Euthanasia c*ck up!

Vindaloo

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Firstly Kimr, if you are tempted to read this DON'T.

Right, this may be a little long winded but please keep with me, I could really do with some advice.

My elderly horse recently has had a few veterinanry issues. I get a call to say my chap is not looking too great so I arrange to meet the vet at 15.30 at the yard.
She turns up and during the check he falls in the stable and despite our best attempts to get him up he stayed down.
He was letting me know in the only way he could that at the grand old age of 27 he had, had enough.

I said to the vet it I thought it would be a kindness to have him PTS which she agreed so with a heavy heart I wait with him stroking his face and kissing him while she tries to put the injection in his neck. Well after about 15 mins of poking and prodding the injection goes in. So we wait, and wait. The area around the site blows up like a balloon. He's still with us.

We try raising his head to get things moving, nothing. The vet decides he'll have to have another shot but this time in the other side of his neck so, with the pair of us pulling and pushing to try to get him up a bit she goes under him to get to the other side, AGAIN he is jabbed and jabbed but every time she found the vein it was lost as the syringe was attached to the needle.

EVENUTALLY all the drug is administered and we settle down to wait. He gradually loses consciousness and drifts off. I cannot begin to tell you how hard this is to re-live and I am not going into how much I broke my heart but once he was gone I just broke down. The vet did all the checks and said it was all over.

I said I would wait with him until the lorry arrived to take him away. The vet is making to leave when I heard the horse make a noise! I asked if this was normal and the vet said that it was just muscles relaxing. THEN he took a breath! I am NOT kidding, I just froze, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

Called the vet over and we both waited, sure enough, there was another, and another and another, then his blink reflexes came back (albeit slow).

I was just stunned, it couldn't be happening. Even the vet was shaken and said it wasn't possible.

The problem was, she didn't have the gun with her OR any more drug so, for the next two hours I sat with him while he struggled to live until finally I had to have him shot!

There is a LOT more to this than I can possibly write and no one could imagine what it was like but my issue is this....

I have just had my bill which is £600 ish for the euthanasia and then the removal of carcass for cremation, now I do not have an issue for paying for a job well done however I would have thought that they would not have charged me for euthanasia when it clearly wasn't administered properly. The vet admitted there was enough in him to take down 4 horses. BUT he was eventually shot by the cremation company!

In addition, I was never given the choice of how he was to be PTS. I just feel that the whole episode was a shambles, my poor horses last moments should have been calm and pain free and I am not at all sure that was the case.

Should I take it up with the practice or simply put it all down to a terrible, terrible experience?
 

spaniel

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This so sad and awful, having witnessed an old mare who needed the bullet twice I can sort of understand how you may be feeling. However apart from an apology from the vet I dont think there is much more to be gained. I appreciate that the vet didnt know when you called her out that the outcome would be PTS I am surprised she didnt automatically have the wherewithall to do the job actually in the car as a matter of course.

Im so sorry for your loss.
 

juliehannah58

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OMG!

I had my pony PTS by injection in July and it was so quick, by the time he'd finshed injecting her she was already going down, the minute she was down she died, from end of injection to her dying probably took about 30secs, maybe not even that. And this was a relativily well horse (she had a brain tumour but looked 100%).

I am so, so shocked. Cannot imagine how you are feeling
 

Vindaloo

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Oh Spaniel, sounds as though you've had it rough too. Sorry to hear that.

To be honest it is not that I want money off. It is more the point that perhaps the practice should know what happened. In case this happens again.

Tragically almost the same time last year the same vet had a VERY similar problem putting my firends horse to sleep! I was there then and it was just as terrible. It wasn't the same outcome but the problem with finding a vein was the problem then!

Oh I don't know, I don't want an apology. Just want to know it will never happen again.
 

juliehannah58

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My vet is a very experienced horseman and my pony was very spunky. I was convinced if anything was going to go wrong it would with her so I talked to him at length about it. He said he injects more than he shoots these days and the worst thing that he has ever seen was the horse attempting to run or rear, then going down. If done correctly, the injection should stop the heart quicker than shooting the horse. Sounds to me like the vet wasn't injecting into the vein at all.

God how awful for you, but if I were you I would be questioning the vets ability I have to say....


ETS: Just re-read your post and it seems you also feel the vet did not administer it properly. If this has happended to another horse as well, I am amazed the practise let her continue!
 

jacks_mum

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I have to say i would not be paying the bill. And i think the vet has a bloody cheek to bill you in the first place. Speak to the practice manager, it is entirely possible that the practice don't even know this happened and they need to. If this has happened to the same vet twice- i'm sorry but I don't believe in coincidence, not in these circumstances.

What a bloody awful thing for you have to go through. It's bad enough doing it once but twice in one day??? I'm so sorry.
 

GTs

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I think your feelings are more to do with the sadness of loosing your horse. Not knowing the whole circumstances it is tough to say what really happened, but in a time like this it is best to remember your horse by the good times you had, and just put this behind you. Another reason why I do not think people should watch their horses being PTS, and ask a friend to witness it instead.
 

Amymay

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[ QUOTE ]
Speak to the practice manager

[/ QUOTE ]
Absolutely agree. What a hugely distressing thing for you to have to go through.
 

flyingfeet

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Good grief - its not that hard to find a vein; sounds like you had a very 'new' vet.

Given that the whole experience was so distressing I would expect a hefty reduction off the bill.

This is why we always have the hunt out for ours, they do this everyday and are very experienced and so good with the horses. If you think about it, Vets don't have to PTS that often, so much more likely for something to go wrong.

(Also much cheaper with the hunt!)
 

Vindaloo

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I was in two minds about writing this but now I am SO glad I have.

Right. A letter to the practice is in order. If for no other reason than perhaps the vet in question could do with some extra training.

I will let you know how I get on.

Thank you so much for your support.
xx
 

Vindaloo

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And that would have been my choice too!

She's not a new vet although to be fair she IS young.

I wasn't given the option of the hunt sadly. It all happened too quickly but I would have prefered the gun.

I had an old pony put down that way and it was just so quick and bless him, he literally never knew a thing.
 

the watcher

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I know that when dealing with older, very ill people, their veins are often collapsed, so I would assume the same would apply to a horse that might be quite dehydrated and unwell, this might go some way to explaining why vets have problems with older equines, while the young fit looking ones just drop.

I think this must be a learning curve for your vet and for anybody else who has an elderly equine reaching the end. You have my sympathy
 

Amymay

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[ QUOTE ]
Good grief - its not that hard to find a vein; sounds like you had a very 'new' vet.

[/ QUOTE ]
I suspect in this particular situation it was probably very difficult to find the vein - due to the collapsed state of the horse. It's blood pressure probably hit rock bottom, making it really hard to locate a vein in which to inject.

However, for an equine vet not to come fully prepared for the worst is very difficult to fathom - and my heart really goes out to those involved.
 

piebaldsparkle

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Sorry to heard about your loss and the distressing time you must have gone through. I would definately to writing to the practice, if only to try and stop the same thing happening again.
 

loopeepee

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Gosh, how absolutley awful for you to have witnessed something like this. My heart really goes out to you.
Im not sure what the vet practice would be able to, apart from a written letter of apology or a phone call perhaps.

So sorry for your loss.
 

Maesfen

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I am so sorry for you; what an awful way to lose your horse; he didn't deserve that and it wasn't your fault at all which kind of makes it worse (at least that is how I would feel).

As to the bill, I would be having words with the senior partners/practise manager to bring this to their notice. This vet sounds particularly useless; as others have said, once maybe but not twice with the same animal and after a monumental cock up the previous year too - not on I'm afraid. I'd be happy to pay the call out fee, possibly the drugs for the first dose but not the actual euthanasia as that was not completed satisfactorily. I would also let it be known I did not want that particular vet anywhere near my horses in the future, however serious it is; I'd rather wait for a decent one; better a delay than the wrong or badly administered treatment IMO.

Again, so sorry for you; that should not be your last memory of him so do get out your photo's soon and remember the good times, they will far outweigh that bad one.
 

flower

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I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

We had our horse who we had owned for 16 years put to sleep on Saturday and it was traumatic enough, despite it being the most peaceful way it could have been and being done by a vet who has known us and treated the horse for years. We also had the injection, the horse was put to sleep in her favourite field and the vet went back a little while later to check the heart had stopped.

I would definitely take it up with the practice. I know I would in your position.
 

mrsbloggett

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How awful for you and your beloved pony. I think, if you have the fight in you, you should challenge the vet practice to ensure this never happens again. I can understand your hesitation, you will need to be strong to face up to them. Good luck.
 

samp

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Having worked at a vets I have never heard of such malpractice. I have heard of horses that have not gone straight away but to suffer the ordeal you have is an utter shame and I feel for you. I would be threatening to contact the RVS if I was you as this is totally out of order. Firstly if a vet has not got enough drugs they should get someone else to do it. Secondly they should of got the hunt in to shoot it (after the 2nd attempt failed). Thirdly surely they could have used another drug to overdose the horse on - like an anaesthetic or something?
 

MarthaRodman1

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Hi there. Really really sorry and feel for you massively. I work at the RVC and if it's any consolation, I just spoke to a friend of mine thats a vet, she said that its unlikely that your boy suffered any pain or distress. She said the drug acts as an anesthetic, so even if it didn't put him to sleep straight away, she said that he would have been v out of it and in a coma. So at least there is hopefully peace of mind that he didn't suffer.

Definately think you need to write to the practice, they made a very hard and unbearable situation even harder and totally distressing for you! Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Mxx
 

Faithkat

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I can appreciate how dreadful the situation was for you but, to be fair to the vet, there are occasions when animals do not just "die" no matter how much in the way of drugs they are given. Adrenalin can kick in and try to counteract the effects of the drugs. I worked for a vet for some years and I can remember several occasions when animals took a long time to become clinically dead although they were unconscious, quite often completely against all normal expectations. For instance, there was an elderly, frail rabbit that ended up being injected with enough to knock down a mastiff. The body can react in strange ways to drugs for inexplicable reasons.
 

flyingfeet

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However point being that the Vet simply didn't have the kit on them so couldn't administer an elephant like dose (although I bet they will carry more in the future!)
 

Happy Horse

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Firstly what a horrible situation for you to witness.

I think it is worth writing to the practice but worth bearing in mind is that the vet did not coming out expecting to have to put your horse to sleep - carrying enough Somulose for two full doses is enough to be carrying about in a car for emergencies - I have never heard of any horse requiring more. If the vet was expecting to PTS I am sure they would have more in the car.

Also when a horse is prebooked to be PTS the collection lorry with a gun is generally booked to arrive with the vet so if any problems did occur the gun is there ASAP.

My issue would be that the vet did not make sure the horse was gone before leaving. Whne my horse was PTS the vet stayed for about 5 minutes after the injection to make sure he was dead. Two hours does sound a long time to get someone to you - could they not have called a partner out with a gun?

as GTS has said try and remember the good times and that horrible as it was for you the chances of the horse being aware are very slim.
 

Dougie

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really sorry to hear about your loss, but how can u all say the vet didnt have enough drugs...if the horse took four times the amount...vets dont carry enough stuff to kill a yard.

"i carry enought to kill 3 horses....two who hav been kicked by each other...and one dose for the way home. if need more than three doses i will need another vet to assitst(bearing in mind he means a crash involving horses etc)"

again ver sorry about your loss
 

filly190

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My heart goes out to you. I personally think that the vet did not do the job correctly and I would not pay the bill. I would lodge a complaint and see what the response is. I think it is a disgrace that the vet allowed this situation to carry on for so long and she should have called for back up support.

The distress it has caused for you is terrible, you were trying for your horse and neither of you deserved this complete cock up.

I hope you have lots of family and friends to support you, and of course we are all here on the forum to talk to. You have been very brave and nobody could have done any better under the cirumstances.

You may well want to put the whole vet incident behind you as quick as possible, and I could'nt blame you for that, nothings going to change what has happened, though it may make you feel better doing something about it, so others dont have to experience what you went through.

God bless you both
 
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