How to pick up an arthritic horse
 
 

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How to pick up an arthritic horse

This is a discussion on How to pick up an arthritic horse within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • How to get a old horse up that is down
  • horse stiff hind leg canter

 
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    08-11-2011, 09:19 AM
  #1
Foal
Smile How to pick up an arthritic horse

My husband and I were both led to believe that once a horse is down, we should give up on them. Four years ago, our then 28 year old arthritic horse was down in the pasture 3 days before Christmas Eve. He couldn't get up . . . We gave him water and hay and covered him with blankets, hoping he could get himself up or that we could keep him comfortable until he passed on. The days came and went; he kept eating and drinking and would try to get up but just couldn't. Since he was trying so hard, we couldn't bring ourselves to call the vet and have him put down.

On the third day (yes, no fooling it was Christmas Eve), we felt we had to try something. After looking everywhere on-line for advice, we couldn't come up with anything so decided to just design something ourselves and try to get him up . . . What did we have to lose.

With the use of some nylon straps, cable hooks and a Bobcat, we were able to pick him up. . . He was a little stiff and shaky from being down so long, but he walked away to join his friends. We both cried we were so happy!

Anyway, since that fateful day 4 years ago, he lays down about once a month and can't get back up . . . As you can see from the video link, he has gotten really good about getting picked up and you can see the stiff hind leg straightening out slowly.

Don't give up if your horse is down; just get the right tools. Make sure you have help the first few times, as your horse may be scared by the sound of machinery behind him. We also held on to the halter the first few times to help him balance; now he's an old pro at this. Also, we have quick disconnect loops on the straps and hooks in case there is a problem.

This works on our horse since he is older and quiet and calm; keep this in mind if deciding to try this with your horse. Every time we do this, he appears so grateful, it is worth it to us!!!

Video link
Hope this helps another horse out there!
     
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    08-11-2011, 10:40 AM
  #2
Green Broke
Ah, what a good boy he is!

I had a nearly 30 yr old Paint gelding that for the last couple years of his life would once in while lay down and be unable to get back up.

We didn't have any heavy equipment like you but I would get my Dad and we would put a couple of ropes on him and try to jockey him into a position to get back up and we were always able to do it that way.

We finally had him put to sleep however before last winter because we were afraid he would go down in the winter mud/snow and we would be unable to get him up by hand anymore. We didn't want him to die that way or to wait to have the vet out to put him to sleep in the middle of winter laying in the mud.

He had some major arthritis and back issues. His spine was actually curved the last few years of his life also. We figured he must have slipped in the snow when no one was around to see what happened and damaged his spine.

My vet had no problem with us getting him back up. He just said that once they start doing that, they are probably weak in the hind quarters and will get stuck down more and more as they age.

I really commend your efforts with keeping your guy up and at 'em. Few horses have such dedicated owners. And I'm sure your video will help someone.
     
    08-11-2011, 01:55 PM
  #3
Started
Wow what a great horse, I have a gelding who is roughly 36 years old, we haven't had any problems with him going down, but now if it ever happens I know what to use to get him up! Thanks for posting that!
     
    08-13-2011, 11:55 AM
  #4
Weanling
I have to ask how is his quality of life have you tried supplements for arthritis to ease his pain I know Kentucky Performance Products make an amazing supplement.
     
    08-14-2011, 12:23 AM
  #5
Banned
I do wonder about his quality of life--how does he get around? Also, to anyone reading, leaving a horse for more than several hours poses a huge stress on their system and can lead to fatalities that had nothing to do with the initial cause of recumbency.
     
    08-14-2011, 12:51 AM
  #6
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba13    
I do wonder about his quality of life--how does he get around? Also, to anyone reading, leaving a horse for more than several hours poses a huge stress on their system and can lead to fatalities that had nothing to do with the initial cause of recumbency.
Yes completely agree. If a horse is down, it is down for a reason, helping it back to its feet while in pain is maybe not the best solution.

And certainly leaving it down for 3 days is just not right.
     
    08-14-2011, 07:08 PM
  #7
Foal
why we felt we needed to try

Hi!

We agree with all of your comments and usually when a horse goes down, they don't last long. With this horse however, he seemed fine other than he couldn't quite get up . . . He kept trying but it was winter and he kept slipping on the frozen ground. We would never have waited the three days if we felt he was in pain or suffering in any way. We just thought he would get up on his own and waited . . . When he couldn't, we finally decided to try this . . . This is definitely not a solution for every horse.

As to his quality of life, it is good. He gets glucosamine tablets every day, eats and drinks well and can even canter to keep up with the rest of his buddies. It's just that if the ground is slick and he lays down on the one side, he can't get enough traction with the one leg.

We feel the analogy is to helping an old person get out of bed in the morning . . . Then they can move around ok. You would never give up on them just because they were somewhat arthritic.

When it is time for him to go, we are certain that he will let us know, since we have had other horses lay down, not want to get up again and pass away shortly or had the vet come out if we felt they were in pain. The key is in really knowing your horse and deciding if this is a viable option ...

On a humerous note for those of us whose horses are pets and members of our families . . . Maybe somewhat could design a giant Hoveround!
     
    08-14-2011, 07:14 PM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by climbingduo    
Hi!

We agree with all of your comments and usually when a horse goes down, they don't last long. With this horse however, he seemed fine other than he couldn't quite get up . . . He kept trying but it was winter and he kept slipping on the frozen ground. We would never have waited the three days if we felt he was in pain or suffering in any way. We just thought he would get up on his own and waited . . . When he couldn't, we finally decided to try this . . . This is definitely not a solution for every horse.

As to his quality of life, it is good. He gets glucosamine tablets every day, eats and drinks well and can even canter to keep up with the rest of his buddies. It's just that if the ground is slick and he lays down on the one side, he can't get enough traction with the one leg.

We feel the analogy is to helping an old person get out of bed in the morning . . . Then they can move around ok. You would never give up on them just because they were somewhat arthritic.

When it is time for him to go, we are certain that he will let us know, since we have had other horses lay down, not want to get up again and pass away shortly or had the vet come out if we felt they were in pain. The key is in really knowing your horse and deciding if this is a viable option ...

On a humerous note for those of us whose horses are pets and members of our families . . . Maybe somewhat could design a giant Hoveround!
Some what arthritic and unable to get up are two different scenarios imo I had a horse whose arthritis was horrid on top of it he was an abused ex bg lick he was sored pretty bad by those sob's and had lots of problems at the age of 19 he wasnt enjoying life no amount of supplements short of buting him everyday he wasnt happy couldnt move to much and I could see in his eyes he was tired and unhappy so I called my vet and made the decision to put him down and send him over the rainbow bridge I had only had him 2 yrs but I am certain it was the best two yrs he ever had.
     
    08-14-2011, 08:41 PM
  #9
Foal
Great horse! I love it!
     

Tags
arthritis, horse advice, horse down, horse fallen, horse health

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