The terrible decision, vets bills and when they become too much. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 29 Old 09-22-2010, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexS View Post
I know that there is no right answer, as so often it could turn out well, and there is no crystal ball to predict the future. But where is your line, and what would you do?
Completely, completely, completely depends on the horse. If it was the right horse/situation - I would chuck eating and sleeping to make the money to pay the bill. I would have to know the horse could be 100% themselves again. I would not ask one of my horses to live a partial life, just because I couldn't step up and make the decision to let them go.
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post #12 of 29 Old 09-22-2010, 02:56 PM
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i really enjoyed reading this post. it's awesome to hear how much we all have in common. i always dread reading online about horses that are abused and neglected. But then i come on here and feel such a rush of pride when i see how well taken care of everyone's horses are. I personally feel bad leaving my blanket off when it's a bit chilly. I know this is all off topic, sorry a head of time.

But i think it's really awesome how lucky our horses are. I think that because we put so much time and effort into their happiness that we can notice the changes when they're hurting. When my pony is sad or hurting i can tell almost right away. When i don't come out and ride for a couple days it's a cat and mouse chase in his field. He gets a sad, old look in his eyes when he's upset, or hurting and i can tell that something needs to be done.

I guess i'm getting at the fact that when it's time, it's time. Your horses eyes aren't full of that upbeat love and trust. they're just not themselves and no matter what you do, there's no going back. i know it's easier said then done, but don't ever feel like you've done wrong by your animal for putting them down. you not only gave him a life much different then many, but you saved him from a dreadful future.

awesome topic btw!

Count My Strides - Shane, Bought 2-18-06, Mustang.
"I whispered to my horse, "i'm afraid of falling" and he whispered back, "i have wings".
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post #13 of 29 Old 09-22-2010, 03:44 PM
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I'm really sorry about your dog. I had to make the decision on my dog just a couple summers ago. It was such a hard decision, she had been an abused dog and when she came to us she gave us unconditional love. I felt like I was letting her down but the cancer was sucking the life out of her and I felt like I had to make that decision for the old girl. I still wonder... What if...

As for the pelvis injury, that's a hard one. My horse fractured his pelvis when he was around 6 months old. Since he was so young I figured what would it hurt to let him heal? He's 4 now and I'm really enjoying him. I do still worry about arthritis and what not developing early on but I'll cross that road when I come to it. I am however planning to fight hard against it with some glucosomine supplements!

His mother severed her tendons in one of her legs, she severed the artery in the other. I forget what her survival rate was, not good, I do remember that, with potentials of infection and what not. She's the sweetest horse on the ground, to ride she's wicked as all get out... but... she has the sweetest brown eyes and she looked right at me with those huge brown eyes so full of trust. The vet fees cost more than the price to buy her did. But, after the surgery and the lay up, she's mechanically lame. Which means, although she's got a slight hitch in her stride, she's in no pain and perfectly useable....

It's really hard to make those decisions when there is no garauntee... I think it comes down to what you are willing to pay and how much you are willing to give....

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
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And love like crazy"
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post #14 of 29 Old 09-22-2010, 04:39 PM
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I think it's very hard to make descions. But as a person wanting to become a veterinarian, I look at the odds. If the surgery is only 30% of an outcome, that is really not that high. What if I put the animal through more pain, more trouble in the process, only to fail in the end?

I would rather see it go at the beginning, than to know I am the one who made the last few months of its life hell, like in Barbaro's case. Becuase I gave the word, go. There's no harm in trying, I just personally wouldn't do it.

Also there is money, and that is totally understandable. I would never judge anyone for letting an animal go becuase the surgery was too costly. There are some surgeries I would never get done on my horses right now becuase it is too costly. And, they are risky and dangerous, the list goes on.

And, never doubt yourself wether or not you did the right thing when putting an animal out of it's misery. You did it out of your heart for them. You didn't do it for yourself, you let them go, instead of keep them alive and hurting. That, is the highest level of love I know of. You truly put the animal before yourself.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back. -- Unkown
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post #15 of 29 Old 09-23-2010, 07:10 PM
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AlexS, sorry to hear about your dog, but glad to know that he is doing better. I think the decision of what to do in that situation is a personal one. In some cases, the animal will tell you, but in others -- as Speed Racer said -- they won't tell you. In my case, after several weeks of not knowing exactly what was wrong and trying everything to fix it, my horse decided for himself that it was time to go. I certainly wasn't ready to let him go and I never thought in my wildest dreams that he was so ill that he would die in his sleep. He had been standing, walking and eating mere hours before his death. Although it's hard to reconcile in my heart and mind, I know he did what was best for us both. He let go of his life so I didn't have to make the decision to take it from him, but I know that I would have done anything, spent anything, gone anywhere to make him better. I thought he was strong enough. If I had an animals that I didn't think was in pain and was strong and had good, HEALTHY years in front of him, then I would give them the surgery. If I thought the surgery would compromise already fragile health, extend his pain, or only give him days of pain free life, then I suppose I would do what was necessary to end his pain. Whenever I am faced with an unbelievably painful decision, I take this tattered poem out of my wallet and read it:
A Dog’s Plea
Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for although I should lick your hand between blows, your patience and understanding will quickly teach me the things you would have me learn.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps falls upon my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is cold and wet, for I am a domesticated animal, no longer accustomed to bitter elements. I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.
Feed me clean food that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
And, my friend, when I am very old, and I no longer enjoy good health, hearing and sight, do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having any fun. Please see that my trusting life is taken gently. I shall leave this earth knowing with the last breath I draw that my fate was always safest in your hands.
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post #16 of 29 Old 09-23-2010, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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^^ so sorry Dep! :(
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post #17 of 29 Old 09-23-2010, 10:23 PM
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Thanks, AlexS... I'm just glad that both of YOUR babies are doing well :) Very good news. I'm sure that you will continue to make decisions that are in their best interest. All we can do is love them for as long as we're blessed to have them with us!
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post #18 of 29 Old 09-24-2010, 04:51 AM
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I found myself facing this decision yesterday. Smoky was acting normal yesterday morning-appetite was good, he had his morning jog, everything seemed fine at 10:30. At 1:30, I went out to get my other two out of the pasture because the farrier was coming. Smoky was lying down in his stall. He looked like he always does when he takes a nap. I let him out to walk around with my other two while I waited for them to dry. Between 2:30 and 3:00, he laid down three times, so I called the vet. When he was up, he was still looking for something to eat, so I wasn't too worried.

The vet got to my place about 3:30. At that time, he was breathing pretty hard, but he was passing manure. He got Banamine and an NG tube. An hour later, it became obvious that he was getting worse, so we hauled him to the vet school at Oklahoma State.

When we pulled him out of the trailer, he was a sweaty, hurting mess. The vet on call did an ultrasound and found fluid in his abdomen because his GI tract had ruptured. They think it was a torsion of the small intestine, but they won't know until tomorrow.

If there was a good chance of a good outcome, I was prepared to spend the money. Unfortunately, that wasn't an option. I hate these decisions, but I know that if I'm going to own horses long term, it will come up eventually.

I'm sorry for anyone who has to go through it, but I wouldn't trade my time with him for anything.

Learning never stops
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post #19 of 29 Old 09-24-2010, 08:41 PM
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I'm glad to hear your dog is doing better. I'm in a similar position with my dog right now. She'd been coughing for a few months and we brought her to the vet, they said it was because she'd been eating her food too quicky, but after slowing down her eating she still coughed so we brought her back. Today after an ultrasound and chest x-ray we found out she has a massive tumor the vet believes is growing out of her heart, making surgery very invasive and because of her age, 12, not really an option.

We could do chemo and radiation, but the vet said it would only prolong her life by a month or two, if at all. I want to do everything to keep her with me for as long as possible, we've had her since I was 5 and she was 6 months old and I don't know what I'll do without her. But I know at this point there's not much we can do. She's still full of energy and the same dog she's always been, but the vet said at most she'll live for a year. As much as I want to keep her with me, I don't want her to suffer. The more irrational side of me wants to give her treatments and keep her alive as long as possible, but I know that's not fair.
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post #20 of 29 Old 09-24-2010, 09:13 PM
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I recently had to put down a rabbit with epilepsy. When I first realized she unfortunately had the condition, I had two options. Either, I could take her to a veterinarian and have him confirm what I already knew, and prescribe a medication that would over time loose it's effectiveness. Or, I could let her live out her life as naturally as possible, with minimum stress and careful feeding.

I chose the natural method. She had a good several months, she was a very spunky little bun, until one day she experienced either one massive seizure, or several smaller, but significant ones. She was, unfortunately, quite gone at that point. I put her to sleep at home, and she now rests peacefully.

I had a rabbit injure his ankle, possible break, but showing no signs of pain or discomfort. Instead of a vet visit, I chose to tend to it myself. He now has full mobility in the leg and is hopping around as good as ever.

If I had the cash, yes, I would have taken both to a veterinarian. But it comes down to, what if my horse colics? What if my dog breaks her leg? Most of the rabbits I take in are the underweight, the neglected, the poorly cared for. If I ask for advice on something, the answer I get is 'See a vet'.
What if you can't? What about my close pets, my loving dogs and horses?

When it comes to an animals welfare, the decisions are always the hardest. On the one side, you want them to live forever. You want them to spend every day in bliss and happiness. But...theres only so much one can do.

The strange thing is that 'pet' animals, like rabbits and rats, get the 'see the vet' treatment. While 'barnyard' animals get the actual advice treatment. I always found that strange. Rabbit hurts it's leg, see a vet. Chicken hurts it's leg, this is how to fix it. -shrug-

Wait! I'll fix it....
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