I’ve been awake all night and Im really torn in my decision. Had the vet out yesterday to my 32 year old with a hugely swollen penis. He shows no sign of pain or discomfort and is happily eating. Vet thinks sedation and try and catheritise today to do exploratory or to consider PTS. He has lost a lot of weight (age related-no other cause found) and is stiff in the back legs and has a heart murmur but bright eyed and always pleased to see me. I hate the thought of it happening in an emergency situation and also keep wondering if it’s right to put a horse of that age and health through such a procedure. I’ve had him since he was 3 and he is my horse of a lifetime. Could do with help to rationalise this
I think in your position I'd ask the vet what he/she would do if it was their horse. That should tell you whether there is any real hope of doing the exploratory, or whether it would be kinder to pts?
I think I'd also want to know what the vet thought it could be. i.e if you go through with the exploratory only to discover it's a fast-growing tumour or something, then you may wish you'd chosen to pts straight away.
I too have an oldie who is such a big part of my life. I dread what you are going through but know it's inevitable.
They do say 'better a day too soon than a day too late.'
Thank you Tractor. Vet says I can’t make a wrong decision it’s just up to me and said it could be a trauma (no evidence of this) or something internal, perhaps prostrate cancer. The fact that he has lost such a lot of weight and muscle makes me wonder if it’s cancer. He must be in discomfort but he shows no sign of it. This makes me question whether he is really good at hiding it, but then he hasn’t lost his appetite.
I'm really sorry, it's the hardest decision to make, but given his age and the fact he's lost condition, I would probably lean towards pts. I made the same decision with my boy last year, and while it was tough, I knew I'd rather do it when he was well, than have his last moments played out in a high-stress emergency. I do not regret that decision at all, I did right by him.
It's tough being at this point in your horse's life. I've been there. The old saying goes 'better a week too early than a day too late.' I'd make a pact with yourself that while he is well and bright eyed you will continue to enjoy time together, but the very second you sense something is not right with him, at that age, let him go gently. I had a pony mare who one day did not seem her usual bad tempered self. The vet persuaded me to not have her pts, and I took their advice. Less than a week later I had to have an emergency call out because she had collapsed and we couldn't get her up.
You've had your horse nearly 30 years. You will know when it's time.
I'd also stand by the saying 'better a week too early than a day too late'.
As agonising a decision as it is to make if you have the opportunity to decide its much easier to deal with going forward when they have gone to sleep with their head in a bucket oblivious to what's happening than in a distressed state. I've had to experience both and I definitely know what I'd choose going forward.
Thank you for your replies. He went to sleep in his field this morning and whilst the decision making was agony I feel now that it definitely was the right one. Love that horse to bits but no point making it easier for myself by letting him suffer. Thanks again x
I agonized over a weekend about what to do with mine, very little sleep and lots of tears. Once the decision was made, I felt a lot more peaceful in myself. Though of course still bereft at the loss of my beautiful horse.