PTS needle phobic horse

canteron

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Not there yet - but my girl is now 25 so it will happen one day.
Do vets still shoot is it really messy? I don’t think I could see my beloved horse being shot, the needle is bad enough.

Have you had this dilemma and how did you resolve it?
 

MotherOfChickens

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I haven't but fyi, horses are sedated first for PTS by needle and should be catheterised -so that might help unless she is really bad. An equine practice should still be able to shoot but the fallen stock company can do them here and that would be who I would choose tbh as they are doing it regularly.
 

Cortez

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Shooting is IMO the best method. A good knackerman or kennelman will drop a horse without it knowing anything about it: head down in a bucket of feed. The last one done here, there wasn't a sign that anything had happened, but there can sometimes be a little blood. I don't stay with my own horses, the last thing they (or the person doing it) need is an upset person in attendance.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I have had all bar 3 of my horses shot and much prefer that method, because it is instant.
The gun is placed tight against the horse's head, so there should be no possibility of anything going wrong, the horse is usually eating something it really enjoys from a bucket. I prefer to have an operative who does the job frequently, rather than a vet who might do it once per year, so hunt/knacker, or in our case Equine Crematorium operative. There is very little 'mess' to deal with ime. We keep Labs who have to use the yard, as well as the horses and a quick clear up/hose down left the area so that the dogs didn't know anything had happened.
I certainly wouldn't hesitate to recommend the gun over injection for a needle-shy horse.
 

MyBoyChe

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Agree with those who prefer the knackerman and a gun. Its not like the wild west, they dont take aim and fire, its precise, accurate and minimal bleeding. A trained knackerman is a good horseman, the animal will be at ease with him and they will know nothing. Unless you are able to remain totally calm it really is better to walk away before the deed is done, horse and man will cope better without a sniffling owner x
 

Mister Ted

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Its up to the owner to decide.I personally wouldnt dream of shooting although as others have desrcibed it may not be as awful as I imagined .My oldie was sedated and p.t.s without stress or drama by a horse vet.You can be there all the time stroking and saying goodbyes although I held it all together till later. Shooting doesnt give you that opportunity.
 

mule

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My elderly mare was pts with an injection two years ago and the vet (young and not long qualified) made a f*ckup of it. It was very distressing for the mare. She took a good 20 mins to die and she didn't go peacefully. Based on that experience, I'm wary of the injection method. Of course any method can go wrong. Whatever way I choose to get the next one done, I won't stay around while it's being done.
 

SEL

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I've been working with my needle phobic arthritic boy to generally make it safer for everyone, but it has been at the back of my mind that I really don't want my last memory of him battling against the vet.

We've been doing a lot of clicker training and pinching skin where a needle would go in, plus poking a pen in and around his jugular. Currently he's a bit bemused by the whole experience but happy enough with treats. When he needed sedating recently I started clicking and treating and he barely noticed the vet he was so focused on the treats. I think if you can play around now then it might help put your mind at rest if you go down the injection PTS route xx
 

Sprout

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I had always had mine pts by needle, but one was horrendously needle phobic, so I used a brilliant knackerman ..... my pony knew nothing about it, happily chomping a bucket of feed. Very quick and trauma free for him.
I am so sorry you are having to face this situation. X
 

Errin Paddywack

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With ours we were with them right up to handing over to the knacker, he prefers to hold them as he can then reassure them and judge the moment when to shoot. We hand over and walk away, hands over ears usually in tears. They really don't know a thing about it. Once done I can cope, even watch them loaded although I don't usually. I would always have an expereinced knacker to do it or the hunt, not a vet who may not do it very often. Have heard one or two horror stories when left to a vet but never had one myself.
 

Esmae

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I've always had good experiences with the needle. Our vet is excellent. However, 35 years ago we had one shot by the vet (different vet to now I must add) 2 shots and 3 injections later the mare finally died. Horrendous and wouldn't have one shot again given the option.
 

TPO

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When I lost a horse for the first time in 2008 she was shot by my then vet. I didnt know any better at the time, because no one ever talks about it in detail, but he done it wrong. It was quite dramatic when it happened but I had nothing to compare it to.

I changed practice for various reasons, and changed again to my current practice, and have lost another four horses since. The subsequent practices did not offer shooting and it was injection only. Both practices explained in detail everything that they were going to do and what was going to happen (despite them knowing I had previous experience 😏). Everything went smoothly and it was very peaceful.

Personally I'd enquire about oral sedation (ACP in feed?) so that the vet can then use needles to further sedate, insert catheter and do the deed.

I dont have anything against shooting and have been there when it was done properly by a "knackerman".
 
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My old boy (26) is needle phobic. Our local huntsmen are great and the last time I used them, I asked them to wait until I had driven off so I couldn't hear anything. Although injection is a nicer way for the owner to witness, I want my pony to go peacefully. I hope I can make the right decision for him when required. Planned would be hunt, unplanned due to an illness/emergency would be vet.
 

Shay

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Its always better to use a knackerman than a vet if you decide to shoot. They do it frequently, for vets it is very rare and many will not do it at all rather than make a mess of it. My personal experience over a fair number of decades is that I have seen more go wrong by needle and by shot. There are more elements at play with chemical euthanisia as it depends on medication load, size , individual reaction etc. Shot - done correctly and with an experienced hand - works the same in every horse of every size, weight etc. I strated to try to add up how many I have been with when PTS (mine and others) then got upset so I'm not going to. But its a fair few.

Last one I lost was PTS by injection - it was an emergency colic at gone midnight. The vet was there the knackerman wasn't. The pony was already sedated. But had I a choice I would always shoot. Plus the body can go to the kennels if you have a fallen stock service. Very much the way I want my old hunter to go if I have a choice when the time comes.
 
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This is all very helpful. I’ve been close to making the decision this year, but the boy has rallied. One local knacerman ‘recycles’ to Paradise Wildlife Park, I’m not sure I could cope with that thought. My vet uses them to remove the body, but I’m veering towards the injection currently. Hopefully I won’t have to make the decision too soon.
 

Mister Ted

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I've been working with my needle phobic arthritic boy to generally make it safer for everyone, but it has been at the back of my mind that I really don't want my last memory of him battling against the vet.

We've been doing a lot of clicker training and pinching skin where a needle would go in, plus poking a pen in and around his jugular. Currently he's a bit bemused by the whole experience but happy enough with treats. When he needed sedating recently I started clicking and treating and he barely noticed the vet he was so focused on the treats. I think if you can play around now then it might help put your mind at rest if you go down the injection PTS route xx
I had a small treat in my hand he could smell which switched the mind from the needle going in.The sedation is heavy and very quickly took effect.
 

oldie48

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I stayed with my neighbour's horses when they were shot by the local hunt and it was quick, painfree and effective. If I'd had the choice for my own two I would have gone for that but sadly I didn't have the option and they went by injection. However that was also quick and peaceful. TBH I feel if you are using someone who is experienced either method is OK. All I would suggest though is not to be around when the body is collected.
 

Mister Ted

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My elderly mare was pts with an injection two years ago and the vet (young and not long qualified) made a f*ckup of it. It was very distressing for the mare. She took a good 20 mins to die and she didn't go peacefully. Based on that experience, I'm wary of the injection method. Of course any method can go wrong. Whatever way I choose to get the next one done, I won't stay around while it's being done.

That must have been very upsetting. I changed from a regular vet.teaching hospital because of their practise on using young vets in training not specialised in horse care to come out on their own and often not even examining the horse just giving advice and charging full rates, waste of time . The horse vet I chose while my horse was still alive for general care was superb only dealing with equines and I wish I had changed years before. The whole process when the time came went very smoothly .
 

mule

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That must have been very upsetting. I changed from a regular vet.teaching hospital because of their practise on using young vets in training not specialised in horse care to come out on their own and often not even examining the horse just giving advice and charging full rates, waste of time . The horse vet I chose while my horse was still alive for general care was superb only dealing with equines and I wish I had changed years before. The whole process when the time came went very smoothly .
It really was horrible. I thought by having her pts I was ending her suffering but it ended up making it worse.
 

Mister Ted

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Not there yet - but my girl is now 25 so it will happen one day.
Do vets still shoot is it really messy? I don’t think I could see my beloved horse being shot, the needle is bad enough.

Have you had this dilemma and how did you resolve it?
I chose the needle over shooting as I was worried things might go wrong with that method and the whole experience too violent. If you choose an experienced vet who treats horses only things should be ok.I am reassured my horse went peacefully.
 

Orangehorse

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I think a vet who is experienced with injection or a knackerman/huntsman to shoot who are doing it every day. I think only the old school vets would be prepared to shoot now. Although the local lady vet shot one of our cattle when it broke its leg. At first she wondered if it could be saved and put in plaster, but decided it was too large and heavy and wasn't prepared to leave it for the knacker man to come later.

I think if you havent' seen it done, the thought of shooting is much worse than injection, but they go with their head in a bucket of feed, generally the man doesn't like the weeping owner anywhere near, and certainly standing well behind him. They just drop, and it isn't even a very loud noise. A bit of blood, but not much. I haven't seen a PTS with injection and I can well believe that they don't know anything about it, if done correctly, but I can imagine some horses fighting the sedation.
 

Nicnac

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Would always get the hunt out to shoot mine. Having had an injured horse pts by the vet, it was a long process and unpleasant vs. the knackerman who shoots them with their head in a bucket of feed. It's instantaneous and imo far nicer for the horse than being faffed about with needles especially if the horse is needle-phobic.
 

windand rain

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I was always really worried by shooting thinking what could go wrong so when a friend had to have her horse PTS she asked a very experienced vet to come and inject he said he would but if it was his horse he would get the knackerman to do it so she did. I stayed with the mare to reassure the owner it was quick and painless and to be honest I dont think she even heard the shot she was dead and down before it rang round the area. Having experienced both I would always chose shooting by and experienced knackerman over a vet and even more now most of the local surgeries have newly qualified vets as a matter of course I presume this is because they are cheaper
 

cundlegreen

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Its up to the owner to decide.I personally wouldnt dream of shooting although as others have desrcibed it may not be as awful as I imagined .My oldie was sedated and p.t.s without stress or drama by a horse vet.You can be there all the time stroking and saying goodbyes although I held it all together till later. Shooting doesnt give you that opportunity.
I've heard horror stories concerning the injection method, including a 30 year old pony who reacted so badly to 3 attempts, that they had to call the knackerman anyway. I always hold mine, but you do need ear plugs, as the report is very loud. My local knackerman is brilliant with horses, so relaxed, and it's instantaneous.
 

Steerpike

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I've seen 3 go by injection, they all went quickly by horse only vets, I'd much prefer that to the hunt in our area as we are not in a big livestock farming area and the hunt don't take carcasses anymore, I would worry the hunts man would be out of practice.
 

windand rain

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Yup wasnt going to cloud the water but the one of the ones I have seen done by injection was an old horse they tried to inject him several times and failed to finish him initially he tried to climb the walls due to panic at the out of control feeling they finally got him down but went 20 minutes back to the surgery to get a gun and then shot him. I know that was a while ago but having seen both I would chose to shoot especially a needle shy horse
 
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