Thoughts on PTS

Cinnamontoast

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Reading other threads and having an extremely arthritic horse who will not improve, it is a matter of time before I need to make a decision. The boy is currently comfortable but had a serious episode of lameness recently, he can be very playful, which invariably knocks him sideways for days and necessitates double Danilon.

I've only ever experienced PTS at the RVC and they don't allow you to stay with your horse/watch. I know I'm going to get a variety of opinions/ideas. Forgive the stupid questions.

Has anyone used Holts or other knackerman? Do I need to speak to my vet before calling them or can I just book them to come to the yard? If the vet does the deed, how is the body removed and to where? Knackerman? Thanks, all.
 

Orangehorse

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So far I have used a local person (I hesitate to call him a knacker man) who comes and uses pistol/gun and takes away the body. You can choose the disposal, from individual cremation to going to the kennels, it is a matter of cost (and how you feel about it of course). I have to say that this chap has done two of mine and it was very professional and he was very caring and I'm sure they didn't know a thing and they died with their head in a bucket of feed. He is doing it every day, so he is very good and is sympathetic and calm.

You do not need to ask a vet, you are completely allowed to arrange for someone to come and pts your own animal. Mine didn't even ask for a passport or anything (although he knows me and who I am).

If you prefer to use a vet for pts by injection I think that they will arrange disposal of the body too. But discuss it and make sure the vet is experienced with the procedure.

I don't think there is any need to see them afterwards, I did with the second one and wished I hadn't, but that is entirely up to you.
 

TelH

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I've had 2 pts by injection, they were collected by the crematorium as I had them individually cremated. The vet arranged collection and they were both collected within an hour of being pts. I also had one die from a heart attack, he went for individual cremation too, the vet arranged collection on that occasion too.
 

Suechoccy

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I've been with one that was shot (pistol) and one that was captive-bolt gunned. In both cases the horses were instantly dead, dead standing up while munching carrots, both knew nothing about it. With the bolt gun, there is a bit of struggle on the part of the bolt gun operator as he/she extracts the captive bolt end of the gun from the skull. The bodies are then very quickly winched onto trailers or into boxes for removal. Each to their own, I stay with them to the end but I walk away as soon as it's done and don't watch the body removal.
In both cases, the operators were excellent.
 

JanetGeorge

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I call the local huntsman. I hold the horse with a bowl of nuts under his/her nose. Never had one that didn't hit the floor did - still with a mouthful of nuts. I don't hang arounmd to see the horse loaded - it's generally a very old horse I've had for a long time. Cost is a LOT less than vet - and then removal. (My hunt charges £150 for a decent sized horse.) Have not had one be frightened by the huntsman - he's very caring and expert.
 

nikicb

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I am sorry you are in this position. I have owned horses for 40 years and still not had to deal with being there at the time so you are not alone. The only horse that has died in my time of owning horses was my mare who I owned for 30 years. She was 90 minutes away when she was pts and I couldn't, actually wouldn't have got to her in time. I have an old pony (26 years old) with a tumour on his tongue. I posted a thread about him a little while back. After discussion with my vet, he (my vet) said that given pony was an alert type, if it was his, he would shoot. BUT, he would do it for me and hold the rope and do it at the same time. Please speak to your vet. Speaking to mine made me feel a lot better for when the time comes. Lots of love. xxx
 

Cinnamontoast

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It's tricky, he seems fine day to day but take away the Danilon and it's very clear how lame he is, the x rays were devastating. I refuse to let him suffer so he gets as much pain relief as he needs. If he's had a hoon round, he's screwed for days. The farrier finds it very difficult to get his hinds high enough for trimming, picking them out is dodgy, he can't lift them or tries and nearly tips over. 😢
 

nikicb

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It's tricky, he seems fine day to day but take away the Danilon and it's very clear how lame he is, the x rays were devastating. I refuse to let him suffer so he gets as much pain relief as he needs. If he's had a hoon round, he's screwed for days. The farrier finds it very difficult to get his hinds high enough for trimming, picking them out is dodgy, he can't lift them or tries and nearly tips over. 😢
I really feel for you. I haven't yet had to make the decision with a horse (my mare made the decision herself). But with my old dog who I lost at 14.5 I was really worried about whether I was leaving it too long. Then one day, suddenly, it was then. I think you will feel that with your boy, but I do really understand the worry in advance. xx
 

Cinnamontoast

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But with my old dog who I lost at 14.5 I was really worried about whether I was leaving it too long. Then one day, suddenly, it was then. I think you will feel that with your boy, but I do really understand the worry in advance. xx
I pts my old dog a few weeks ago. Heartbreaking, but it was time. I'm not sure we're there yet with the horse, but I'd rather a day too soon.
 

nikicb

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I pts my old dog a few weeks ago. Heartbreaking, but it was time. I'm not sure we're there yet with the horse, but I'd rather a day too soon.
You'll know. I didn't think I would and was worried about it being me that lengthened the process but when it came to it, I knew. Big hugs. I'll be going through the same with my pony who is still out attending PC rallies and living the high life, but I really hope I will see the sign when enough is enough. xxxx
 

Sprout

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I am so sorry you are in this position.
I was too this time last year, and had to have 2 pts on the same day. I chose the knackerman as one was needle phobic, it was all over very quickly and professionally and their bodies were removed immediately.
Previously I have used the vet for injection .... that too was peaceful, not quite as quick, and then a delay for removal.
My thoughts are with you. X
 

vmac66

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I had a horse pts as he had bilateral posterior uveitis. He looked at me one day and I knew he'd had enough. He was pts by injection from the vet. I stayed with him, it was very peaceful. Walked away before the disposal man came for him.
 

BBP

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I’ve been with three that were done by injection, including an event horse at Burghley that broke his leg in front of me and I ended up holding him for the vet, so he was one that was just pumped up with adrenaline whilst the other two were old and quiet. All three went very quickly and quietly. I found the blood patch left by the shot horse very difficult personally but the actual process for the horse was quick. Definitely leave before the body is removed, that’s been the part that has stuck with me most (and also my horse found it incredibly traumatic seeing his friend loaded on the wagon, he had been peaceful and calm til then but then lost his mind).
 

hairycob

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I've been with someone elses put down by knackerman/hunt and been with mine when they have either been shot or injected by the vet.
TBH it depends entirely on how you feel. I wouldn't have mine done by hunt/knacker man simply because the body is taken straight away and for me it's just to sudden a transition from living breathing beastie to nothing. Some might find it weird but I like to sit down with a cup of tea by the body and say a proper goodbye. My preference is shot by my vet and collected an hour or so later by the hunt. My friend prefers her last memory to be the living animal so goes just before the dead.
The only time it's been injection the horse was down in the stable and shooting wasn't an option. I do wish I had been warned that , if they are already down, the muscle spasms make it look like the horse is trying to get up. That broke me for a long time until a vet nurse explained it too me.
In the end you are the one that has to cope, not anyone else so you do whatever makes you least sad.
 

PapaverFollis

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Both the horses I've lost have been PTS by injection by the vet. The old guy we had collected by the crematorium, individual collection but not individual cremation. We had it all arranged so the vet came then the collection chap came shortly after. It was all very calm and peaceful and Yard Owner coordinated things.

Granny was an emergency PTS and it was really tough, the actual injection part was fine and she went quickly and peacefully. But the place we had to take her on the yard and then arranging collection with fallen stock and it having to be the day after etc was really hard. Fallen stock man was lovely and sympathetic but would have preferred an individual collection even though I was definitely not there for that bit. But given where we are and the emergency nature of it, it wasn't an option.

The actual bit where they are put to sleep isn't as bad as you anticipate. I'll say that much. I didn't sleep for two weeks worrying about the old boy and the actual process but it was fine! Didn't have time to worry about Granny.

I would prefer an arranged PTS than an emergency every time though.

I'm sorry you're going through this. It's so hard. X
 

lauracwd2

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For my old mare I had arranged the vet to come out a few months before as I knew the time was going to come sooner or later. My pony was extremely vet and needle phobic and also didn't like men so I arranged for one of the female vets I trusted to come out and see her and have a discussion with me about her condition. That allowed the vet to see just how tricky she was for a vet and for me to have a really detailed discussion about the logistics of doing the deed. In the end I felt injection by vet was best as I didn't think she would tolerate a man approaching her. The vet gave me several tubes of domosedan and sedalin to administer and then two female vets came on the day to be on hand if needed. It actually went really smoothly and was quite peaceful in the end.

I also had to hold my friends old pony last year after I found him severely colicing in the field. That was an emergency and vet gave him an injection, again it was quick.

In both cases we've arranged collection from the local fallen stock place, both times it was next day. I presume the vets would have arranged too if asked though.
 

Translationsneeded

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Sorry you are going through this. I’ve had a couple dispatched by the hunt. I’m really sure that danilon / bute is ok. I think they said to me the only meds that were an issue was the sedation that the vet would use. Call them and ask, they are really helpful.
 

LaurenBay

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So sorry :(

I had my arthritic mare PTS in Nov, she wasn't comfy even on 2 danilon a day. She was only 13 :(

I had her PTS by injection from the vet, I was allowed to stay with her and the vet came to me. The vet arranged for Resting Pets to take her after and she stayed behind to assist them moving her. I did not want to stick around to watch her be loaded as I have heard it is not very nice to watch. My vet also suggested I leave and do not watch.
 

minesadouble

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I've had them done with both the injection and shot by our local slaughterman and ever had any bad experiences either way. Both methods are humane, it really is a matter of personal choice, and/or finances.
We usually bury ours at home. If our slaughterman takes them away they go to local the hunt who incinerate them. It really makes no difference what drugs they have had, I'm not sure the hunt in question feeds flesh anymore so it may be worth checking this out with your local hunt if you decide to go down the hunt route.

It's an awful time when you know the decision is getting close so you have my sympathy. I had 3 put down last year, 2 arthritic oldies and a chronically lame gelding, the worst part for me is making the decision, it's almost a relief when they're gone.
 

windand rain

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Having seen both injection and the pistol I would always chose the pistol. Our local man is brilliant with people and horses. He comes does the deed and loads up and takes away. You can chose individual cremation, mass cremation or ashes back cremation. He even took one woman with him so she knew she got the right horse back. I am a pragmatist I know it is coming as it comes to all so I don't find elective PTS as upsetting as emergency
 

PapaverFollis

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Just to follow up on what lauracwd2 said above... our old boy was very nervous of the vet and needles so we also gave him a full tube of oral seditive before the vet arrived. It did the job and it was all very peaceful after that. I would probably do that for any elective PTS going forward. Granny was fine with needle so the vet gave her an IV sedation before we moved her from her stable to where we actually had to have her PTS as she would have stressed out at being out of sight of other horses in a new to her place on the yard otherwise.

Another thing, we have always allowed field companions to see the body. I do think it helps them. With Granny we couldn't let The Beast stay with her at all but with the old guy, Granny and the thoroughbred got as long as they needed before going off to graze. Then we took them to the stables so they didn't watch him taken away either. The Beast just got a quick sniff. Ideally she would have had longer but location was against us. Both The Beast and Granny sniffed the departed horse's feet a good deal. It was weird to see the behaviour repeated!
 

TheresaW

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Mac was PTS by injection and went really peacefully. The vet was quite a petite lady, and she got him down so gently when he went. The vets arranged for the local fallen stock man to collect him, and like a lot of other posters, when he turned up, I left and OH watched him be loaded up.

Sorry you’re going through this. Xx
 

scats

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I’ve had several horses put down by injection over the years. All have gone peacefully. They were given a load of sedation first so they were away with the fairies anyway.
I arrange for the crematorium people to collect them and generally stay while they are loaded, that part doesn’t bother me to be honest. Although some people find it hard to watch so if you are very emotional, it’s probably best not to.
 

Dusty M Yeti

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I have used Holts, I would thoroughly recommend them. Very professional, discreet and efficient.

I seem to be the friend that covers PTS for others and I've dealt with it on a professional and personal level. I've experienced injection and gun, vets, hunt and knackermen (goodness, it sounds like I've done this a lot, I'm not hard of heart, i promise!). I've seen each way done well and others not so well (though never horrific) and when it comes to making a decision for my own horses I've used different methods depending on the horse. I tend to sit on the fence when it comes to which way is better, you know your horse OP, sorry you are getting to this time though x
 
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