PTS needle phobic horse

teddypops

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I had one horse shot by the recommended knackerman in my area, it all went well and was very quick but I’m amazed at everyone who says there was just a little blood. I had to hose and scrape up lots of blood/brains and it was so traumatic I would never have it done again. As for a needle phobic horse, possibly domosedan or Sedalin first might help.
 

Boulty

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There are still vets & other professionals who will shoot, yes.

I ended up in the dilemma of a very needle shy (to the point of being dangerous) horse who had also become very very headshy due to poll / neck pain (although he was always wary of anyone touching his face anyway tbh)

His saving grace was that he'd been on meds by syringe for years thus I gave him an entire tube of dormosedan (which was the only oral sedative we found that ever worked on him... sedalin made him worse usually) about half an hour before vet was due to arrive (they phoned me when on way). This sedated him enough to place a catheter (just!). He was then given further sedation IV until the vet was happy he was extremely well sedated (as she said you really don't worry about overdosing them at this point given what you're about to do) & then they PTS. Only thing that didn't go smoothly was that the horse was adament he wanted to fall in the opposite direction to the one the vet was trying to guide him in.

Had I not been able to give oral sedation / had it not worked then shooting was an option that was mentioned & considered (I just felt that given the other issues the horse had it was likely he'd react just as badly as to someone with a needle & he was marginally better behaved / less stressed if I was there compared to if I wasn't & going the massive amount of sedation & injection route allowed me to be there
 

Pearlsasinger

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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.

There really isn't anything violent about the shooting method of pts. Of course you must do what you think is best but please do make the decision about which is best, *for the horse*, not for the 'spectator'.

Having had several elderly, sick dogs pts by injection and having had the vet explain that elderly veins do not work so well as young ones, the blood flow round elderly bodies is slower and having seen how long the injection can take before a Labrador stops breathing, personally I believe that the gun is quicker. I have seen a big colicking ID stand up on her back legs to fight the injection method. That was horrible and not something i ever want to repeat.


ETA, having read cundlegreen's post. I have never needed earplugs and the knackerman/huntsman has never used ear plugs. It has never been any louder than when next door farmer is shooting rabbits.
 

milliepops

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I had one horse shot by the recommended knackerman in my area, it all went well and was very quick but I’m amazed at everyone who says there was just a little blood. I had to hose and scrape up lots of blood/brains and it was so traumatic I would never have it done again. As for a needle phobic horse, possibly domosedan or Sedalin first might help.
I have seen quite a few shot in a previous job, and cleaned up afterwards and I agree some did leave a lot of blood.
Personally I would still prefer an experienced knackerman/hunt to do mine because it doesn't upset me any more than the injection, I find the instantaneous nature of it quite reassuring.

I have witnessed one injection go badly wrong but that was human error, horse not sedated first. I was glad it wasn't my horse as it was a fairly awful way to go. But I have also seen plenty more go very easily.
 

teddypops

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I have seen quite a few shot in a previous job, and cleaned up afterwards and I agree some did leave a lot of blood.
Personally I would still prefer an experienced knackerman/hunt to do mine because it doesn't upset me any more than the injection, I find the instantaneous nature of it quite reassuring.

I have witnessed one injection go badly wrong but that was human error, horse not sedated first. I was glad it wasn't my horse as it was a fairly awful way to go. But I have also seen plenty more go very easily.
It wasn’t the shooting that traumatised me, it was clearing up the mess. It was awful. Was even making my husband gag and he is not normally bothered by anything.
 

milliepops

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It wasn’t the shooting that traumatised me, it was clearing up the mess. It was awful. Was even making my husband gag and he is not normally bothered by anything.
Yeah I understood that. I was "lucky" to get introduced to it in the course of a job and so I wasn't terribly attached to the horse beforehand which helped I think.
 

Five&Two

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Will never ever ever use the needle option. I've seen it go wrong and it was horrific. Holts if the cover your area are by far the best option and really make the situation easier to deal with.
 

splashgirl45

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i have never used the injection method so cant comment on it. my first horse was a bit wary of men so i had some sedative on hand in case of problems. the knacker man walked up to him with the gun behind his backl,told me to stand to one side my horse put his head down and was made a fuss of and was shot immediately. he fell to the side(where i was!) and there was hardly any blood...it went as well as it could. the next one was shot by my vet and was sedated first and i then walked away, same for the next one, and as my lovely vet had passed away i felt better having the huntsman for my last one,she was not sedated and he was very quiet and compassionate and my YO stayed with her for the last minute and she went eating a bowl of chopped carrots (her favourite) again not much blood and my YO just put some shavings down over the top as she was PTS on the grass.... hope you feel reassured as either method should be suitable, hope all goes well when you finally have to make the decision..
 

Nudibranch

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I always use either knackerman or my own equine vet, who is ex army, and very experienced and proficient with a gun. None of mine shot have ever known a thing. They use a silencer and the noise isn't as awful as you'd think. I have to say I have never witnessed this head in a bucket of feed thing people like to quote! All the knackermen and vets have taken the rope, waited calmly and patiently for the right moment then shot with me standing behind them.

I am now quite firmly anti injection, having had a 30 year old pony (owned for 28 of those years) awfully messed up by the most senior vet in our previous practice. I had requested the gun, the message hadn't been passed on, I was talked into injection and it took her an hour and a half to die, clearly in pain, while he drove back to fetch the gun and put an end to the whole thing. The cannula had moved out of the vein and most of the drug went into muscle. Genuinely horrifying and to this day it haunts me. I now use a vet who I speak to directly, no receptionists involved and he is very, very good.

That said, others have had difficult experiences with the gun so it's personal preference and who the best option is locally.
 

Levrier

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My bloody stupid TB chucked his head up from the bucket of feed at the last second..... knacker man (and it sounds almost derogatory referring to him as such, he was absolutely bloody brilliant and I would recommend him to the nth degree, Philip Smith Maxwell if you are around Gloucestershire!) patiently waited, covered horses eyes with his arm, and did it. No fuss, no histrionics, nervy bat-shit crazy TB wasn't bothered at all. That's what I meant about only having a professional, he was amazing (and calmed me down with small talk all the way up to the field as well!) - worth his weight in gold
 

cundlegreen

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ETA, having read cundlegreen's post. I have never needed earplugs and the knackerman/huntsman has never used ear plugs. It has never been any louder than when next door farmer is shooting rabbits.
Well, I was holding the horse each time, and he obviously used a high calibre pistol. He's practically deaf.
 

Mister Ted

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My bloody stupid TB chucked his head up from the bucket of feed at the last second..... knacker man (and it sounds almost derogatory referring to him as such, he was absolutely bloody brilliant and I would recommend him to the nth degree, Philip Smith Maxwell if you are around Gloucestershire!) patiently waited, covered horses eyes with his arm, and did it. No fuss, no histrionics, nervy bat-shit crazy TB wasn't bothered at all. That's what I meant about only having a professional, he was amazing (and calmed me down with small talk all the way up to the field as well!) - worth his weight in gold[/QUOT
Its derogatory the way you describe your horse.:mad:
 

Levrier

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"Mister Ted" the quote function doesn't work properly here as you have failed to use it properly - but get a bloody life will you, anyone who knows me at all will know that my animals mean more to me than anything and I don't need some anonymous 'do gooder' giving their opinion on an internet forum about what I've said. The TB in question WAS mentally unstable, that is why he was PTS - unless you know the full facts of the situation I would strongly advise that you keep your comments to yourself
 

Mister Ted

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"Mister Ted" the quote function doesn't work properly here as you have failed to use it properly - but get a bloody life will you, anyone who knows me at all will know that my animals mean more to me than anything and I don't need some anonymous 'do gooder' giving their opinion on an internet forum about what I've said. The TB in question WAS mentally unstable, that is why he was PTS - unless you know the full facts of the situation I would strongly advise that you keep your comments to yourself
Whatever was wrong with him I for one dont like your comments on him.Your comments are not helpful to anyone.End of.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Whatever was wrong with him I for one dont like your comments on him.Your comments are not helpful to anyone.End of.

I felt that Lev's comments were extremely helpful, she recommended a professional horseman who could deal with a fidgety (at best) horse and do the job successfully, with none of the problems that others have described that they have experienced. I wold have thought that could be very helpful to OP who has a needle-shy horse, if she is in the right area.

Unfortunately, ime a 'fluffy bunny' attitude on the part of the owner leads to horses being left to suffer pain/distress for longer than they should. Responsible horse owners put their own feelings aside and decide what is in the best interests of the horse.
 

Berpisc

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I have seen a couple of horses PTS by injection, both were ok, one was a livery though the vet was (understandably) concerned about the owners ability to hold the horse while he administered the first sedative and the second was an old pony of mine in agony with colic. Because his poor old system was shutting down, the vet struggled to find a vein again.
Others I have had put down by the knackerman (I have stayed with when owners have not felt they can, and also with my own horses); I have worked and lived on a farm so the process is not as difficult for me. Losing the horse,for me, as Pearlsasinger says, has been a very very different matter.
I would agree that the knackerman is your best bet for shooting as they are at ease with the process and a good one will not upset the horse. Occasionally there will be blood and tissue, if you are aware that this can happen this may affect your choice, or who you have to support you.
 

Millie-Rose

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I had a fairly awful experience with injection where she took an hour and a half and three doses to go but fortunately she was heavily sedated and never appeared distressed was awful to witness though. Since then I have assisted with three injections which have been textbook and very quick including a healthy horse with a broken leg. A friend had a bad experience with local knacker man who missed at first attempt. I have a nearly 30 year old much loved pony and am dreading having to make the decision and still unsure which way I will go. I suspect if vet here anyway it will be injection but if planned I don't know.
 

AandK

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I find PTS threads are always a mixture of people for and against both methods, it really is a very personal decision based on experience (if any) and preference towards one method. I have never had any experience of shooting a horse for PTS, and it is my personal preference not to use this for any of my horses. I have seen several horses PTS by injection over the years, all went as smoothly as they could under the circumstances.
For the first time ever, I recently experienced it for one of my own horses, having made the decision to have my 29yo mare PTS before the worst of the winter set in, as she was quite arthritic and had deteriorated over the course of the year. She was PTS by the vet via the injection, she went peacefully with me and her long term companion (my 22yo) by her side.
 

honetpot

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I think either method if carried out by someone competant is effective. The only difference is the condition of the animal, I have found when PTS by injection. A well animal with an effective circulation system the drug will take effect quickly, if its ill and the circulation is collapsing it will take longer, so you need someone who over doses rather than under doses, and the vet has to be prepared, to give another dose.
The gun is more predictable, and takes less time and most of the people doing now probabely do several a day or at least on a weekly basis.
My mare was needle phobic, I used the hunt service. Less than 20mins from the kennel man walking in and the lorry leaving. I once had to wait four days for a horse to be collected by the crematorium, if you are lucky and its planned they will be there before the vet.
 

HollyWoozle

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We have never had any of ours shot but I would definitely consider it in your case, OP. I think people primarily choose what suits them as a spectator, since either method should be efficient in the vast majority of cases, or based on their own experiences to date. We have had at least 7 PTS by injection over the years and it has always been peaceful and quick but we are fortunate to have a very good equine vet clinic. I would not hesitate to use an experienced knackerman if it suited the horse better and I think there are less variables involved with shooting.
 

beingachicken

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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.
I used to be on the shooting is cruel and you must hold your horse bandwagon.
However I’ve very much changed my mind over the years. I had a needle shy horse and knew he’d fight sedation (always had for medical procedures) I spoke to the Hunt. They brought two men and I said goodbye and handed him over. It was the best for both of us and I don’t care what people say about needing to be there. They were so good he had no idea. I have since had the injection for a nervous head shy pony, I held so again the best option for him, but Given the choice I’d always shoot now.
 

criso

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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.
Is that Holts, that's the only one I know of. I may have to make the decision for my retired one and just wanting to know options.
 
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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.
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Sadly this was also my experience and not one I would ever want to repeat. I knew something had gone wrong as the horse was shot twice but the vet lied and said he shot all big horses twice. It was years till I found out from some girls that were on the yard at the time, all I remember is the YO looking pale as a sheet coming up from the field with the vet and having to go and get a brandy down his neck.

I would always choose injection over shooting, for me its too violent a death if that makes sense. I want to be there at the end and I wouldn't want to be there if my horse was having to be shot. Its personal I know but once bitten and all that.

With the exception of a couple of people on here who have had terrible experiences with injection I think with the drugs that they use these days it doesn't take many seconds at all. I know that people on death row have had horrendous deaths with lethal injection but I believe this is the prodding around for an hour looking for a vein because they are drug users and their veins have collapsed.I think if a horse is in shock it might be hard to locate a vein and therefore the choice might be taken away from you, I don't know. I am dreading the day mine has to go.
 
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Kamikaze

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I couldn't have a horse shot. Minto was heavily sedated and i dont think was even aware of the vet near him. Robin became very needle shy after an op and i did wonder how we would pts if it came to that. Luckily i worked with him and he is fine to be injected again. If it had come to it i would give a very large dose of domosedan before as that knocks him out, then the iv sedation.
 
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She was PTS by the vet via the injection, she went peacefully with me and her long term companion (my 22yo) by her side.
When you say your 22 year old I assume you mean horse. How did she react when her mate went down? I have often suggested people have their horse bond pair see them after they have died but have always assumed it would be too traumatic for another horse to watch the 'end' so to speak.

I am not criticising by the way. I am just curious. I hope I haven't upset you by asking? I assume they just think they are going down to roll? x
 

Cortez

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When you say your 22 year old I assume you mean horse. How did she react when her mate went down? I have often suggested people have their horse bond pair see them after they have died but have always assumed it would be too traumatic for another horse to watch the 'end' so to speak.

I am not criticising by the way. I am just curious. I hope I haven't upset you by asking? I assume they just think they are going down to roll? x
Horses know when another horse has died, but they don't usually overreact. I have had to put down foals and always have the dam there so they can see them go down and spend a little time with the body afterwards. Usually they sniff the body and occasionally paw at them a little. Horses are much easier to deal with than over- emotional owners.
 
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