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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some advice, as I've never had to deal with this. My 27 yr old Quarter horse coliced today, and the vet came out and medicated him, did a rectal , and said he felt like something may me out of place. He said it has a 50/50 chance of resolving on its own, but of course, I sit here and think the worst. What do you even do with a horse you have to put down? I have property, but no way to dig a grave. Please help!
 

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I'm sorry you're in this situation. A 27 y.o. horse is less likely to have a good outcome than a healthy younger horse, so it's something you need to be prepared for. 'Something out of place' may mean your horse has a twisted gut, in which case the outcome is dire unless you can get the horse to a big vet clinic/vet school for emergency surgery. Older horses can also have tumors or lipomas that can cause colic.

How is the horse doing now? How long ago did this happen? What treatments did your vet do? What's his heartrate? Heart rates over 85 usually mean the horse cannot recover without surgery. That's the benchmark most vets use for surgery or euthanasia, especially if the horse has not improved with a couple of rounds of banamine and tubing water or oil.

If burying a horse is legal on your property, call around and find someone with a backhoe (excavation company) or start digging with a shovel. If your area has a rendering plant that will take a horse and that's acceptable to you, that's another option. Some areas offer cremation, but that can be very expensive for a horse. Others suggest composting. If your horse needs to be euthanized, ask your veterinarian what your options are-- sometimes they have phone numbers for people who can help, and will know the options in your area. Sometimes burial is not allowed if the horse has been chemically euthanized, so some vets carry a rifle or captive bolt gun so you can have that option. If you will need to transport the horse for burial/disposal, best to euthanize inside a horse trailer.

You're in my thoughts. I hope your horse recovers. The feeling of waiting on an ill horse is horrible.
 

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I am so sorry, don't think about the worst outcome. We have to put a couple horses down of old age and cancer for the past few years. We dug a grave for all of them, because we didn't want any wildlife to get to them. Both times we used a tractor to help, I would use word of mouth to see if anyone in your community can help, maybe join the community Facebook group and ask. We had to put one horse down in a trailer to transport him to his resting place. You can try cremation, but it depends on where you live and you would have to transport them to the area/office where they do it. I am very sorry, I know I didn't help that much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Right now , he is resting in his stall. His heart rate was 67, and the Vet gave him a sedative. The vet said after 8-10 hrs, the pain med will wear off and you will be able to tell if it has resolved . He didn't eat much this morning, and went out . I had to go to work, but my husband checked on him when he woke up and he said he was laying flat out on the ground when he went out, so he did get him up to stand and called the vet. I was able to come home form work, thankfully. He had been rolling, though, so that may have twisted something. We have people that will come and take a dead horse away , but I hate to have him hauled away like that.
 

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The rolling is not good. If he lays and he's not rolling then I wouldn't worry about getting him up. I'd let him lay but if he rolls he needs to be up and walking.

I would not feed him anything for now and when I did start feeding him it would be hay only. Did the vet tube him?

As for having someone haul him away please understand that there is usually a fee with that and it's around $300. A vet clinic will cremate (if they have the capabilities) but that will cost you about $1000. We have buried 2 horses over the years. We dug a hole with our tractor, in fact I actually have a hole dug right now because I have a 36 year old horse and we wanted to be prepared. It took us about 9 hours to dig the first hole because the ground was frozen. The next hole we dug in the summer. Luckily we made it extra large in size because when our hunter jumper unexpectedly came down with Leukemia we had enough room for him and for there to be a spare hole. They are in a row up on a hill.

You can also take a horse to the dump and I know that sounds horrible. Some people will also set up a compost pile for them. I prefer to put them in my yard.

Hopefully your horse will pull through and you can have a few years to plan for the inevitable. If he does pull through, expect him to drop weight really fast and to feel like it takes a while for him to get back to normal. Colic isn't something that they get over quickly.

I hope things go your way.
 
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I'm terribly sorry to hear about your boy and I hope that everything resolves itself soon. I hope that he falls on the good end of the 50% but it is wise of you to have a plan in place in case he doesn't.

How is his water intake? I see you're in PA and we've been having some chilly days so I'd recommend heading out there every now and then with some warm water for him to drink. Most horses will drink more with the water temp isn't cold or iced over.

Everything else with the rolling I agree with Farmpony 100%. Keep him moving! He's allowed to lay down but don't let him roll.
 

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Has the vet tubed him? I would get him tubed to help hydrate him help with the blockage. Keep an eye out for stool, if he does poop, then that is really good. I give my horses a mild laxative when I notice something is off with them, just to help get whatever it is out. I would try to feed a little bit of hay, but not much. The vet gave him banamine which is an anti-inflammatory and a mild pain reliever. Make sure to not give him more than 2 separate does back to back because it will do more harm than good. When it wears off, he will very uncomfortable and want to roll a lot, but keep him walking. He will also paw, just let him because it will distract him a little bit. Do not feed any grain or treats, just some hay. If he lays down, then let him, but do no let him roll. Also check his temp. if it is over 102.0, then hose him off to cool him down, that also means that the banamine is wearing off a little. The banamine will cool the horse down and slow their heart rates, so when it wears off, don't be alarmed at how much of a difference there is. He needs to drink and poop, 2 most important things. I am sorry again
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The vet did not tube him; he said he was not impacted and it wouldn't help. He had just pooped 2 pieces before the vet came. I took him out and walked him around the pasture and when i brought him back in, he passes gas and drank some water. I feel this is a good sign. Thanks for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you. He hasn't been eating hay because of dental issues, so I have been giving him alfalfa cubes soaked, and a complete senior food.
 

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Very good sign for him to be drinking, I would try to see if he would eat the alfalfa cubes, but for them to be extra mushy with no grain at first. So happy he is better
 

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I'm glad he's doing better! What a relief!

Now that the initial scare has passed, you still have an elderly horse, and should have a plan in place for the day when he leaves this world. Know what you're going to do with him (burial, etc.) and know who to call and how much money it will cost, so you aren't in a scramble in an emergency while grieving. Hopefully that day is a long way out, yet.
 
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