When to put your horse down? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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When to put your horse down?

My best buddy for 22 years has been retired the last 5 years. Tell, got uvitus in one eye which caused his eye to go blind, then 2 years later moon blindness in the other. Now he is totally blind. I have had to separate him from the other horses due to they make him nervous when they run around him. He has successfully jumped the 6ft metal fence twice, but not without shoulder and legs burns and cuts.

So to preserve his quality of life he has been placed in a large stall, fans blowing on him and a paddock he can go in and out of his choosing. I find he rarely leaves stall. Has lost 10 lbs and swelling in hocks from no exercise He does not like to be lead around or lounged.

He gave me 18 years of great trail riding all over. This is not what I envisioned for him. I wanted him to a have the status as "Pasture Ornament". He is not happy, content but am I wrong to want to keep him alive? Should I give him his quality of life back by letting him go to Gods Country?
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post #2 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 05:10 PM
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Without a sighted horse or another horse - usually another blind horse makes the best companion - to accept him and be with him 24/7, it may be the kindest thing to let him go unless you can or are willing to get him a blind buddy to keep him company. From what you've described, he isn't adjusting well. Guardian Masks have been known to alleviate and even reverse some instances of uveitis, and are excellent protection.

You might try to put a small bell on one or both of your sighted horses so your blind horse can hear where they are at all times. It may help calm him just a little bit while you're deciding what to do. You probably are already aware about keeping everything in the same place at all times.

Bless your heart for treating him with so much kindness and respect.
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post #3 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 05:12 PM
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Maybe one calm horse with him (i like the bell idea) will help. He's not going to feel confident to move around on his own.
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post #4 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 05:21 PM
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It is time when you weigh-dispassionately-how much of a life the horse has taking into consideration pain, fear, etc. versus the mercy of a quick, painless sleep. It is hard to do, I know all too well.

We love our animals and sometimes we are in a way selfish that we want them to stay with us. But in the end the best way to express our love for our companions is to offer them a dignified end. I was just talking about this with a friend the other day, and said to her that it letting go is the bittersweet part of having animals as part of our lives.

I am thinking of you and your old friend.

We grow too soon old, and too late smart.
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post #5 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 05:28 PM
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When the quality and happyness of life is no longer there. If you are willing to get a buddy or put a bell on the other horses like suggested that might work. You could always try that, If you are not able to do that maybe its best to put him down. I know its extremely hard and not something you probably want to do. It sounds like you are trying your hardest to make him happy I wish you the best for doing that and caring so much
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post #6 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 05:53 PM
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First off I am sorry for your situation. Its very hard to have to make such a decision as to when its time. My advice for you is to maybe find someone who has delt with blind horses before. I have seen completely blind horses learn to adapt to their surroundings with a bit of training time and patience I even know of one that rides.
Start by you guiding him around his surroundings cueing him at certain points such as door ways Everytime he steps threw a door way ring a small bell then reward him when he steps out. After he seems to have the hang of it hang a small bell high enough that it touches his poll and rings he should step out knowing thats what he is to do. Teaching a horse to follow a bell is good. because once they know following a bell is safe and allows them to move about you can then get a paddock pal either it be a pony horse donkey goat even a alpalca. They can where the bell and he will know to follow.
Again try and find someone who has this experience to help guide you threw this... then and only then if it doesnt work it is time to let go and end his misery. dont give up too soon till you try all avenues.
Good luck go here it might help some
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post #7 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 05:59 PM
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I know none of my horses would adapt well to being blind. If that happened I would have to let them go. As painful as that would be for me I think it would be the best for them.
You know your horse best. What does he tell you?
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post #8 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 06:10 PM
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Very sorry you are going through this. I think like previous posters have stated....you have to weight quality of life. I put my mare down last week....my first horse....my pride and joy. While if you drive by and see her she would look healthy and beautiful, internally she was suffering in pain in both front legs. Retired over a year ago and I have tried everything for her over the past two years to keep her comfortable. She was a crazy/high spirited horse/lead mare. While she couldn't barely walk, she still found it necessary to run off the other mares paying for it immediately afterwards. While some would say she was eating and not laying down....I knew it was not best for her and she just seemed mentally 'done'. I was with her everyday and knew her best. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. You are with your horse most...you know how he is doing mentally/physically and there is no easy way when you have to come to that conclusion. My heart pains for you.
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post #9 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 06:15 PM
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A very wise person said, " Better a day too soon than a day too late."
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post #10 of 55 Old 07-09-2012, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by natisha View Post
A very wise person said, " Better a day too soon than a day too late."
Well said.
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