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When to put your horse down?

This is a discussion on When to put your horse down? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Put horses down in illinois
  • When to euthanize and old horse

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    07-09-2012, 07:22 PM
  #11
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by natisha    
A very wise person said, " Better a day too soon than a day too late."
Agreed
     
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    07-09-2012, 07:25 PM
  #12
Trained
I always make sure an animal has it's dignity, I will not keep a living thing around for my own need to have them near me if their dignity is compromised. You will know when he needs to perserve his dignity and let him go.
     
    07-09-2012, 07:29 PM
  #13
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by waresbear    
I always make sure an animal has it's dignity, I will not keep a living thing around for my own need to have them near me if their dignity is compromised. You will know when he needs to perserve his dignity and let him go.
Absolutely.....while other said....she is still eating and not laying down, let her be......I knew just from the language between her and I. The vet commended me for easing her suffering unselfishly before she got to where she was skinny and unhealthy looking to others and laying down.
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    07-09-2012, 07:54 PM
  #14
Super Moderator
I don't have any answers, really, for you but I do have sympathy.

My 27 year old mare just went from being relatively blind to nearly completely blind (from ERU as well) this last April. She still has some sight but all she can really see is very very blurry, dark, vague shapes using her peripheral vision.
The first couple of weeks were absolute torture. I could see that she was confused and hurting and there was really nothing I could do to help her besides just being there for her. I felt so hopeless seeing my friend like that.

Thankfully she's an "adjuster" and always has been. She always seems to make the best of whatever life throws at her. After a couple really hard weeks (where she lost a ton of weight and was terrible nervous about everything), she somehow picked herself back up and now she's content again.
I think in our case, we were lucky in that we already had a really strong horse+human herd bond (she lived basically alone, with two llamas that kept to themselves) so it wasn't as difficult as it might have been for her to adjust.

Anyway, for us, the things that seemed to really help her out were non-dominant buddies. When this first happened, she was pastured with 2 llamas who gladly allowed her into their little herd but didn't ever touch her. She got to boss them around which made her feel confident about things.
Now, I'm fostering a mare (sighted) for a rescue who's about the least dominant horse I have ever seen. She lets Lacey bully her, Lacey follows her wherever she goes, and the foster doesn't mind Lacey getting into her "personal bubble" constantly. They were insta-best friends and are constantly together. They even gallop around the field together, upon occasion.
It's really a win-win.

Anyway, before putting your guy down, consider pasturing him with a single extremely passive+tolerant horse.
According to all the literature I've read, blind horses usually do better with a single laid back "guide horse". Give a single horse a try, he might really like that. Did he have a best friend before he went totally blind? Try that friend, it'll probably work out great. :)
I would also start using words with him to describe his surroundings and start getting him moving outside the stall. You say he doesn't like to be led, I'd assume that's probably because he's nervous about his footing.
I use "careful" to make sure my mare knows the footing is unreliable and that she needs to take small steps, "step" to describe something she needs to step up to/step over/step down from, "hill" for a downgrade/upgrade, "stall" for her to find her stall and go there, etc. I can actually still ride my girl and she adores being ridden. It's an exercise in trust for both of us but we really enjoy it. There's something really special about cantering along on a horse you know can't see worth beans and who's trusting you implicitly to not let her fall.

If that all doesn't help to improve his life, like natisha what quoted, better a day too soon than a day too late.
With my girl, I'm using 50% as my gauge. If her days ever get to be more than 50% filled with pain or fear, I'm going to put her down. If she's sitting solidly at 75% happiness, I'll be planning for that 50% day. If she continues to stick around 90% happiness like she is now, she's going to be with us for some time.

When my mare first went as blind as she is, I thought I was for sure going to be having her put down sooner rather than later. Well, she laughed in the face of that and she's going stronger than I really thought possible.!

*hugs to you and your guy*
     
    07-09-2012, 08:16 PM
  #15
Showing
Horses have an uncanny ability to create maps. A companion horse doesn't need to wear a bell as the blind horse also has an uncanny ability to know where it is. There is a blind horse doing competitive trail and it understands a number of basic commands. I think it is the transition period that is difficult. If you wish to lead him somewhere for exercise, it's not his say, make him do it. If you walk the same path every day he will map it out. Horses, even sighted horses can be great at standing around and deciding not to move.
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    07-10-2012, 12:48 AM
  #16
Banned
For me I would put to sleep when the quality of life is poor and not likely to improve - or when the pain is too great, and not likely to be short term.

Sorry that you are going through this.
     
    07-10-2012, 02:19 AM
  #17
Foal
I'm just the type of person who would not be able to euthanize until I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had done everything possible to improve the situation, and it didn't work. Suffering is a horrible thing, and if it cannot be assuaged then, and only then, I will mercifully euthanize.

I swiftly euthanized my poor doggie daughter, Boo, when she was 14.5 years old because she was in serious pain and nothing could be done to heal her or make things better. I still mourn her loss but I know that I did what was best for her. In her instance, death was more kind than living.

Others may have differnt ways/thoughts and that's fine, but this is my own personal ethical choice. I have to live with myself ya know, and for me I have to give it 100% before I euthanize.
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    07-10-2012, 09:08 AM
  #18
Yearling
I had an Appaloosa gelding who went totally blind at 18 years old. He and my mare were long time pasture mates so when he went blind she actually became his seeing-eyes companion. My mare has a tremendous mothering instinct proved 4 times over. The gelding, Cody became so dependent on her I could not take Candy, my mare out of his hearing or not being near him, because he would get extremely agitated and fearful. Cody had been blind for 3 years when one day he somehow injured himself between an evening feeding and the next morning feeding and was in pain and suffering so we had to let him go peacefully.

I feel your grief and sadness. Trust yourself to do what is best for your horse. {{{{HUGS}}}}
     
    07-10-2012, 09:44 AM
  #19
Yearling
You are already questioning, you know the time is near. Sorry for your situation. It's hard. Keep in mind his quality of life. You know him, we don't.
     
    07-10-2012, 09:45 AM
  #20
Trained
Im sorry to hear you are going through this.

But quality of life matters more then quantity. From what im reading, its time to let go. He's unhappy, miserable, starting to lose weight, probably getting stiff from lack of exercise and starting to stock up. He's only going to get worse and worse and every day will be harder for you to see him like this.

He gave you 22 years, now its time for you to do the right thing by him. Let him go with his dignity and be there for him as he passes on.

That quote "better a day too soon than a day too late." Is a great saying with alot of meaning.

You know him better then any of us, but there comes a point when our selfishness needs to be pushed aside to do whats best for our animals. *hug*
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