I do understand Your point and I would never torture my horse only because I can`t let him go when the time comes. And You are right about his recovery period in stall rest - it is going to be long time in confinement.
I am relieved to hear that.
But that alone is not a reason for such drastic measures. I am talking with the vet team daily, his orthopedists has contacted and consulted some of the best equine orthopedic surgeons in Europe and while the surgery is not really an option, all of those people are giving him a hope of being pasture sound and comfortable IF there are no complications.
Your veterinarians work for a University. While University vets provide excellent care -Often for a reduced price-, Universities also place enormous
empathize on new and experimental treatments. Obviously as a result, vets who teach at Universities will often go much
further pursuing treatment when typical vets in private practice would recommend discounting treatment and euthanizing the afflicted animal.
Something to keep in mind.
If this would be a 100% pts case, I know for sure that vets would have said it and would never let a horse be tortured.
I'm not so certain about that. I would like to point out that what I said above is why owners who would otherwise never part with their animals willingly are often happy to donate their terminally ill pets/livestock or those that will require specific lifelong care to Universities. There are many
more failures involved in experimental treatment then there are successes.
About being in the sling - he won`t be in a sling for months. The initial thought was to keep him there for a month, if all goes well.
is the keyword there. Their is a strong possibility is that he will need to be in that sling for much longer than a month given the severity of his injury. Not to mention, placing an animal that has evolved to constantly
be on the move and can only achieve REM sleep laying down
in a device that prevents both of those natural behaviors.... It's just not something I would choose to do. It's too hard on them.
After that it`s just box rest, after that hand walking etc until he can come home and live 24/7 outside with his other friends.
Assuming he is actually capable of healing himself without surgery, somehow manages to avoid the many
complications that he faces due to the nature of his injury and retains his sanity and good temper after this whole incident is over. That's a heck of a lot of unknowns.
Plus you'd still be looking at anywhere from a six month to a year long recovery in all. Again, one has to think long and hard if the recovery isn't worse then the injury itself is.
And of course box rest is hard for both - the owner and the horse. But there are so many horses that live inside the box for all of their lives and somehow for many people that seems ok.
That is something I vehemently
disagree with and am not shy about letting others know about. Taking away an animals' ability to express natural behaviors is a genuine welfare concern and fundamentally wrong.
It`s also not like this horse was living 24/7 outside and now suddenly he is confined - he was a competing showjumper and he is used to spending at least 16 hours in his box daily.
I believe you probably know what my response to that would be, so I will refrain from saying it.
He has been in the clinic for 2 weeks now and is acting very sane and polite. He is still happy about life, he has a "outside box" - the one that he can look outside all the time at the students that are passing by and all the other people walking around the University.
Prey animals are masters at hiding their pain and stress. After all, the one who appears weak in the herd is liable to be driven out and thus eaten by a predator. Domestication has absolutely not changed that in horses.
You would need to have his blood drawn and put through a complete blood chemistry analysis to get an actual reading on his pain and stress levels.
I am keeping him company every day for around 4-8 hours.
Human company is lovely, but the company of other equines is best of all.
He really is quite ok with all of this situation. Of course he is not super happy about not being able to lay down, but that is temporary.
As I said before, you can't really judge entirely off on his good manners. The inability to achieve restful sleep is not something that I would be comfortable putting a horse through, even if it were only "temporary".
I agree with some of Your thoughts, but this is not the case he should be put down without trying to save him.
I'm afraid I disagree with that.
If the new x-rays will show that there is infection, that he is not healing etc, then yes, I will make the decision if there will be no options left.
Be aware that University vets often have "another option" on the backlog.
But putting a horse down only because he has to be on a box rest when after the recovery he`ll spend many, many years happily in the countryside?
Yes, that is what I would do, as there are no guarantees that he will recovery. I've been through this before with my own horse, I put my much loved gelding through a long, lengthy recovery in the hope of giving him a happy retirement afterwards.
The results of that well intended experiment were so horrific
that after the burial I swore to my boy and myself that I would never
put another horse through that ever again and would never ever counsel somebody to put their horse through that either. As you can see, I'm good at keeping my promises.
No, that I will never understand. Thankfully neither does my veterinarians, which is also a thing to keep in mind - no one has suggested me to put him to sleep just yet.
As far as I'm concerned, your vets have given you false hope because they want to discover some brand new "miracle" treatment.
As I said, it`s not just me being a selfish owner that can`t let go of their horse, there is a reasonable hope to save him, it`s just very risky and with many possible complications.
The "very risky and many possible complications" part would be more than enough reason for me to put an animal down, even if there were "hope".
Just remember one last thing, the dead don't suffer.