equine cancer - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-24-2011, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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equine cancer

My 21 yr old fjord gelding was just diagnosed with cancer. He started being lame about 2 months ago. He is eating fine ... just can't walk too well. The vet says we should put him down. Has anyone had experience with this. Should I wait for signs from him?
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-24-2011, 01:09 PM
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It's usually better to put them down a little early whenever are still happy and feeling well then to wait until they get too bad. Please don't wait until he is in constant pain and suffering :(
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-24-2011, 01:18 PM
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what type of cancer? I knew a horse who had skin cancer and lived happily for a couple more years, it was not spreading. If your horse's cancer is certainly going to cause him a slow and painful death, then yes i would advocate putting him down. Sadly hard decisions like these are part of horse ownership, and it is up to no one but you. If there is no way to cure it and it will only get worse, then i would say it's only kind to euthanize your horse. I know what you are going through, but you have to think of what's best for your horse. Maybe talk it over with your vet and ask specifically how bad it is if you haven't already. I'm sorry for your situation, and i hope you find the best solution for you and the horse.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-24-2011, 01:18 PM
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It really depends on the horse and the type of cancer. With him being lame I would assume it's bone cancer? If that is the case I would opt to put him down sooner rather then later. Bone cancer is very painful and given he is already limping he is probably already in pain. If you want more time with him I would put him on a pain killer(if the vet will prescribe it) to keep him comfortable but as soon as he stops being interested in food and has that tired look in his eye you will know that it is time to say goodbye. I'm really sorry for you and your horse. He will tell you when he is ready, as soon as he starts having bad days I would say it's time.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-24-2011, 01:42 PM
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Pretty much just ditto all the others. What sort of cancer, and how far progressed? Did the vet mention anything like a course of dexamethasone just to buy him a short amount of quality time before making the final decision?
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-24-2011, 02:31 PM
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As the others said it depends on the cancer. We had a foal get lymphoma and he had to be put down as soon as the diagnosis was made (by that point he was skin and bones). If the horse is in pain and limping, it's probably getting close to time.
So sorry to hear about this. It's such a hard thing to go through :(

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post #7 of 7 Old 07-24-2011, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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equine cancer

Thank you everyone for the kind words and the advice. The vet said it is a very agressive invasive sarcoma. There was no sign of a lump two months ago, just a slight limp and within 2 months there is a large lump on his shoulder. The vet gave me steriod shots to give him each day for pain, and I definitely want to lay him to rest before he is miserable. I thought there might be signs, so I appreciate hearing that when he stops eating that will be his way of telling me.
Thanks again.
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