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Putting a horse down

14 replies

Padarn · 02/07/2018 12:40

My old horse is now getting to an age where I have to start thinking of this. He’s 27. He isn’t holding weight despite tons of food and has a heart murmur.

When do you decide to call time?

He still runs in the field but I don’t want to leave it so late that it ends up an emergency situation. Would rather it be done as smoothly and peacefully as possible

OP posts:
Butkin1 · 02/07/2018 13:03

This is something we have to watch with our older horses. When I had my old boy PTS it was because he was starting to be in discomfort. He wasn't finding life easy so we made the plan to do it one Autumn day as we didn't want him to suffer in the cold. I fed him a bucket of apples whilst the vet did his thing..

With another pony it was much more simple because he'd gone off his food and was wasting away despite being aggressively hungry (the vet thought he may have had a stroke). It was a sweet relief for him..

LadyLance · 02/07/2018 13:06

I think it's a very personal thing and I agree it's better to be a little too early than a little too late.

If he is struggling to keep weight on then I would be worrying about how he would cope in winter. If he seems mostly happy in himself now, then I would be trying to keep him that way for the rest of the summer, with the view that you might have to reassess in autumn.

If you have the vet coming to your yard anyway for some reason (e.g. vacs) it may be worth having a chat with them.

Flowers I know it's a super hard thing to think about.

snowpo · 02/07/2018 16:27

I personally think it's really important to do it before an emergency situation forces it. My old girl was feeling her arthritis more, she had already been retired on bute for a couple of years. She was still happy and herself but she started to roll and lie down less often so I figured she was probably finding it harder to get up. My worst fear was that I would find her struggling in the field unable to get up having been on her own for hours. Someone said to me if they have some level of discomfort now that will only ever get worse which made sense to me. So I made the decision, it was the hardest thing I've ever done but I know it was right. I think if you are questioning then you are approaching the time. Sorry.

Sarahlou63 · 02/07/2018 20:23

Timely thread. My old stallion went to sleep today. He's been retired for two of the 3 1/2 years I've owned him due to very dodgy back legs and had been very ill in 2016 with a muscle wasting disorder. We'd decided to PTS last September and - as a matter of curtesy - I'd messaged his previous owners so they wouldn't get a shock seeing the news on FB. They went into overdrive; "we'll take him back" "we'll save his life" (!) etc, etc. What they didn't do is actually follow through. We got him through the winter thanks to massive amounts of hay and micronised linseed but having to keep him, and his BF, separate from the rest of the herd and seeing him getting thinner and thinner was horrible.

Typically today, when I took him from the field for the last time, he looked fat and was jumping around like a two year old. The vet was great, understood the 'better a month too soon that a day too late' sentiment and he went peacefully. I now have a dead horse outside my bedroom window....being collected tomorrow.

Vodka is helping....

Igottastartthinkingbee · 02/07/2018 20:26

Depends on how happy he is in the heat. Like others have said, better a day too soon than a day too late. Hugs OP, never an easy thing to do. Why not give the vet a call to discuss?

SeventeenTwoChestnutMare · 02/07/2018 23:11

Sarahlou, I’m sorry for your loss Flowers

Does sound like it was the right decision at the right time though.

WhyDidIEatThat · 03/07/2018 08:47

💐 I left it a bit too late (end of Feb this year, around 32 years old and blind, no teeth heart murmurs etc) but he kept bouncing back from various crises - I used markers, like his relationship with the rest of the herd and how well he was moving around the field and then just picked a day when everyone was out and did it quietly just as it started snowing. It was incredibly dignified.

WhyDidIEatThat · 03/07/2018 08:50

It’s horrible having the responsibility of life and death over another being :(

RatherBeRiding · 03/07/2018 10:42

If he seems happy enough in himself and is coping with the heat, I'd let him have a last summer and re-asses in the autumn. A winter like last winter would be hard for an oldie struggling with his weight.

Pebblespony · 03/07/2018 10:46

Ah, sorry OP. It's a horrible decision to make. He'll probably find the winter difficult so I'd do it before that.

Theresahairbrushinthefridge · 03/07/2018 15:20

Having had many oldies I think it is better sooner than later once you know the time is approaching. That way you can plan it to happen in the best possible way.

Horses are huge and awkward to manoeuvre and without wanting to be too graphic you can end up in a hideous place with a very sick old horse.

It is only being kind. To you. And to them.

superbean · 03/07/2018 21:03

My friend's 27 year old horse is being PTS tomorrow. I feel so sad.

She's got severe cushings though and came out of last winter painfully thin. She looks a bit better weight wise now but you can still see her protruding hip bones. She's now developed an infection in a tooth and apparently the vet says he is running out of options for her. I think my friend wants her to go before she is on her last legs and in pain, and not find her distressed in the middle of winter and have no other choice.

I am also worried about her companion, they have been together for years. There is no other horse with them. I think she may be inconsolable as she's such a lovely girl. Anyone got any ideas as to how I can help her once her friend is no longer there?

Padarn · 05/07/2018 09:28

Sorry didn’t intend to just disappear but it’s been a horribly busy week. Thank you everyone. I watched him in the field yesterday and he’s getting so stiff and hasn’t rolled off all the loose hair so clearly isn’t liking getting up and down. I’m going to review at the end of summer but it may be time.

OP posts:
LadyLance · 05/07/2018 22:05


27 is such a good age. He's been lucky to have you as an owner, and he's even more lucky that you will do the right thing for him at the end of his life.

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