Am I being selfish? I feel horrendous

Kezzabell2

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For the last 3 years I've thought "this is the last winter" for my old girl. but each year she seems to get a new lease of life before I have to let her go.

I've obviously decided that again this year and maybe selfishly I've decided that the beginning of September would be the time.
Selfishly because I have two weeks off work, I can spend time with her, and have time to cry, without having to put on a brave face! I know its going to devastate me. and of course now the time has almost come, I'm doubting my decision. I can't really say it out loud, and even writing this is making me cry! but I just want some reassurance that I'm doing the right thing?

So here's her story

She is 31, I've had her for almost 16 years
She has cushings and is treated on 4 tablets a day and has been for 3 years this October - so I feel guilty for pumping her full of medication

Since she stopped wearing her rug at the end of the winter, she seems to have lot her temperature control. She has always been very hardy and warm.
Early this year I arrived at the yard on a number of occasions, when it was light rain, and around 18degrees, and she was shivering. she has never done this in the past! I've lot track of the number of night's I've got out of bed to go and put a rug on her when the rain has arrived, when it wasn't predicted.

I can't leave her rug on because she gets too hot, when its not raining.

I went away for a weekend in April and her rug was on, my friend did't take it off because there was a chance of rain, when I got home she was sweating under it and had itched herself so badly that she had 6 massive cuts on her side, her bum etc

After this incident, I bath her to help her be less itchy and discovered what I thought were mites! so I got special shampoo for that! the vet then checked her and said it more likely to be lice, so I treated her for lice too! she has also been treated for fungal infections.

basically she is constantly itching herself, she keeps pull patches of hair out. the vet has said that cushings horses do get more issues with lice and fungal infections because they immune system is weaker! she suggested upping her meds until I told her she was on 4 a day already.

She also had arthritis in her front left knee, it has a massive lump on it, however she doesn't really seem to have any pain with this. She occassionaly comes trotting over to me in the morning for her breakfast and I can probably count on 1 hand the number of times she's been stiff on it!!

She wont be stabled during the winter, she gets too stressed out, so I will spend the whole time worrying about her being out in the rain, she does have a field shelter. Her feeding requirements are more than the ponies she is out with, so she would need to be separated daily to get enough hay!

I suppose the reason I feel so guilty is because she looks pretty happy, other than being itchy! but then I think, is she happy? I can't imagine being itchy all of the time and not being able to reach the spot.

sorry for the long post....
 

Pocketr@cket

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It sounds like it would be kindest all round. She won't be in pain and yes it hurst us but it must be very stressful and worrying for you.
 

milliepops

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It sounds like it would be kindest all round. She won't be in pain and yes it hurst us but it must be very stressful and worrying for you.
^^ agree. Sounds like you've done a tremendous job trying to keep her comfortable over the years and she's been a lucky old lady. She will not know anything of it when the time comes so you mustn't feel bad.
 

jules9203

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^^ agree. Sounds like you've done a tremendous job trying to keep her comfortable over the years and she's been a lucky old lady. She will not know anything of it when the time comes so you mustn't feel bad.
Absolutely this. Horrid for us but far better for her. Feel your pain and huge hugs
 

Merry Equimas

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You poor thing. You know in your heart it's right but can't face it - I know exactly how you feel as my old staffie is getting slower and stiffer and soon I'll have to decide.

Sending lots of love and hugs. She's had a really long life and will really struggle this winter I fear. It will cause you a lot of stress and guilt I suspect. If you let her go you'll be sad but glad you've done what most people would see as the right thing to do xx
 

sarahann1

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Hugs OP, having just been through the decision making process with my two old lads this summer, it's flipping awful :(

Phone the vet, get them to come out and have a chat with you, they'll help you make the right decision for you and your horse. That's what the approach I took and it helped me a lot in both cases.
 

sidsmum

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Big hugs. As everyone else has said its the hardest thing we have to do as owners. And I believe that as an owner you know when it is the right time. It's a horrible position to be in but it sounds like you have your mare's best interests at heart. Lots of hugs. xx
 
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I think you are doing the right thing by her.

We have had 2x planned pts, both times we chose October 1/2 term holiday, so that, I had the holiday with them and a bit of time to gather myself together before going back to work. Sis took some time off work too.

There is never a good time for us but it sounds like the right time for your horse, after a long and happy life being very well cared for by you.


Eta lice bite and can be seen when horses have got warm under a rug.
 
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splashgirl45

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i really feel for you. mine is also on 4 prascend daily and i watch her constantly....although mine seems ok i feel she is not as happy as she used to be so its a fine line knowing what is the right decision. i must admit it is on my mind constantly as i dont want to be too late with a decision. mine is 25 so a bit younger but from your description it sounds like it may be the right time for yours. please dont feel guilty whatever you decide and have some hugs from me!!!!
 

SnowandSunshine

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So sorry for you OP. From what you have said, it is the right time. And in no way can it be selfish to do it at a time which helps you deal with it.
I had to do the same with my mare a couple of months back and had a lot of support from this forum. Like your mare the hardest part was that mine was still happy and still herself. I knew if I waited she would get to the point where she wasn't happy and was in greater pain and that it was better to let her go before that happened.
It's bloody hard, especially the weeks/days before. You may find you doubt yourself. I found it helped to write down all the things that were problems for my mare and then think about what the best outcome would be if I kept her going. The best would probably have another 6 months and I would have to make the decision then. And in that time an emergency PTS might have come up which for me was likely to be she would go down in the night and get stuck there until someone found her in the morning. I wouldn't have forgiven myself then.

Someone wrote on my thread 'If their tomorrow is worse than their today then the time has come' or similar and that struck a chord with me. Stay strong for your girl. xx
 

Magnetic Sparrow

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From what you descibe, I totally agree with your decision. Like you, I scheduled pts for my first ever horse to coincide with a holiday I had already booked. I think it makes a lot of sense.
 

Wagtail

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Sounds like it is her time, OP. It's never easy no matter what age they are, but 31 is a really good age and it sounds like she's ready to go. You poor thing. I don't envy you, but your horse is a very lucky girl to have such a caring owner.
 

Queenbee

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My perspective... the decision you are making is the ultimate love and a reflection of true care, love and respect for an old and tired friend x
 

Rosiejazzandpia

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Hugs OP, I know that it's hard I went though almost an identical situation in the winter of 2014/15 with my mare who was 33. Fortunately I didn't have to make the decision as she passed in her sleep one morning in the field.

I think your thinking and deliberating shows how much you love and care for her, and I think the kindest thing would be to let her go before she might take a turn for the worst. My vet always says "better a day early than a day late". You've had her for so long that I'm sure she would be happiest spending her last few days with you off work and then going quietly, and the time off will allow you to process her passing and take care of yourself for a few days without having to force yourself to smile and drive to work the next day.
Big hugs
 

Firefly9410

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Oh that is awful you poor love but she is old and really it is not practical to be getting up during the night because it is raining. What happens if you were at work and the rain or sun started unexpectedly you would be stuck I think? The lice if it is low immune system they will come back? I agree with others it being her time. I am conscious of the aging process with my own oldie too but so far whenever he looks sad changing something in his life has cheered him up. I am lucky for now. The nights are colder already for your mare. September is not too bad but October can be very wintery I think you have picked the right time.
 

Sven

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I had to lose my old boy about six months ago, I wrote on here at the time that I'd had the first few lines of a poem running around my head for a while. I always feared I wouldn't know or see when was the right time and leave it too late. Well I knew and it wasn't too late he went peacefully. Your line of thought is taking you in the right direction, it's so hard to do but I am at peace with the decision I made because although it was rubbish for me it was right for him.
 

patchwork puzzle

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I'll be thinking of you both and if you need anything at all just let me know and I'll be there for you.

You are amongst the most caring and thoughtful people I know (and not just horses) and your love for them shows in their wellbeing and the grand old age she has reached.
Another way to look at it would be to reflect on her age and that even without some medical issues there are horses at 31 who are ready to go, your love and devotion to nursing her has helped her see numerous valuable years but so so sadly, the time still has to come. Even if you took the medication and extra care needed out of the picture, at 31 the time would very likely still be very near.
There is nothing selfish in what you are doing, I promise you that if she were mine, it is what I would be doing for her as to be selfish you have to be doing it for you, you are selfless as you are doing it for her.
Huge huge hugs, (you know where I am)
Linda xxx
 

Hungey

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I had to put my boy down just under 3 weeks ago and I was devestated and I still am. I think you know deep down that it is the best option and at the end of the day she sounds like she's had a brilliant life with you which should be a huge comfort.
 

gothdolly

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I had my old horse for 24 years, and spent the last two years like you, constantly terrified something would happen to him, dashing back to the yard to change rugs multiple times a day, had longer and more frequent conversations with the vet than my husband, struggling with management of his conditions but doing everything I could to keep him comfortable. Then one (rare) day I was out of the county, 2 hours drive away and I got a call from the yard to say he kept collapsing and they needed authorisation to call the vet. It was an awful experience, with the vet returning 3 times in 24 hours, and me finally being persuaded to let Domino go, totally unprepared for that outcome and completely distraught. I couldn't believe that this time, there were no treatment options available.
You don't want either of you to have that kind of experience. In retrospect I wish I had taken a proactive decision earlier :(
 

windand rain

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I can honestly say it will be for the best and you are not being selfish at all in fact you could argue the opposite. What I would say is once the decision is made do it as soon as possible as the time between the decision and act is torture for the family involve. I was friend at the end for my friends horse the owner was devasted she had decided to let her go once the companion pony's owner came back from holiday but couldnt bear to leave it that long. Hugs to you It is sad but the last kindness we do for our animal friends
 

touchstone

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Hanging on to them because you can't let them go is the selfish option, releasing them from infirmity and deteriorating conditions is a kindness.
 
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