Coping after horse pts.

Joined
23 February 2019
Messages
14
Last Saturday morning my whole world changed! I woke up to 30 odd missed calls from my YO was woken up to my horse banging at 4am, she went to investigate the noise and found her cast, she got her up but it was immediately clear something was wrong she was colicking she called the vet! As they couldn’t get hold of me, they kept her sedated and comfortable!

I got there at 7am, things were not good bloods revealed lectade levels were very high indicating a strangulated leasion and I was told prognosis was very, very poor and the vet recommended euthanasia and even with surgery the rate of survival was low. She was 25, I’ve had her 18 years! We obviously put her to sleep, at her home with us there and her horsey friends around her.

My world has crashed down, I can’t stop crying, I can’t sleep, feel nauseous, have had time off work, dizzy spells-I literally think it’s the shock.

I’m feeling guilty about not trying surgery what IF she HAD of made it, had of been ok?

I’m lost just have this hole in my day now that I’m trying to fill! I have 2 young children so they are a good distraction but the horsey life has been a part of me for soo long!
 

paddi22

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 December 2010
Messages
4,450
Thats awful, what a horrible thing to happen.

The shock of something happening so suddenly is hard to cope with, but it will get easier and your brain will process it. There's just a stage you have to go through to process it, and the 'what if's' are a natural part of that.

The decision you made was the best one - the horse was at home, surrounded by people who loved it. It would have been unfair to transport an elderly and sick horse to a strange place and put it through serious surgery with no guarantee it would work. You 100% made the right decision and the one that put your horses well-being to the forefront. What you did was the kindest thing, and the vet agreed with that. If the horse was sedated and comfortable, then it had the best passing it could, in a place it knew sourrounded by people who loved it. Time will make it easier for you, at the moment you are in shock and still process ing it.
 
Last edited:

splashgirl45

Well-Known Member
Joined
6 March 2010
Messages
6,002
Location
suffolk
so sorry, but the right decision was made, surgery has a long recovery time and wouldnt have been fair to put your horse through it. i always said that if my horse had colic after age 18 i would not even consider operating as IMO it wouldnt be fair to her. i had the summer of her 25th year to decide to PTS due to cushings and i was still stunned and shocked that i had done it so you will be in shock as this was so sudden so take it easy (as much as you can with children) and look after yourself. your horse is out of pain which is the most important thing to remember and had a good long life.....hugs xxx
 
Joined
2 January 2017
Messages
3
Last Saturday my world also came crashing down with the loss of my dog, he was my best friend and i miss him so much.
I can't help, but i feel exactly the same as you do. Could I have done more? Did I give up to easily?
Just want you know your not alone.
 

Pearlsasinger

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 February 2009
Messages
22,310
Location
W. Yorks
I am so sorry, that must have been a dreadful shock. You really couldn't have made a different choice, when my mare had colic aged 20, the vet told me that she was too old for surgery. Fortunately hers was an impaction which cleared, she was pts because of Cushings 3 years later. IME vets don't recommend pts if there is any alternative. YOurs was a lucky horse to be out of pain, at home with those who cared about her around her when she came to the end of her life.

It is a horrible thing to have happened and it will take time for you to get over it, eventually you will spend more time remembering the good times that you had together, than remembering last Saturday morning. Trying to concentrate on the good memories will help you to move on in the grieving process. She had a good life with you.
 

PapaverFollis

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 November 2012
Messages
1,677
I'm so sorry. I've been through this recently. It's so hard. You made exactly the right decision. Give yourself time. I mulled and questioned every aspect of it including telling myself I should have had her PTS last spring as if I should have known somehow. Those thoughts aren't particularly rational! Eventually that part of the grieving process was done. It's been over a month now and I'm getting more back to normal. Still sad but her not being around anymore has sunk in.

It take time and it takes different people different amounts of time.

Take care. X
 
Joined
7 September 2011
Messages
239
I am so sorry for your loss.I had to have my horse who was not even 16 put down at the beginning of February and it’s still a bit of a blur.I have mine at home and I still look out of the window to see what he is doing or when my husband has been out at night to do last yard check,I have to stop myself asking how my boy is.They are a huge part of your life so don’t be surprised that you are feeling at a loss and so upset especially when it happens so quickly.They are part of the family and your time out.
Part of the upset is you questioning should you have had the operation-the straight answer to that is no-the colic operation is a big op for any horse-even the fittest and youngest,my sisters mare had it and I have always said that I would never put one of mine through it.There is a huge risk putting any horse through any surgery let alone one that is pretty unwell-a lot of colic’s don’t even make it back out of surgery,the aftercare is a very long,hard process and a lot don’t make it through that.
You as an owner made the correct and kindest decision for your horse,there are more people out there that should do as you did and let there horse go with the peace and dignity that you did.
It will get easier,just keep yourself busy but there will be days that aren’t so easy.x
 

vmac66

Active Member
Joined
3 April 2015
Messages
401
Location
north wales
So so sorry. You made the right decision not to put her through surgery. My friend lost her mare suddenly last year to strangulation colic. The mare was fine the evening before. She was pts the following morning when my freind arrived at the yard to find her in a lot of pain. Like you she questioned herself her mare was 18.
Give yourself time to grieve, i had been with my freind and her mare when she was pts. I cried for 2 days. It's such a shock to lose a horse so quickly.
Look after yourself and take each day as it comes x
 

meleeka

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2001
Messages
2,549
Location
Hants, England
You just need to keep going and look after yourself. I lost my mare in similar circumstances. The feelings that I’d done the wrong thing were huge in the following days. I posted on a forum and somebody replied with a harsh comment, basically telling me to get a grip and of course the outcome wouldn’t have been different if I’d prolonged her suffering. That did help and those feelings passed.

There are many stages of grief and you just have to go through each of them, but I promise that one day you’ll be able to look back and be grateful that she didn’t suffer some awful long drawn out illness and fade away and that you were very lucky to have had her for so long.
 

pansymouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 May 2012
Messages
2,247
Location
Amesbury, Wiltshire
I lost my 28 year old in exactly the same way 11 years ago. It was a full year before I could even look at a photo of him. At this stage let you hear rule your head and steer clear of non-animal people; the last thing you need is some cocky f*ckwit going you the "it was only a horse/an old horse" lecture. Grief for an animal is just as deep and legitimate as grief for a human.
 

scats

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 September 2007
Messages
2,955
So sorry to hear your news. Losing a horse is devastating and I totally understand how you are feeling. Please take care of yourself xx
 

babymare

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 June 2008
Messages
3,404
Location
cheshire
I am so sorry. You are grieving and there are no rules or time span. Please remember you did the very best for your horse in a dreadful situation so kick any guilt away. Let those tears flow ang don't feel ashamed of them. They fall because you loved your horse. When I lost my beautiful Babymare 5 years agoI dissolved into tears the first time I saw swedes in the supermarket. Right there in veg aisle and even now they bring a lump to my throat. Be kind to yourself. Big hug xx
 

Sukistokes2

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 April 2011
Messages
4,222
Location
I live in Kent
Its a shock when they go so suddenly. You did everything right, even though it feels so wrong, I wish all owners were as good as you. I wouldn't put any horse though that surgery, let alone an older one. It was the right call. I have always found that having other horses to care for, actually is the best medicine. Although I miss them ,I tend to let all the pain out in one big go and then muddle on. I'm quite pragmatic about animals going, it still hurts but I usually find a new friend pretty quickly, it dulls the pain for me. If you have other horses spend time with them, if you have friends with horses help them. It does help.
 

sport horse

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2002
Messages
1,053
I am sorry you have lost your horse but rest assured you made the correct decision. Look back on what a lovely life you had together.

I have lost a horse to colic - it is horrible. I also had one last year, that despite all my assertions that I would never put a horse through colic surgery, I did decide to operate. She was a 7 year old very talented home bred sport horse. She was operated on at a top equine clinic and I was lucky that we caught it early and the outcome was good. However the after care was pretty full on with box rest, hand walking and grazing, then walking out hacking etc etc for nearly 6 months. She is now back in the sport and some 8 months later getting back to fitness. Her care regime now is rigid and inflexible! The mare has been used to being stabled all her life so the convalescent period was not too difficult but it would be a nightmare with a horse that was used to field access for a large proportion of their life.

I really hope that time makes you feel better and that you will decide to give your love and skill to another deserving horse in the future.
 
Joined
16 February 2009
Messages
8,434
Location
Slopping along on a loose rein somewhere in Devon
I lost my two oldies last autumn, we had them PTS together on the same day, but that was a planned decision and there wasn't the issue of having to make a decision quickly.

As others have said, you did the best and kindest thing possible. I personally think the very best thing for your horse, was what you did, which was to PTS in an atmosphere where the horse felt safe and secure rather than transport to another place which would have been very traumatic.

You were/are a kind compassionate owner and did the very best thing that you could, in the circumstances that were presented to you. Your lovely horse would thank you for this.

Losing a horse is like losing a family member (of course it is), now you have to allow yourself time to grieve and adjust to the loss. In time, perhaps, you may feel that the time has come for you to consider another equine soul-mate, but don't rush that process, you will know when the time is right to think about it.

Sending hugs..........
 

Highflinger

Active Member
Joined
15 December 2016
Messages
125
I am so sorry for your loss. 17 years ago exactly I had to put my 30 year old pony to sleep after 22 wonderful years. I felt exactly as you do now and constantly wondered should I have operated despite the vet telling me he had less than 1% chance of survival. The waking in the morning and remembering he had gone was awful. I am afraid it is a process and only time will really help. I was fortunate and had another horse (still got him and at 29 now I know the dreaded time is possibly near so now have number 3 as I simply couldn't cope with no horse) . If you can I suggest you get another horse but don't rush maybe a share for a while will help fill the time whislt you look around for another. Nothing replaces but time does eventually heal. It will get easier but t takes time.
All the best.
 

hopscotch bandit

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 February 2017
Messages
1,425
I’m feeling guilty about not trying surgery what IF she HAD of made it, had of been ok?
I'm so sorry for your loss. Let me tell you about a conversation I had the other week with my vet when she came to an emergency call out to my mare with colic (which luckily turned out ok). We were discussing pros and cons of colic surgery and she said that the survival rate is fairly low. The figures of 80% surviving colic basically mean just that. 80% come around after surgery, they survive the surgical procedure. The figure dramatically drops to about 60% after two weeks as apparently two weeks is around the time the horse can suffer complications post surgery. Another thing that people don't realise is that the actual survival rate some 2 years on is pretty crap and some need surgery more than once. And to put a 25yr old through the trauma of a major operation and the massive amount of box rest afterwards (3 months in some cases) would be unfair especially if they have other issues like arthritis. And survival is 75.6 percent if surgery is performed within eight hours from onset of colic, compared with 45.1 percent survival in horses who had surgery 12 hours or more after onset of colic. Plus the huge cost and the constant worry with them afterwards, every little symptom you would be thinking 'what if its colic again'.

You undoubtedly did your best and made the right decision, the same decision I'd make for my elderly mare. I am sorry for your loss, and sorry to use the old cliché but time really is a great healer. Go on Blue Cross and leave memorial https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-memorials as I've done this and it really helps. Also plant a tree or bush so you can remember your horse. In time you will be able to watch videos and look at photos and when this time comes get a lovely wall mounted photograph in your bedroom or lounge. And talk to people, if you need to go for bereavement counselling. https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-and-pet-loss

Good luck. And don't feel guilty about having thoughts of another horse. Its natural to move on, but you have to do it at your pace. If that's six weeks later, or six months or six years then that is up to you.
AND if you ever need to talk to anyone who has been through it (many times) you can always PM me. x
 

Black Beastie

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 July 2008
Messages
5,489
Location
Scotland
Last Saturday morning my whole world changed! I woke up to 30 odd missed calls from my YO was woken up to my horse banging at 4am, she went to investigate the noise and found her cast, she got her up but it was immediately clear something was wrong she was colicking she called the vet! As they couldn’t get hold of me, they kept her sedated and comfortable!

I got there at 7am, things were not good bloods revealed lectade levels were very high indicating a strangulated leasion and I was told prognosis was very, very poor and the vet recommended euthanasia and even with surgery the rate of survival was low. She was 25, I’ve had her 18 years! We obviously put her to sleep, at her home with us there and her horsey friends around her.

My world has crashed down, I can’t stop crying, I can’t sleep, feel nauseous, have had time off work, dizzy spells-I literally think it’s the shock.

I’m feeling guilty about not trying surgery what IF she HAD of made it, had of been ok?

I’m lost just have this hole in my day now that I’m trying to fill! I have 2 young children so they are a good distraction but the horsey life has been a part of me for soo long!
I lost my boy in November and I’m still not coping well with it despite having the most delightful and amazing baby horse to play with and educate and riding many others.

I feel your pain, I doesn’t get better so I’m told but I’m still not there yet. It would have been our 18th Owniversary last week and this weekend would have been 18yrs since I brought him home.

Take care of yourself and do what you have to to grieve x
 
Joined
13 November 2009
Messages
834
I lost my mare 4 weeks ago whom I'd had for 15 years. I've only told a couple of close friends because I keep breaking down I couldn't even tell my mum yesterday when I saw her. I'm hoping it will get better in time . I know it was the right decision for her as was yours OP but it's so hard with all the conflicting thoughts.
 

BOWS28

Active Member
Joined
27 February 2018
Messages
168
Firstly, i am so sorry for your loss. They really are a massive part of the family and will always leave a huge hole in your heart.
A lady at my yard bought a 5 year old a few years ago. Behaviour spiralled out of control and later turnout out she had kissing spine. She went in for the surgery and during the recovery, she went down with colic. Still in the vets, she was rushed in for surgery. The vets told her if she wasn't so young, he wouldn't have even suggested surgery. The recovery was long and painful for her and if im honest, seeing her in the state she was - i vowed i would never put one of my own through anything like it.
IMO you 100000% did the right thing by your girl. Sometimes, we have to be selfless and think about them. We love then too much to put them through more pain and stress when the outcome is a non-guarantee.
Please give yourself time to grieve and look after yourself. Now is your time to be selfish and do what ever you need to. Take care, we are always here for a chat if you need it xx
 
Joined
28 August 2015
Messages
34
You have suffered a major bereavement so it is not surprising you feel as you do. There are pet bereavement counsellers who may be able to help you come to terms with your loss. Your vet should be able to help you contact someone. I do feel for you. It is horrible losing a much loved animal so suddenly.
 

Littlebear

Active Member
Joined
27 November 2017
Messages
114
Really feel for you :( I lost my horse of 20 years around 7 years ago, the loss was devastating, I couldn't work, go out, speak to anyone I was in so much pain I was totally lost without her, its hard even now to let myself think about it. I had lost family members before and although it was upsetting no pain compared to that of losing that horse, she was my absolute pride and joy.
I really do sympathise with what you are going through but it sounds like she had a loving home and the best care at the end.
It really does get better with time, surround yourself with people that understand x
 

oldie48

Well-Known Member
Joined
15 April 2013
Messages
3,928
Location
South Worcestershire
I have had to have two horses pts in the last two years because of strangulated colic. One was very old and I had prepared myself as much as possible for his eventual demise, the horse I lost in October was not old and I was devasted. I did not consider surgery as I did not think he was a good candidate for prolonged box rest if he made it through the actual operation and tbh I have never questioned my decision. For both horses it was the best thing I could do for them, they were not allowed to suffer. You did the right thing for not putting your horse, aged 25, through surgery but that doesn't mean you won't grieve. I looked at a video this afternoon of the horse I lost in October and I cried but it was mainly because I was remembering the fun we had together rather than the end of his life, which was very sad. You will reach that stage too but it takes a little time. x
 

equi

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 October 2010
Messages
8,724
Location
Northern Ireland
So sorry to read this. The "what if" can be the worst part of it, guilt is such a strong emotion. However, i really urge you to think about the facts - she was 25 which would mean surgery would be very hard on her anyway, recovery would probably be very hard too. Had she recovered she would have needed constant strict regimes to avoid colic again, lots of box rest to heal (which is not good for colic) and would have been a constant emotional worry about her and every night leaving her thinking what if it happens again etc. I know some horses can heal from colic okay, but i have not met many people who have had a good outcome from it, many colic again very soon after then you have to PTS anyway and have the added cost of a very invasive and very painful surgery to add to that. For a 25yo, i really honestly think PTS was the right choice, especially if the vet had such doubt for a good outcome. You did the right thing, i 100% believe that.

The grief is real, and it will take time to pass as with all grief. Taking time to talk about it and get your head around it will help, so please feel free to talk here or to any of us privately. It will get easier with time, but the biggest help in that time will be support. Take care of yourself, big hugs being sent.
 
Joined
23 February 2019
Messages
14
Thank you so much to each and everyone of you for replying and sharing your experiences, kind words and encouragement that I did the right thing! She certainly wouldn’t of liked being on box rest IF she made it through the surgery and would of caused her a lot of stress being in on her own she doesn’t eat well when she’s been on box rest before so that would of been worrying!

Buying another horse won’t really be an option at the moment, maybe when the children are older and it’s not a constant juggling act!

So sorry for all of you who have also lost horses and have been/are going through this grief process! We know they aren’t going to be with us forever but I feel like half of me is missing and it’s hard for non horsey people to understand!

Collected her ashes today, well hubby did as I couldn’t face walking in and asking for them! It’s so, so hard xxx​
 
Joined
16 September 2012
Messages
168
Sometimes making the right decision is the hardest. I remember a poster on here calling it something along the lines of 'a hard decision bravely made'.

I have been in a similar situation and although I know I made the right decision (the only decision really), it devastated me and even typing now, I could cry about it. You did absolutely the right thing but you need to give yourself time to grieve. You will find it easier to cope as time goes on, it's just so raw at the moment.

As other have said, you may find being around horses actually helps a bit. Just take your time and lots of hugs.
 
Top