I took a horse to be shot today

poiuytrewq

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Not mine but one from work.
It was my first experience of the hunt putting a horse down really.
My first two went by injection and I held them. The third I didn't want to inject as he's previously fought sedation but I wasn't there. My dad handed him over and the hunt brought a person to hold him.
I was interested to go as it's a horse I really liked but unlike my own wasn't emotionally attached to.
I have to say, to anyone facing this the horse knew absolutely nothing and felt nothing. He walked off the lorry with his ears pricked and was gone within 10 seconds, literally.
Very professional people and I have to say having now seen both I won't have a decision to make next time- it will be easy, the hunt.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Having had horses pts by both methods I would always choose a bullet administered by our local Equine Crem (previously the knackerman), except in a case of dire emergency where the vet is on site. It is not so easy to get a Hunt out here, as the most local ones don't have a collection service.
I agree with your reasoning OP, the horses know absolutely nothing about what will happen, whereas even the most phlegmatic know that the vet is there for some reason or other.
 

Capriole

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Unfortunately our local hunt aren't answering or returning messages for some reason, as we've been trying to get them out :(

We've got one ready to leave us and she doesn't like vets very much and she certainly doesn't like injections at all, so that wouldn't be the right way to go for her as she'd be stressed.
 

poiuytrewq

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I found that when I arranged for my own. They had an answer phone but as I had to gear myself up to make the call I couldn't bear to leave a message and wait for them to call back, probably whilst I was at work or somewhere.
I looked on the internet and found another local hunt who were just brilliant. Is there anyone else local to you Capriole? X
 

Capriole

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I know what you mean, hate leaving messages but they don't seem to answer the phone, ever :/

Yes, got something organised now, just got to arrange a day, OH is taking a day off work to spend it with her (it needs doing soon but it's not an emergency).
 

poiuytrewq

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Really sorry your in this situation. Glad you've sorted something out though. Are they coming to you?
Hope it all go's as well as it can x
 

Capriole

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Yes, coming to us. Bit more logistically difficult with the wagon access etc. etc., but I'd rather she went at home.
Thank you for your kind words :) I'm actually ok about it, I want it done before she suffers, but OH is going to take it hard.
 

pip6

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Good & bad experiences both ways. Have to say sometimes bullet can go wrong, with dreadful consequences. Depepnds on horse & personal preference. I held my friends horse who was shot as she was scared of vets, was right way for her.
 

rowan666

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Having used both methods and witnessed one of sound mind fight the injection to the bitter end in a very long, drawn out and distressing manor, i would choose the bullet everytime. Unbelievable how instant it is!
 

Eggshells

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I nearly posted this exact thread yesterday. Not my horse, took him to the hunt for the ower, unloaded him, patted him, handed him over, watched him potter happily away ears pricked and then it was over. When people asked me how it went I responded that it was lovely, and it was: sad, but lovely. It is how I'd like to go and how mine will go if I have to make that desision in the future.
 

Polos Mum

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As sad as it is, when I've had to do it I've always felt reassured by how quick it is, in the planning or not watching or not knowing I think you imagine it to be much worse than it is. Each time I've walked away very happy that the horse knew absolutely nothing about what was going on.
 

Suechoccy

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I've seen it once. It was done expertly and I can honestly say I've never seen anything so quick in my life - the sound of the gun and the horse was dead instantly, still standing on her feet. She knew nothing about it at all - all she knew was she was busily crunching a carrot.
 

touchstone

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I've witnessed several being shot, unfortunately one had to be shot twice which was one of the most traumatic things that I've witnessed, it seemed to take an age to fire the second shot while the poor horse thrashed about (sorry if too graphic.) I'd say shooting was an excellent method, depending on who is doing the shooting. I'd want somebody who did it everyday rather than now and again. In the instance of the horse that needed doing twice, it was a very experienced vet.
 

Antw23uk

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Unfortunately our local hunt aren't answering or returning messages for some reason, as we've been trying to get them out :(

We've got one ready to leave us and she doesn't like vets very much and she certainly doesn't like injections at all, so that wouldn't be the right way to go for her as she'd be stressed.

You might find they aren't taking anymore at the moment. I've sadly just had mine shot and the hunt said they are full and aren't taking anymore at the moment so the knacker man came out instead.
 

Capriole

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I'd have been fine enough to have heard that from them, though, so frustrating to get no answer at all...
 

Shysmum

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Being in the RSPCA, the thing I dreaded most was shooting a horse. In fact, it was immediate and smooth, and the horse knew nothing at all.
 

Megibo

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The ex racer I loaned Daisy, she was PTS by injection.
My first ever experience of it with me being there and hard as I was so attached to her. I would still go with injection, as she merely laid down like they would do in the stable, went flat out on her side and literally was asleep.
 

tootsietoo

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That is a nice post, thank you. I had two horses shot at the kennels last autumn, one of which was my precious horse of a lifetime. When I told people, I felt that the reaction of one or two was very negative - some people seem to find the idea of shooting a horse intolerably violent. However, I had seen a horse shot, and a horse put down by injection, and I felt that a bullet was the safest, kindest way, especially for my old horse who had always seemed to need a double dose of sedation. It is good to hear it confirmed. I just left both of them in a stable and let the huntsman and whip do it, so I didn't have to be there.
 

Spot_the_Risk

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Tootsietoo, I too have had strongly negative comments from some regarding shooting but it is the choice I've made for my scaredy cat old boy. Not great with needles at all! I've asked the vet which he recommends and he said gun.
 

Copperpot

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Having used both methods and witnessed one of sound mind fight the injection to the bitter end in a very long, drawn out and distressing manor, i would choose the bullet everytime. Unbelievable how instant it is!

This is why I will choose a bullet next time. Mine fought the injection and it was very distressing to watch and I'm sure also very distressing for him :(
 

Copperpot

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Me too, so distressing for all concerned re injection/fighting it. Will stay with me forever, rest in peace, Mrs P. Thank you OP for post.

:( it does stay with you doesn't it. Almost 7 years ago and I can still see it in my head like it was yesterday. I never want to see anything like it again.
 

PolarSkye

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I have always thought that when the time comes I would like my boy to be despatched by the hunt . . . this thread confirms it. Thank you OP.

P
 

Delhi Belly

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Good to hear OP - anyone that is considering having their horse PTS might now think about the hunt when before they had only given the injection thought.
 

fburton

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I agree that it's best to keep all options open.

Both injection and shooting are potential suitable methods. Both work well when done properly. Both can go wrong, but the chances of that are small. Which method is 'best' for the horse and its owner depends on circumstances (such as whether the horse is needle-shy, the location is suitable, etc.) and owner preferences. Neither method is clearly superior to the other from the clinical and welfare point of view; if it was, vets wouldn't use the clearly inferior method, surely?!

That said, I must once again question the idea that horses can fight the injection. What's going on when that happens? Are they really suffering or does it just look as if they are? I haven't yet seen any evidence that a horse can actually fight to delay loss of consciousness after correct injection of barbiturate overdose, and from what I know about the way the drug works it seems inconceivable that the animal could do this. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that spinal impulses could continue for some time after loss of consciousness producing actions which look like conscious struggling - obviously upsetting to anyone watching, especially if they haven't had prior warning, explanation and reassurance from the vet.

Once again I ask if any vets here can give a definitive answer on this matter because "fighting the injection" is often given as an argument against choosing injection, possibly discouraging people unfairly and needlessly from considering this entirely valid option.
 

Copperpot

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Mine went down, got up, staggered, almost fell on bonnet of vets car, went down again, tried to get up again etc. He then lay on the ground thrashing about. He was still breathing and his eyes were moving wildly in his head. It took what seemed like forever to actually stop breathing.
 

fburton

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I have been told by vets that thrashing and breathing may continue for some time after loss of consciousness. To be honest, I'm not sure about attempts to stand - to my mind that would be a voluntary action rather than reflex, though maybe it could happen purely as a result of spinal reflexes considering that decerebrate cats :)() can still walk. What did your vet say about it?
 

Shantara

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I have witnessed 2 horses being shot (not up close, I wasn't holding them, but I still saw it) and like you, I found it to be very quick and painless, neither of them knew anything about it. When Ned's time comes, I think that's the method I will choose, if I get a choice.
So sorry you had to go through it though :( it's never easy, whether it's your horse or not :( xx
 
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