Has anyone else ever had to shoot a horse? - Page 2

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Has anyone else ever had to shoot a horse?

This is a discussion on Has anyone else ever had to shoot a horse? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Why would anyone shoot a horse?

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    01-24-2012, 07:22 PM
Green Broke
I would imagine it is hardest on the person doing it. I would not be able to do it. But if a vet could not be reached, I would hope I could find someone who could do it. I pray I am never in that circumstance.
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    01-24-2012, 07:28 PM
A well placed bullet does exactly the same thing as euthanasia, usually more efficiently and less wait and suffer time.
Joe4d likes this.
    01-24-2012, 07:30 PM
I often go riding by my lonesome and have wondered what might happen if my mare stepped in a hole and broke her leg, or even fell of the canyon rim. I walk her on the more dangerous parts of the cliff and I'm very careful because we are alone, but all it takes is for one thing to go wrong. And then what? I'm stuck 6 miles from the nearest road with a suffering horse? As Allison said, "If there is one thing that surpasses my love for horses, it is my horror in seeing them suffer."
I do carry a gun riding and would shoot my mare if I absolutely had too. I love her too much to even think about it, but if there was no hope, I would end her pain. I've looked for diagrams before, but could never find any. I'm glad that this topic came up, because In would rather be educated should the event arise than having to let her suffer at the end.
    01-24-2012, 07:35 PM
Its being discussed because as horse owners, or animal owners, sometimes decisions have to be made on the spur of the moment to end an animals suffering..
Also, if a horse needs to be put down, no vet is available and nobody will shoot it, you can euthanize a horse by injecting penicillian into the vein. We have had to euthanize them that way when the owner can't bury the horse for one reason or another, they can take them to the dump and leave them there in a pit that is burned regularly. We meet them there and perform it with penicillan because if other animals eat the carcass before they burn, they will not die from the penicillan where they would die from the euthanasia formula. We try to lightly sedate them first, which will not harm other living animals, then inject the penicillan. That is why you always pull back a syringe once the needle is in the muscle, if you hit a vein, your horse will drop dead.
Golden Horse likes this.
    01-24-2012, 07:35 PM
Originally Posted by gunslinger    
Why are we having this conversation?

As gruesome as it sounds, it is good for this to be discussed so that people are prepared and can make a quick informed decision should they find themselves in such a situation.

I believe a gunshot is a humane and practical form of euthanasia - when done properly. I'm sure the same goes for lethal injection, I've yet to see a vet screw that up (knock on wood) but I've heard some horror stories. If I lived in a remote area where it was not 100% guaranteed that there would always be a vet around who could come out quickly, I would learn how to do the deed myself. Ahead of time, of course. You just never know, and when it comes to something like a broken leg I don't want to see the horse suffer even one minute longer than it has to.

It's also worth noting that if I wanted to bury the body on my property, I would prefer a bullet to a large amount of barbituates. Again, gruesome for some people, but the thought of having a substance that was able to take down a 1000lb animal seeping into my soil is worrysome to me. This is why it's all kinds of illegal in many areas.
Golden Horse likes this.
    01-24-2012, 09:02 PM
Originally Posted by AQHA13    
I often go riding by my lonesome and have wondered what might happen if my mare stepped in a hole and broke her leg, or even fell of the canyon rim.
My aunt is starting to do a lot of overnight camping trips with her Arabians, and she actually called my dad (the gun expert...lol) to ask what type of gun she should buy to shoot a horse with. She keeps that gun with her on every overnight now for the "in case" factor. As sick as it sounds, it's definitely something that needs to be considered, especially if you're doing a lot of riding in remote places where access to a vet is limited.
    01-24-2012, 09:05 PM
Green Broke
Thanks allison for posting the pics, I don't agree with the firearm recommendations, small may be enough but anything bigger is always better. The last thing you wanna mess up. I used a 44 magnum and soft points. I might add for extra insurance not only follow the X marks the spot diagram, but angle the shot so the bullet travels down into the neck as close an angle or directly into and along the spinal column.
If you want to prepare for this make sure you study the charts and have acess to a big gun, you really don't want to mess up. Don't think, "Oh I'll get ready when the time comes." I researched this a lot as I had a 30 plus year old and I knew the time would eventually come.
My horse my problem, nothing in my research convinces me giving a horse a shot is any better, and much I have read says vet killing is far worse.
Our squeamish society likes to use terms like put to sleep, its not you are killing it.
For some illogical reason pumping a horse full of drugs and watching it convulse is ok, but instantly destroying the entire central nervous system is somehow mean and violent. I don't agree, although putting a horse down is probably the most horrendous thing I have ever had to do, it was my job to do. In th ebest way I knew how.
mvinotime, bsms and PaintedShanty like this.
    01-24-2012, 09:15 PM
Green Broke
Does the euthanasia solution have a half-life or something? Or does it just stay in the soil forever?

I have no doubts a bullet does a good job, but I could not be there for it. I would think it would leave a mental scar on the person that does it too. Of course, euthanasia is not pretty no matter how it is done.

I have heard horror stories about horses shot and assumed dead and then they got up later after the owner left and were wandering around out in the woods with a head wound. Not good!

I worked at a vet's office when I was younger and held many dogs and cats in my arms while they were euthanized. It took an emotional toll on me having things die all the time. That's why I quit working there.
    01-24-2012, 09:34 PM
Green Broke
Thats why I mentioned using enough gun, and studying the anatomy charts ahead of time. The horse deserves this.
Yes it hurts but in my case at least my horse told me it was time,
I have heard issues of the drugs poisoning other animals that ate some of the carcass. No idea of the validity or risk. I imagine if its properly buried like it should be it wouldnt be an issue.
    01-24-2012, 09:38 PM
Laws in my province, a large animal must be buried 6 feet under.

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