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Hi - looking for some advice.

My mare is a 9yo TB, I have had her for 3 years. We have a really good first year which involved getting her ready to take part in some ODE's, she was fab. In Dec 2020 she went lame, wasn't happy, would not go forward in the school and generally just did not look right. She was diagnosed with hind limb PSD in her left hind, as well as mild beginnings of kissing spine. After 12 weeks she was signed off sound, and had her kissing spine injected. I went to get back on and she was still not right, showing the same symptoms as before. Vet came back out and confirmed 3/5 lame and to either have the nerving op or rest for 6 months. We rested for 6 months - still lame. I sent her to a retirement livery for the winter and she has come back looking worse (she would quite happily bound round her field prev without looking very lame at all). I had a different vet out, and we x-rayed her hocks which confirmed arthritis. She also has SI pain following the many problems she has got. Although the injections for her hocks have improved the lameness, she still isn't field sound and although she quite happily potters about, she struggles to maintain the trot in the field and still bunny hops in the canter. She has also had re-occuring colic and stomach ulcers over the last couple of months. I have another horse and all of this is causing me stress and worry (with money, long-term affordability and her welfare). I have considered PTS, but I feel terrible because she is happy eating in her field all day long. Surely though if she is still showing signs of discomfort and the fact she is only 9 and she won't be ridden again is decreasing her quality of life? She is such a lovely horse, but I am just not sure how much more I can do for her. She has had around £7,000 worth of treatment in the last two years and i keep saying i am not paying out anymore!
 

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Hi - looking for some advice.

My mare is a 9yo TB, I have had her for 3 years. We have a really good first year which involved getting her ready to take part in some ODE's, she was fab. In Dec 2020 she went lame, wasn't happy, would not go forward in the school and generally just did not look right. She was diagnosed with hind limb PSD in her left hind, as well as mild beginnings of kissing spine. After 12 weeks she was signed off sound, and had her kissing spine injected. I went to get back on and she was still not right, showing the same symptoms as before. Vet came back out and confirmed 3/5 lame and to either have the nerving op or rest for 6 months. We rested for 6 months - still lame. I sent her to a retirement livery for the winter and she has come back looking worse (she would quite happily bound round her field prev without looking very lame at all). I had a different vet out, and we x-rayed her hocks which confirmed arthritis. She also has SI pain following the many problems she has got. Although the injections for her hocks have improved the lameness, she still isn't field sound and although she quite happily potters about, she struggles to maintain the trot in the field and still bunny hops in the canter. She has also had re-occuring colic and stomach ulcers over the last couple of months. I have another horse and all of this is causing me stress and worry (with money, long-term affordability and her welfare). I have considered PTS, but I feel terrible because she is happy eating in her field all day long. Surely though if she is still showing signs of discomfort and the fact she is only 9 and she won't be ridden again is decreasing her quality of life? She is such a lovely horse, but I am just not sure how much more I can do for her. She has had around £7,000 worth of treatment in the last two years and i keep saying i am not paying out anymore!
In your situation I would choose to euthanize.

There's no shame in admitting that you've reached the end of your rope with her. This mare has multiple serious problems at the age of nine, all of which started to become readily apparent after only one year of ownership. With all of the skeletal issues she has, I doubt she will ever be rideable again. Horses live a long time and are only living longer nowadays thanks to advances humanity has made with regards to their care. But just because we have access to advanced treatments, doesn't always mean that we should subject our beloved animals to them.

Even in a retirement home sort of situation, her health declined. The poor dear can't even trot around a field without experiencing pain. How can you be certain that she's "happy" just because she stands around in her paddock and eats all day long? She has ulcers and colics regularly, surely even eating is causing her pain!

We have a duty to do right by our animals. Frankly I would consider keeping a nine year old mare with -Let's count them!- PSD, kissing spine, arthritic hocks, SI & ulcers alive to be cruel. You can't sell her because goodness, who would even want to take on a mare with so many issues at such a young age? You couldn't even give her away in the state she's in.

She's not even pasture sound. She can't just "be a horse" for the next 20+ years because even that is too much for her to bear.

Therefore to do right by her, you have to let her go. Make her last day a good day. Take lots of pictures, think of all the good times you two had together, clip some of her tail/mane hair to keep and just pamper and love on her. Then when the day is over, have your vet come out and end her suffering. Stay with her to ensure that her passing will be as peaceful as possible. Tell her how much you love her as she goes.

Allow yourself to grieve. Don't shove your feelings aside because she was "just a horse", she was your horse and instead of having many happy years together, you had to make a painful decision to set her free from her pain. Spend more time with your other horse, re-bonding with them will almost certainly provide comfort to your aching heart. Build a little memorial for your lost girl, perhaps have the hair you saved from her braided into a bracelet to wear. Maybe you could commission a local artist to paint a portrait of her that you can hang somewhere meaningful.

You shouldn't have had to face this decision with her so soon, when she should be young and only just coming into her prime... But when you're beside yourself with worries over money, over how long you can afford to keep treating her many aliments and whether keeping her going is what's best for her welfare... You need to make a decision, even if it's a heart-wrenching one.

I'm so sorry.
 

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I agree with putting her down, but I also wanted to say I am really sorry. This is very young to fall apart, and I can only imagine how hard it is on you. Don’t feel guilty though for making the decision. Death isn’t the worst thing in life, what matters is how that life is spent.
 

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I'm very sorry to hear about your horse too. I agree it would probably be best to euthanize.
If it is any consolation, TBs in particular seem prone to getting serious and unresolvable health issues very young. I've known people that had to put down a few horses between age 7 and 15. It doesn't sound like there is anything more you can do, and you've done so much to try to help this horse. It's good to hear about owners like you.
 

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You certainly took wonderful care of your mare, and I know well the feeling of 'just hanging in there' with a horse that continues to go downhill. I am sad for you that you're having to suffer along with your mare, but if her quality of life doesn't really exist, it would be kinder to put her to sleep. Sending loving thoughts your way to you both.
 

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I'm so sorry for all of this. But if she cannot even be pasture sound, she has no more quality of life. Her multiple issues will not get better and she will only continue to decline. It seems fairly obvious that the kindest thing is to let her go. My deepest sympathy for all you have gone through and for having to make this difficult decision.
 
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