Discussion - horse allergic to grass; let it live? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 03-23-2009, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Discussion - horse allergic to grass; let it live?

Hi again :P Ok, this time I'm actually starting a discussion, so I'm not going to get annoyed when you won't accept my reasons for that or that ;)

I read in the newspaper about a horse that's allergic to grass (yah.. true). She's 5 years old and if she as much as touches grass she'll get severe breathing issues and rashes (I think). She can't eat grass or hay either, I'm not sure what they feed her.
They keep her heavily blanketed in the pasture and gives her allergy medecines every day.

Here's a link, tho it's a swedish site.But it has a picture. I don't know why she's in a grass field instead of a sand paddock or something...

Most of the comments under the article say that ity's cruelty to keep her alive and that she should be put down because a horse that can't eat grass must be suffering and depressed. ''A horse should eat grass, as simple as that'' They don't like her being blanketed that much either.

I'm of a different opinion... I'm not going to compare humans and horses, because I know we think differently, but we have had a rather big ''active death-help'' debate here now for a while and I can't help but see the similarities in the thinking between those pro ''assisted death'' in humans, and those pro puttng this horse down. The key reason is ''it's not normal, so it must be suffering and wanting to die''.
Now let me compare a brief moment with humans; the ''not normal and suffering'' humans here doesn't want to be killed (in most cases, and in the cases they do it's 99% if the times because they feel worthless and have a bad selfconfidence thanks to their injury and the peoples opinios around them, something I don't think horses have any issues with) and even if they're in pain, and even if they said before whatever accident they were into, that if ''that'' happened they didn't want to survive, they changed their minds as soon as ''that'' had happened and they had adjusted to it, they now have a good quality life if you ask them. (I know this because I know people that this has happened too, and I've read their own writings in the debates)
Point being; we can not know how it is to be in a situation before we are there. Even if we think the horse must be suffering since it can't have a normal life in our point of view, we can't be sure that the horse really prefer to die or is depressed about its own situation. Especially not without even meeting the horse in life.
I don't think we can judge if another being should be put down for its own best only by looking at the circumstanses in which it lives, without at least meeting the being and communicate with it (body language and such, I think all of you agree that if you meet a horse you can see or feel if it's happy or deeply depressed?)
I'm not saying that we have to save a life at all cost, just that we shouldn't assume that this horse wants to die just because we learn it's allergic to grass.
I'm not saying that horses and humans always are the same either, because we're not, but I do think that the similarities are worth a thought in this case.

Ok, that was a long post, that's my contribute to the discussion :P

Now, what do YOU think? With the information you have about this horse; that it's allergic to grass and never will be able to eat grass/hay or roll in grass, or even run on a grassy field without tons of blankets, for the rest of its life; can you say for sure if this horse should be put down for it's own good or not, and if it's animal cruelty to keep it alive?

(I don't know this horse, and I do wonder what they feed it when it can't eat hay or grass. Tae a look at the picture in the link, if yu like)

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

Zab is offline  
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-23-2009, 08:20 PM
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I don't think it's cruel to keep it alive as long as the horse is happy.
I also think that if a person owned that horse and didn't have enough money and time to keep up with the meds and blanketing all the time then they would put her down.
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post #3 of 20 Old 03-23-2009, 08:34 PM
Green Broke
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The horse can have a happy long healthy life away from grass if a person wants to put the effort and patience into working with that.

No different than people that have outdoor allergies.
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-24-2009, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Solon View Post
The horse can have a happy long healthy life away from grass if a person wants to put the effort and patience into working with that.

No different than people that have outdoor allergies.
I duppodse the differense is that it can't eat anything that's natural food for it, grass nor hay. And it can't play videogames or may other things to keep it occupied :P

But I agree, it might be happy anyway, we don't know.

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

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post #5 of 20 Old 03-24-2009, 08:29 AM
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1 word.....astroturf!
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-24-2009, 08:40 AM
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I think as long as it's happy and otherwise healthy let it live out its days.
To the OP, you are absolutely right about what is "norm" humans tend to see things as if it isn't normal or if it is an inconvenience get rid of it or put it down. If it's made it to 5yrs obviously it's doing ok, probably the only thing I would do differently is keep it off grass all together.

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway~~John Wayne
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post #7 of 20 Old 03-24-2009, 09:51 AM
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My horse didn't see a grass paddock until I moved to east Texas 4 years ago. I lived my whole life in the desert...close to El Paso. My horse was terrified to walk under a tree bigger than himself...no joke. A horse doesn't need fresh grass to live. I am curious about the hay thing though...I wonder if they've tried different varieties. Would be an excellent research study...I hope some university jumps on the opportunity to study the horse.
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post #8 of 20 Old 03-24-2009, 11:38 AM
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A horse that is that severely allergic to grass could be maintained on a dry lot and fed other fiber sources (depending on what kinds of grass she is allergic to), including beet pulp so long as the nutrient content of the diet was balanced out. Probably not the easiest thing in the world, but do-able. And desensitization treatments to grasses MIGHT be useful to decrease the severity of reaction to grass.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #9 of 20 Old 03-24-2009, 11:59 AM
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We have a friend that has a horse that's allergic to every kind of grass and grain with the exception of 100% alfalfa and barley. He's happy, healthy and productive.

There are always options........
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post #10 of 20 Old 03-25-2009, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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In the other discussion in swedish forums, probably because I mentioned how handicapped people still are against assisted death even tho people around them thouhgt they'd be better of dead, some people in the discussion now compares this allergic horse with a human that can't move or even communicate at all with anyone, possibly can't even think...

Am I the only one finding that a bit.. extreme to compare with? I mean.. the horse can still communicate, run, jump, get on rides and everything, except eating normal horse food or stayin a grass fied without blankets..

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

Zab is offline  

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