Making THAT decision - in bits am I right or wrong!!

asommerville

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Well at the start if the summer my mare (19) was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in her hocks and spine, had injections into her hocks - made no difference. The vet wanted me to change her shoes but after speaking to the blacksmith we decided not to as she wasn't really ridden - in fact was miserable in work and I didn't want to mess about with her feet anymore (after years of trying all sorts for her crap feet). As long as she was sound and happy to go out in the field I was happy. But now she's not sound, goes out stiff as a board in the morning and comes in stiff as a board at night, seems quiet and miserable unless she's in her stable, I said at the beginning I'd see how she was at the end of the summer and she's getting worse now it's colder. I'm not happy to fill her with painkillers to keep her for me, I think I knew I'd need to make a decision but its so bloody hard!! I think indeed someone to say that I'm not killing her!! I can't talk to anyone at the yard, they don't get it.
 

Cragrat

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A bute a day has kept my arthritic old girl in happy retirement all summer, and so far she is still happy, though seems to miss being ridden (she isn't happy when I tack up another horse but not her). However, even before the bute, mine was still happy and bright. If yours is unhappy, then IMO it isn't fair to keep her going. She will get worse as the weather gets colder and wetter. Do what is right for her, and sod everyone else.
 

YasandCrystal

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I think when the time is right you as the closest to her will know. I have come close with 2 of mine in the past, but the age of them made me persevere with alternative remedies. I have all of mine on the turmeric, micronised linseed and pepper regime and it has made an amazing difference to their mobility. It has meant I never need to use any NSAIDs and they are more mobile than ever. Once you feel you have tried all you can if your horse is still unhappy you have to consider their quality of life.
 

Bexx

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Hey, I know this is a really hard decision to make and I can't imagine how you are feeling right now. All I will say is that you know your horse better than anyone. If you know that she is not happy or that she is in pain then I think you are making the right decision. Other people won't understand but that's because they don't know her as well as you do. Why don't you have a chat with your vet too, I'm sure they will be able to offer some advice.
Try not to let the people on your yard influence your decision. Only you know what's right for your horse and I think it's a brave decision to make.
 

Sukistokes2

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My lad has arthritis in his feet. He is on a danalon every other day and seems fine, so he is going through the winter. Next year it could be different. When he is stiff, even on medication he will go. I will do it before the winter. For my other girl who left us a couple of years ago I left it until January and very nearly ended up with her suffering as the day after she went it snowed heavily. She could have had to wait until after the snow had gone, which was a couple of weeks, I will not make that error again !

Good luck with what ever choice you make.
 

Dannylandrover

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I have made THAT decision twice with my own horse and pony. I always said i would never let any of them suffer. My appaloosa horse suddenly changed, he started doing dangerous things, attacking people at random and being dangerous to ride. I had a vet look at him and do some tests, she diagnosed dementia (he was 29 years old) so turned him away for the summer and before it got cold i called the vet to sedate him and then the hunt to do the deed. He went peacefully and safely and no longer suffering. My shetland pony got cushings and went from hunting one Saturday to not being able to stand the following weekend, we dosed him on bute so all the children he had taught over the years had time to say there good byes and then i had a company come, put him to sleep and take the body away (too many painkillers in his system for the hunt to do the job). I miss them both terribly even ten years later, but neither suffered and i feel better knowing that. Also i have arthritis myself so now how much pain it causes, how debilitating it is. Be strong and do what is best for your horse. hugs sent xx
 

JillA

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If you need permission to let her go, you have it. It is the kindest thing quite often (I haven't seen your mare so am meaning in theory) and as I have written before, they don't stress about it the way we do - my old mare couldn't have been clearer asking to be let go when she was struggling to cope. It is the final kindest act of love we can give them - freedom from stiffness pain and struggle, when they have little to no chance of ever becoming the active vibrant animal they loved to be.
I had an elderly neighbour who died recently, and he HATED being old and infirm and not being able to do the things he enjoyed - how much more must horses hate it, depending on speed and movement to feel safe?
 

twiggy2

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if you are unhappy with long term use of painkillers that's fine but could you not just use bute to keep her comfortable whilst you make your decision?

personally I would be making the decision and carrying it out before the weather turns so in the next week or so
 

Red-1

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I feel for you, it is the hardest decision to make.

I learned with my old dog the adage "better a week too early than a day too late".

The guide in in our house is that they must enjoy life, or at least have the prospect of a recovery back to where they do so. I agree with others, it is the kindest thing you can do for an old companion.
 

Emby

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I had to make that decision for my old boy. He was only 18 but an ex-racer who was suffering badly from arthritis. He was always stiff and grumpy every winter that I had him (4 years) but was fine during the summer. The last summer I had him, we encountered many of the problems that I only usually saw in the winter.
I upped his pain killers but they were playing havoc with his digestive system so I made the decision to let him go almost exactly 3 years ago.
It was a terrible time leading up to 'the decision' - I think I knew deep down that there was only one way it was going to end but I needed to know for my own peace of mind that I had tried everything.
But once it was over I KNEW I had done the right thing by him.
Thinking of you xx
 

Wagtail

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Why don't you give her a chance on bute? One or two a day is hardly filling her with pain killers. You obviously really love her. Giving bute to horses is not cruel or bad. It is offering them some anti inflammatory pain relief. Thousands of horses live happily on bute. For me, if it makes them comfortable to enjoy their retirement, then it is the kindest thing you can do for them. However not every horse has an owner who can afford to keep them on medication. Only you know if you could do that or not. But don't think you would be being selfish, keeping her on bute just for you. You would be giving her the gift of a longer life. However, not all types of pain respond to bute and it may be that you try it and she is no better. At least then you will know that the only kind option left is to PTS.
 

EventingMum

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For me the adage "better a week too soon than a day too late" applies. The weather is only going to get worse which could exacerbate her issues and I would make the call now rather than risk her getting worse. This way you can plan for what happens and not have it forced upon you which adds to the stress.

One of our old horses left us a few weeks ago, he had a lovely summer out with his friend and I had arranged the vet etc for the Monday, however he came in on the Friday and wasn't looking so good so I decided I wouldn't risk keeping him through the weekend in case he got worse.

Your horse has been loved and cared for and for me that is important, an extra few weeks or months aren't important, the fact that she isn't in too much pain is. Remember she will be unaware of what happens. Sorry if this sounds blunt, it isn't meant that way, I know this is such a hard decision to make.
 

Amymay

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For me the adage "better a week too soon than a day too late".

Your horse has been loved and cared for and for me that is important, an extra few weeks or months aren't important, the fact that she isn't in too much pain is. Remember she will be unaware of what happens. Sorry if this sounds blunt, it isn't meant that way, I know this is such a hard decision to make.
I fully agree.

Hugs OP.
 

asommerville

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Thank you everyone it's so hard and I know I'm not the only person to have to make this decision but it's still crap. OH said why don't give her a bit longer and see how she is but I I had said I would hate to go to the yard and find her crippled and in pain - I suppose if it's too early I'll never know if it was. She's on tumeric and oil and pepper and doesn't seem any better, I'll phone the vet today and see why they say
 

Maesfen

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You are not killing her as some might suggest. You are helping her to a peaceful and pain free future which is humane and doing the best you can for her.

Yes, it's painful for you and never easy but it's a release from pain for her so do what is right for your mare. Nobody else has any right to say anything to you at all about what you do apart from offer commiserations; which I do.

The old cliches are the best - of better a day early than too late (especially if it becomes an emergency which is far more upsetting for both her and you than when having it all planned) but for me, the most important one of all - quality of life is what counts, not the quantity.
 

fatpiggy

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Take it from me, arthritis hurts. It is currently spreading from one side of my neck to the other now. It causes me horrible headaches which last for a week or more and aren't touched by painkillers, spasms, clicking and general discomfort and don't ask about trying to sleep at night :( I had my old girl PTS almost exactly 2 years ago because of advanced arthritis and have no regrets. She wasn't suffering as such, but she was stiff all over, struggled with mud as she couldn't lift her legs high enough out of it, found it near impossible to hold any of them up for me to rasp her hooves, had to put her head down in a series of steps first thing in the morning and it wasn't hard to see that another winter wasn't going to be in her best interests. I tried to see her final visit from the vet as a treatment. It cured all her aches and pains for good. You can do exactly the same for your old girl.
 

*hic*

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You need to do something now. She's not happy or comfy and you hate to see her like that. If you can't make the rush decision to pts then you need to get her on a sufficiently high dose of bute that she's back to her comfy self again. There's no shame in giving her bute. If you had arthritis you'd be on the painkillers! Even if you decide that she's going at the end of the week, or next week or the end of November she needs some pain relief. Turmeric isn't doing the job, she needs proper medication.

Ring the vet and ask his advice, but if she needs to go she needs to go and it's the final kindness you can do for her.
 

Amymay

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She's on tumeric and oil and pepper and doesn't seem any better, I'll phone the vet today and see why they say
Well, no, she wouldn't be any better.

The first thing you have to do is get some actual pain relief in to her. That will make her more comfortable and allow you time to make any arrangements.
 

Tnavas

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To be able to end the suffering of your horse is an honour. An expression of your love and respect for them. It will be a sad day and you will grieve but you'll know it was the right thing to do.
 

honetpot

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Please let her go, I am losing all my oldies at about one a year, its hard but I know I will never see them in pain and fortunately the deed has been done for all on a lovely sunny day, with grass in their mouths in the field with their friends.
The only one I feel sad about was an unexpected PTS with a sudden illness in the bad snow, with the vet having to do it with car head lights, the horse cold and shivering.
Be brave.
 

skint1

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Oh gosh, I feel for you, we are in a similar position with our 14 yo Tb gelding, and I can imagine how you felt this summer when the hock injections failed because we went through the same thing. I can't advise you about because I don't know what to do myself.

We have taken a slightly different approach in that our boy is on bute, but we know this isn't a long term solution, but it does give him more ability to keep up with his friends and enjoy what little time he has left. Like your mare, he is on the turmeric/oil/pepper for some time now, I would guess that results vary greatly between horses because it certainly hasn't given him any new leases of life.

I wish you all the very best with your hard decision OP, it's far from clear cut I know. I think you sound very brave, and you won't be "killing" her, you'll be doing her a kindness
 
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unicornystar

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Dont worry about the fluffy people who believe they are "kind" prolonging an animals life for their sake....YOU are absolutely doing the kind, brave, responsible and loving thing by ending any potential suffering to your beloved horse, you have permission to do the right thing, it doesnt mean you are the grim reaper, although I KNOW from experience earlier this year it feels like it!!

Good luck and hugs
 

Orangehorse

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Stiffness that doesn't wear off is pain. Stiffness is where they can move normally after a few strides, but if she is the same after being out in the field and finds it difficult to get around she is uncomfortable.

What is the longer term outlook? Have it get worse until she can't get up and down easily?

I know what it is like to say goodbye to an oldie, but it is the last kindness.
 

Ibblebibble

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there will always be someone who says you should have done this or that different but if the decision is right for you and your horse then thats all you need to worry about. you are not killing her, you are releasing her from pain, if only we could do the same for humans!
 

gmw

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Your horse is in pain that what the stiffness suggests also you say she is miserable. Arthritis is a terrible pain at least ask vet for some painkiller to make her more comfortable. Then decide from there. I suffer from RA the pain is horrendous but I have painkillers. I wish you well.
 

happyclappy

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i thought i had responded to this post.
keeping an animal in pain is not nice. i have the utmost respect for those who are willing and do pts to save their animal suffering.
i am very sorry to you and all others when having to make the decision.
 

asommerville

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Thank you everyone in trying to get hold if the vet and I'll give her some familia in the meantime. I think she would be happy to stand in her stable all dAy and eat - but what kind if life is that....and the weathers getting worse as worse if I thought 24/7 turnout would help id so it I've tried to think of everything!!
 

Carefreegirl

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I'm at the same stage as you OP, I find out tomorrow what my vet thinks but in my heart of hearts I know it's time to let mine go. Bl@@dy horses. its a heart breaking decision but they don't know what's happening xxx
 
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