-)
Mar 15, 2008
25,271
8,707
113
A field
#14
It's like that with the chickens. If they are sick someone steps in and does the deed.
I am one of those that feels if you eat meat, you should know what happens. Though I think I would struggle because those necks are tough apparently.

I can kill horseflies without a thought.
 
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Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
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Suffolk, UK
#15
When there is no/little hope for quality of life to be returned.

I have to try everything I can, some things I think are too much to do, like Lauren I declined having jess denerved, yes it would return quality of life temporarily but the things that could possibly happen as a result were not in her interests. Each of those sort of scenarios would have to be weighed up at the time, science moves so quickly what might be risky today might not be tomorrow so I won't say never to anything specifically.

I still feel guilt over Bo, I'm not sure really if I made the decision for him or me (I was sleep deprived after 3 weeks of round the clock care), though 2 extremely experienced vets told me there was nothing more they could do and encouraged (the wrong word but I can't find the right one) me to have him put down, but he was still fighting, even as he went down. I've never felt like that with any of the others. Phoenix I called the vet out 3 times (over a year or so) because I thought it was time but the first 2 the vet convinced me it wasn't, looking back he was right, when it was it was plain as day.
 
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MrC

https://m.facebook.com/MrKiasLife/
Nov 10, 2014
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Uk
m.facebook.com
#16
Kia’s time is coming, a lot quicker than I’d like but hey that’s life. It’s hesrtbreaking to see the difference this last year has made to him but he is 27yrs old with PPiD and hardly any grinding surface left on his teeth. He is not getting the best nutrients from eating and it’s showing.

I’ve PTS many pets before their time due to injury, illness and degenerative conditions. Watching them suffer is not what I want to be doing so taking the very upsetting and grief inducing high ground was necessary.

Personally If rest and recovery doesn’t do the job long term then I’d PTS.

As for KP unless your name is MP or you are agreeing don’t expect a reply. Cloud cuckoo land comes to mind.
 

Flipo's Mum

Heavy owner of a Heavy
Aug 17, 2009
9,564
1,433
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Perthshire, Scotland
#17
I’ve had Flipo nine years now. I know him inside out. I know what is the minimum he needs to be content with his lot. If that wasn’t possible I owe it to him to make the right decision. I’ve seen him in pain and I think it becomes easy at that point as you want to remove the pain but only after I’ve given it a bloody good go at attempting to solve whatever issue there is. Specific scenarios not acceptable would probably be - not field sound, not able to eat, repeated lami forcing total boxrest indefinitely. I guess I’m only thinking of those risks that I see are most probable for our set of circumstances but in all of them, I’d caveat that I don’t give up easily, but then my horse is my world. He’s not a bike I ride and then dispose of when he stops being useful. I appreciate some people do feel this way about horses and will be harsher than I might. I just don’t hold the same views and my parents instilled in me a sense of not giving up easily, not throwing away for the sake of new and shiney. (Heck anyone that knows me on fb can see the trouble I’m having giving up a 30yr old busted wheelbarrow right now). But again, I am very guilty of overthinking and will analyse what is my need versus his so I hopefully don’t selfishly prolong his agony.

I hate the threads which clearly are aimed at fishing for validation of a certain point of view on pts to salve their own conscience. You need to have the balls to just do what you need to without my reassurance if I don’t agree. And let’s face it, I think we can all predict the outcome based on how it’s written and the familiar pattern of situations before.
Something going ‘wrong’ with the horse, be seen to be looking for an answer to the ‘problem’ and ‘trying’ everything. Go quiet, then bingo replacement in situ and old one tossed. Not the type of quitting I’d like to be teaching my kids. I say it all the time and heck, I’ve already said it in my first paragraph but here I go again...... Not a bike.
 

Star the Fell

Well-Known Member
Jun 14, 2015
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#18
I already decided when I bought Star that I would never put her through surgery for colic. I still stand by that decision with Mylo.
I think it depends on the horse too. Star had to do box rest, which I knew she would be fine with. I listened to my vet 12 months ago ( a different one to the one who normally comes out to me) when Star first came down with laminitis. We got her through the first bad bout. She had two second mild bouts, which only needed a couple of days inside. But when the second bad attack came, I knew I would have to euthanise. She was bright and alert though, and very happy apart from her sore feet, so it was a very difficult decision for me to make. In the end, she made it for me, there was something in her eyes which just asked for help. Two days before the date I had set in my mind.
Seeing one of my friends dying last month from Cancer makes me glad that we are able to make this decision for our pets, to save them from an awful death.
 

Bodshi

Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2009
6,080
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Yorkshire
#19
When there is no/little hope for quality of life to be returned.

I
Seeing one of my friends dying last month from Cancer makes me glad that we are able to make this decision for our pets, to save them from an awful death.
Sorry about your friend @Star the Fell.

I agree though, I find it so hard that we are able to do this last act of kindness for our animals, yet our fellow humans are made to suffer to the end, even when there is no other possible outcome than eventual death. My mum had it written into her will years ago that she wanted euthanizing if she became terminally ill or demented, if it was legal by that stage. Sadly it isn't and she's now in a care home, physically uncomfortable, unhappy and confused. If her dementia had come on slowly enough for her to be able to tell me what she really wanted I would have found out if it were possible to take her to Dignitas. I would have gone with her and supported her through the last stage of her life, even though it would be the worst thing I had ever done. Sadly, her dementia came on very suddenly following a fall and as she can't communicate her wishes any more I can't do anything to help. I would not let an animal suffer that way.
 
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Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
19,066
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Suffolk, UK
#20
Why is there an undertone of judgment and everyone clubbing together about it in this thread, aren't different people entitled to their own opinions even if you don't agree with them? And no I mean nothing about the kill discussion.

Surely if you don't agree scroll on by or tell the person directly and if you already have, scroll on by, no need to go to another apparently unrelated thread to bash their decisions, you aren't going to change the world from a forum.

New rider is becoming like a fricking school playground. I'm sure I'll be slated for saying this but this isn't the first time it has happened.