Can I gently persuade friend to PTS elderly horse?

PeterNatt

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When you next see the owner of the horse I would take the opportunity of having a friendly chat with her and say that you are concerned that her horse has lost a lot of weight and is now seriously underweight and that her horse is also having difficulty getting up and that her horse needs to be thoroughly checked out by a vet because you do not want a situation to occur where her horse is unable to get up and no one is around to help it.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Interestingly on a recent visit to the oldie the vet was at pains to make sure that they would do it no questions asked and that they felt customers/owners were worried about approaching them just to PTS rather than them giving lots of treatment options so I wonder if there is a bit of a shift starting.

OP I also wondered just how often she is seeing said horse just tell her straight, that he needs extra help and/or PTS. If everyone says she's too nice to have that conversation with then she should be nice enough not to have an issue with it and if she does she does, I don't see that matters. If someone fell out with me over concern for their animals welfare I probably wouldn't want to be friends with them particularly anyway.


I know of 2 clientsof my vet where the vet has suggested pts, which did surprise me, although I certainly agreed in both instances that it was time. One was a cat and the other a horse. Sadly both owners hung on a bit longer.
 

ester

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I will admit that my initial reaction was damn they must think he's overdue if they're even mentioning it but he genuinely is fine atm (at 28), just a bit higher needs
 

ester

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I think if it's on welfare grounds, and you are the responsible landowner, I think it's a valid action. I have become very, 'direct' with people, if they take huff that's fine, but don't expect me to look at your mess every day.
So if you are being direct with people as you say why would you not just tell them?
 
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Thank you very much for all of your responses. Lots to think about there and I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I feel I needed to offload somehow.

I am indeed the land owner (and yard owner etc) so I know I have a duty of care. She sees the horse daily - sometimes twice - he's brought in, groomed, loved and stuffed full of veteran mix plus 2 x danilon. The vets last saw him 18 months ago when he lost a load of weight and I was expecting them to speak about it then. I think they did, but they also upped his danilon and he has looked better since. They just keep issuing out the danilon without coming to see him (which does annoy me because my practice insist on seeing the horse every 6 months)

He IS loved - but so much that I think she can't let go. Her previous horses all lived to a grand old age in great condition and then went suddenly (colic) so I think she's expecting some sort of sign.

I won't kick them off the yard or call the hunt or anything like that. I'm very fond of the horse and he deserves to be PTS quietly at home. This needs to be her decision. She does know he's thin, can't get up properly, got stuck in the shelter, walks like he can't bend any of his joints any longer - but none of that seems to be enough. I actually can understand why she is struggling, because this has been her life for decades, but the horse shouldn't be suffering.

He is quidding though so I think that's a good way in to getting the vet out. I think I can arrange to be there and hopefully guide a discussion to how he is doing. I think I'm also going to try and talk to her husband. They seem to have very separate hobbies which isn't helping.

Thank you all again. Hardest part of loving them is saying goodbye
 

Hepsibah

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I think if it's on welfare grounds, and you are the responsible landowner, I think it's a valid action. I have become very, 'direct' with people, if they take huff that's fine, but don't expect me to look at your mess every day.
I think that's utter claptrap. Making the decision to have somebody else's horse shot because you don't want to look at it is over the line. Way over the line.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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Can you at least say to her that you're very concerned about him and think he needs a vet visit to see what he can have to try and make him more comfortable and also look into the weight loss? No mention of pts, just that you're very concerned that he needs medical help. And who knows, if he can be got more comfortable and underlying conditions are found and addressed it may be that he starts to look better and will be happier.
This would be my approach, suggest the vet give him the once over to make sure nothing is amiss, and advise her on anything she can do in the way of supplement. It could be he just needs a joint supplement. Late 20's is not that old these days we have one in his 30's here still ridden.

Has his teeth been checked?? maybe ulcers or such, wormed?
 

ester

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That's poor show of the vets, ours come out 6 monthly too to keep giving us bute (and I'm even more surprised they aren't when he is on 2 a day). It is useful to know he is already on danilon though (so it isn't a case of ok he's not right you need to speak to the vet about starting him on painkillers).
 

ILuvCowparsely

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Good grief. Don’t ever run a yard please.

God forbid if they do. I own this yrd but would never do that to anyone's horse. The vet approach is the best way and IMO the only way.
I would lie, and get the fallen stock man out, and tell her you found it dead in the field, is she going to know? I know, it's her choice, but I am done with being soft with people.
OMG, who put the law into your hands??? It is someone else's horse, all they can do is advise and support. No one has a right to exterminate someone's horse without authority from the owner jeepers.
 
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honetpot

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I think that's utter claptrap. Making the decision to have somebody else's horse shot because you don't want to look at it is over the line. Way over the line.
I think actually having an animal who looks to be a 'welfare case' has more consequences for the landowner. I have some ponies dumped on me a few years ago, and so I took legal advice, this is before abandonment included horses at livery, which has made things easier. The legal advice I got from the BHS solicitor was I was responsible for their welfare. Most livery agreements/loan agreements should have a clause for animal welfare, just to make things clear.
There are too many animals in paddocks up and down the land, that are 'loved', but no one wants to make that call, if it's your own property then you have complete responsibility, but as soon as you put your animal on someone else's land the landowner is liable. I am also insured for liveries, which I do not have, straying.
I have met people who have old ponies who the RSPCA have made a case out of them, and one local charity told me they euthanised older ponies just because they didn't want the RSPCA involved, and would cause them a lot of stress and hassle.
 

Mrs Jingle

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I would lie, and get the fallen stock man out, and tell her you found it dead in the field, is she going to know? I know, it's her choice, but I am done with being soft with people.
Wow! Its all very well being done with being soft with people, but on what level can you or anyone else think this would be an acceptable or even legal way to deal with the problem?:eek:
 

Lady Jane

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@pretendhorse if he is quidding that is a good reason to call the vet. You don't say how often he has his teeth done but if he is uncomfortable and they were attended to he could do another summer. I agree its poor show on the vet to keep issuing the Danillon. i'm sure my vet insists on seeing them every 6 months but I panicked with my old boy for every little thing and never managed 6 months without a visit so can't be sure. Its so hard when they are old like this
 

angel7

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I had this problem with my loan pony, late 20's much loved and looked after by me for over 10 years, but crippled with founder and laminitus. Still gamely hobbling about on 3 legs and elderly owner thought he was fine as he was old and lame like an old person. He loved to feed him sweeties every night after work.
I approached it by going to the local vet first, and had a frank discussion about the situation. He agreed if the owner allowed him to visit he would push for PTS and have everything with him for the deed.
I introduced the idea of vet coming to the owner to check him as he was poorly. He agreed date and time.
I told him when the vet was coming so he could be there and he seemed to take it better from the male senior vet than from me. I made it a pamper day before, washed and groomed and spoiled him, took some lovely photos of him (hard as he still looked like a young pony in great condition). Before the days of smart phones, I had to get a real camera and get them developed.
Owner said goodbye and it was done.
Got the best piccies enlarged and framed and he was overwhelmed and touched. (he was a hardened elderly man who worked 14 hour days 7 days a week for over 60 years. The pony was his only pleasure.)
 

Bernster

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So tough. I know of someone in a similar position although she’s not the landowner in this case. Horse is old, has multiple health issues, seems to be coming down with one thing after another, looks very poor and uncomfortable, losing weight and can’t eat properly. Owner adores it and has vet treatment for anything it needs but you do wonder what it will take…
 

Celtic Fringe

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Is the main issue that the owner will lose THIS horse (who she clearly does care for) or that her horse days will be over? Would it be possible for her still to visit a few times a week to groom/feed/fuss over another horse - perhaps if Pretendhorse has another oldie that might enjoy the attention? Would this make it a little easier for her to let her horse go?
I know there are no other liveries which might make the situation more complicated as it put some pressure on Pretendhorse and insurance etc might need to be considered. However, it might be a way of easing the owner into agreeing for her horse to be PTS.
 

paddy555

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Is the main issue that the owner will lose THIS horse (who she clearly does care for) or that her horse days will be over?.
I've come across this before and it is not this horse, nor really horse days it is almost like her life will be over. Horses have been their whole life for years, their reason to get up almost. Some have little else. What else is there? care home then that is it.
I remember one who went from low level endurance to care home to dead in a very short time. It was very sad. Her old horse was PTS and that was it. End of.

Although it is very easy to say shoot it and pretend it died or how awful she doesn't put the horse first I do have a lot of sympathy for her position. It's very easy when you are younger and can get another horse and have years of horse keeping ahead, not so easy in her position.

OP,if vet hasn't seen this horse for 18m this tooth problem could have made quite a difference to weight as could cushings in an old horse. Neither solve the arthritis but both make the horse very poor. If she cannot be persuaded possibly treatment for these would make things better for the horse?
 
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I know of 2 clientsof my vet where the vet has suggested pts, which did surprise me, although I certainly agreed in both instances that it was time. One was a cat and the other a horse. Sadly both owners hung on a bit longer.
When I was having my horse looked at for an acute albeit only about 3/10ths lameness in front, and my hunch that he had been 'off' behind we started to xray and found several degenerative conditions and areas that were failing him. The vet said to me that he doesn't think that any of these findings were causing the acute lameness but that he thought I should have a sit and a think about whether it is worth looking into what the soft tissue cause was at that point.. I was quite surprised at how up front he was about gently suggesting PTS, but very reassured and it really helped me. So I think there is definitely a shift there, I think the vets probably also behave differently with owners who can handle that sort of view and those who hang on at all costs.
 

ruth83

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Would a BHS welfare officer be able to help? I’m not sure if their remit but I wondered if they could take a look and chat to the owner?
Yes. The BHS have a program called 'Friends at the End'. Many of the welfare officers are trained in having these conversations and supporting people through this time.
 

Maryann

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I have a neighbour with an old horse in dreadful condition who brags about her row with the vet who wanted him put to sleep on welfare grounds. She posts pictures of him on FB (very well rugged) and gets loads of 'likes' from people who really should know better. There is no telling this woman anything.
 

ester

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Oh, if I was not being soft, I would say you move it or book the fallen stock.
Well that would be much nicer than just shooting someone else's horse and lying. . .

I did wonder re. friends at the end but obviously it has to be a possibility in her eyes for her to actually contact them. It does sound like the horse is a pretty big part of her life and it's not unusual for people to wait for/hope for a quick death/definite sign (like with her previous) rather than when to call it with slow progressive stuff.

I sometimes notice the changes with F (28) more than mum (who he lives with) because I don't see him every day.
 

HashRouge

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I think you should definitely have the conversation with her. You don't need to go in guns blazing and say you think he should be PTS - just say you think he's struggling and could you have a chat about it/ perhaps he should be seen by a vet.

I own an elderly, arthritic mare and I love her to pieces as we've been together a really long time (since I was 11). I try so hard to be objective when I look at her and assess her quality of life (which so far I really do think is good), but I very much hope and trust my YO would say something if she thought she was struggling. She has said to me once or twice if she thinks the mare has lost weight, but luckily we've always managed to get the weight back on fairly quickly so far *touch wood*. I would not be an easy conversation and I would be upset, but I would 100% listen.
 

Ratface

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I have an oldie: he's 29. He's on full livery. Still ridden, usually only 2-3 times a week for 30-45 mins in walk/slow trot/spook.
His YO, an extremely experienced horse woman, would, without doubt, call me and then the vet if she found him down or colicking.
I believe in "a week too early, rather than a day too late". It's the last kindness we can give them.
I'm old, and post-oldie, plan to go and play with a friend's feral fiends and do groundwork and a bit of handling with them.
 

Winters100

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Thank you very much for all of your responses. Lots to think about there and I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I feel I needed to offload somehow.

I am indeed the land owner (and yard owner etc) so I know I have a duty of care. She sees the horse daily - sometimes twice - he's brought in, groomed, loved and stuffed full of veteran mix plus 2 x danilon. The vets last saw him 18 months ago when he lost a load of weight and I was expecting them to speak about it then. I think they did, but they also upped his danilon and he has looked better since. They just keep issuing out the danilon without coming to see him (which does annoy me because my practice insist on seeing the horse every 6 months)

He IS loved - but so much that I think she can't let go. Her previous horses all lived to a grand old age in great condition and then went suddenly (colic) so I think she's expecting some sort of sign.

I won't kick them off the yard or call the hunt or anything like that. I'm very fond of the horse and he deserves to be PTS quietly at home. This needs to be her decision. She does know he's thin, can't get up properly, got stuck in the shelter, walks like he can't bend any of his joints any longer - but none of that seems to be enough. I actually can understand why she is struggling, because this has been her life for decades, but the horse shouldn't be suffering.

He is quidding though so I think that's a good way in to getting the vet out. I think I can arrange to be there and hopefully guide a discussion to how he is doing. I think I'm also going to try and talk to her husband. They seem to have very separate hobbies which isn't helping.

Thank you all again. Hardest part of loving them is saying goodbye

You sound like a very kind person, and I am sure that you will find a way to deal with this in a way that is gentle to both the horse and the owner.
 

Cinnamontoast

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I would lie, and get the fallen stock man out, and tell her you found it dead in the field, is she going to know? I know, it's her choice, but I am done with being soft with people.
Bloody hell. I'd be devastated if someone had done that to mine. Mine really struggled for 2 days and I made the decision, I knew he was on borrowed time but no-one but the owner has the right to make the call.
 

meleeka

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OP - if his teeth are bad it could be contributing to his general demeanour. That’s a good way to involve the vet. I always tell the story of a pony I knew that had sores on both his cheeks from sharp edges and must have been in agony every time he ate. I’ve managed to encourage a few owners to call the vet like this.
 
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