Older Horse questions

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Older Horse questions

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    10-27-2011, 01:48 PM
Older Horse questions

I have a older horse...he is 26. Has severe arthritis. He struggles at times to get up but he does daily until today. He is very very alert today, eats his grain without issues, drinking and eating hay, but can't get up. It is cold here and wet so I am more thinking he is just sore more than anything. The vet claims as long as he is alert and eating/drinking just watch him. Anyone have any suggestions? He does not appear in pain, very alert....thank you
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    10-27-2011, 02:12 PM
True to form of the specie, horses can not survive long periods of being prone on either one side nor the other. What happens is the blood of a downed horse, deer for example will pool to the down-side of the animal and cause a lot of more serious consequencious follow-ups.
    10-27-2011, 02:16 PM
He lays completly down on his side, like he is dead and then he sits up occassionaly. But this is typical at night....not during the day. I know today, the cold, my legs hurt where I can barely walk... I am just thinking that is what is up with him also. We tried for two hours to get him up...he just wont. But he is eating and drinking without any problems. I have bute, we plan to give him some of that and see if he turns around or if this is it and need to put him down.
    10-27-2011, 02:31 PM
You've contacted your vet, which is good. I would schedule an appointment for your old guy if you're still worried.

If you've checked everything else, it could be arthritis in his rear joints are preventing him from rising. Do you have any horse liniment you can massage into his legs to help the circulation?

Is the horse lying on the ground or is there bedding? Cold and damp can seep up into those old bones and joints.
    10-27-2011, 02:37 PM
So sorry to hear about your horse.

I had an almost 30 yr. Old Paint gelding that would lay down and sometimes be unable to rise. We would get ropes around his neck (down near the shoulder) and a halter and both me and my Dad would pull (one on the neck rope and one on the halter rope) and try to roll him onto is feet. This worked for a year or two (he would get stuck down maybe 4 times a year).

Finally we ended up putting him to sleep. Not because he was stuck down but because it was getting worse and we feared that he would get stuck down in the mud and snow in the winter and be unable to rise. We didn't want him to die like that- down in the wet and cold and praying we could get a vet out to put him down. So we put him down before winter last year. We wanted him to go out on a good note.

I wouldn't leave the horse down. I would try to get him up. My horse always tried to rise but was unable to. If you can't get him back on his feet, I think the prognosis is poor and it might be best to have him put to sleep.

Best of luck, I hope you can get him up and spend some quality time with him.
    10-27-2011, 02:43 PM
Super Moderator
My 38 year old did that to me a couple times and I would call the vet and the minute she would pull up, he'd be on his feet. The old rascal!

If it's really cold outside I would suggest messaging his legs. My old guy would have issues in the cold and we would actually message his back legs and then move them around to get the blood circulating. We would also set a bucket of warm water next to him and give him alfalfa hay. That was usually enough to kickstart him enough to where he would stand. We did have to help him up a few times by tugging on a halter with his lead rope. You have to be careful though because sometimes their old legs will give out as they stand and they'll tumble back down.

It's ok for him to lay around for a while but if you are hitting the several hour mark then you will be entering a danger zone. You really need to get him on his feet......
    10-27-2011, 02:52 PM
He went down over the summer and the vet told us give him bute. As long as he is eating and drinking it is a good sign. He is also very alert and acknowledges everything around him. He is simply old. He was down for literally days....we would feed and water him right where he laid, gave him grooms, spoke to him, hugged him and cleaned up after him. He did eventually get up and has daily until today. Now he is down again. We have snow now....this is our first cold day of the year and I know I am super sore and stiff. I do know this could be the end for him...
    10-27-2011, 03:06 PM
Sorry you are experiencing this. I feel for you and your boy. My main focus right now would be to get him to his feet. If its his time, its his time, and I would just let him rest giving him lots of love and attention until the vet arrives. But if you truly feel this is just him being sore- you need to get him up to prevent any further complications.
    10-27-2011, 03:06 PM
Super Moderator
Days is not good to be truthful. My old guy went down a few times as he got older and the vet would always give me a time frame (if he's not up by whatever time then....)

I had him on bute everyday for a while because with his age we figured ulcers were the least of his worries.

Good luck.
    10-27-2011, 03:09 PM
Our vet stressed as long as he is alert and eating and drinking to let him be. If he does stop eating it means he is turning for the worse. This is what we were told when he went down over summer and again today. He said eating and drinking is the best right now. We are watching him and have a feeling this is his time.

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