Unexpected death

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18 January 2014
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My 3.5 year old cob was found on Saturday morning having passed away over night. There were no marks on her and nothing on the ground to suggest she had thrashed about. PM has come back inconclusive, with the most likely cause being her heart and a massive heart attack. Im so devastated, she was supposed to be with me forever! Has anyone heard of anything like this before? Vet report makes barely any sense... thank you xx
 

Elf On A Shelf

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Sadly it is not unusual. Did you ever have her heart checked by a vet? Could have had an underlying problem that was never picked up because the heart had never needed checked before.

They don't need to have been doing lots of work, they don't need to have been for a hooley, sadly sometimes they do just happen for no outwardly obvious reason.

Sorry that you lost your girl
 

OrangeAndLemon

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I'm so sorry.
I know answers would maybe make it easier to understand but it won't make it any less painful. Take care of yourself and mourn the years you had as well as those you should have had. She was loved.
 

Pinkvboots

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I'm sorry what a terrible shock it makes it so much harder when they are so young.

I have only known of one horse that was found dead in the field and pm also said heart attack, although the horse was quite a bit older I think the vets were also fairly vague about exactly what could have caused it.
 
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In short, no her heart would have been checked quickly when she had her jabs, but nothing out of the ordinary was mentioned, im just glad she was not alone, my old boy stood with her and that it was quick. Vet believes no pain and she would have been dead when she hit the ground... gutting xx
 

Cortez

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What an awful shock for you, I am so sorry. It's not all that unusual - sort of like SIDS or SAD - and some breeds are prone to defective hearts (Friesians, for one) and sudden death.
 

Sussexbythesea

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So sorry for your loss, such a terrible shock and difficult when you don’t really know why.

I know of at least 3 incidences of this amongst friends of mine, none were as young as yours but they were not old either. PMs were not done so no cause of death is known but suspected heart attack or aneurysm. One friend in particular found it hard to come to terms with but eventually was able to and now has another horse.
 

SEL

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I am so sorry. My farrier's horse was about the same age when it died in the field and heart was the suspect then too. It took the farmer a while to realise the poor horse wasn't just asleep.

Heartbreaking for you xx
 

Leo Walker

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I didnt have a PM and mine was older but it was this time of year. You could see his footprints going across the field and then he just dropped :( I never did bother with a PM on him. I think sadly it just happens in rare occasions. I am sorry for your loss. i know how much it hurts and how much you want answers you arent going to get :(
 

Schollym

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My 3.5 year old cob was found on Saturday morning having passed away over night. There were no marks on her and nothing on the ground to suggest she had thrashed about. PM has come back inconclusive, with the most likely cause being her heart and a massive heart attack. Im so devastated, she was supposed to be with me forever! Has anyone heard of anything like this before? Vet report makes barely any sense... thank you xx
A friend lost her 7 year old shire cross suddenly like this,and I lost an older horse suddenly due to a heart attack. I am sorry for your loss.
 
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Horses don't get heart attacks in the way humans do, i.e from blocked coronary arteries or similar. Instead they normally suffer an aortic rupture, which is a very quick death if that is any consolation. Normally there is no indication that the horse has struggled, no marks on the ground or sweating under the rug which means they are often dead before they hit the ground. Its also more common in breeding stallions for some reason and sometimes a stallion will come off a mare and have a colic like episode where they will be wobbly and disorientated which is normally a precursor of a heart attack in the future.

OP there is no way you would have known this was going to happen with your horse, sadly its one of those things. So very sorry for your loss.
 

Schollym

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Unfortunately I got to witness my horse die in front of me,he had been running around the field stopping initially we thought to have a wee, then he looked like he had gone lame. We walked towards him and he came over to us and collapsed in front of us. There was no pawing at the ground just confusion but it was not a sudden stop and the vet confirmed it was most likely to have been a heart attack. The only positive was he didn’t suffer and I was able to say goodbye.
 

silv

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I am very sorry for your loss and at such a young age.
I lost my horse of a lifetime last year, I found her dead in the field and like yours no sign of any thrashing about or struggle. However in my case a PM for insurance purposes found a massive mesenteric aneurysm had ruptured, the vet said she would just have felt faint and laid down and been gone in seconds. The vet had warned me that sometimes a cause is never found in which case the insurance company probably wouldn't pay out! It was devastating, but the only comfort was that is was nothing preventable, treatable nor foreseeable. I still get uncomfortable when I go out to my fields and see my horses lying down. Its all so unfair. Take care.
 

Snowfilly

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I know of three over the years who died like that, and one was a 7 month old foal. He fell down dead mid canter stride.

All the assumption was an aortic rupture. Nothing to see and certainly nothing that could be predicted or done to save them. One vet commented that he'd chose to die like that If he could, no warning and no suffering, so at least your mare wouldn't have known anything about it and she was out being a horse with her friend.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs.
 

Red-1

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I had one do this, a 7yo in good health. Sadly, I was there and it was awful, but no thrashing hoofprints.

I did have a PM, as I was so shocked. The inside of the horse looked like a text book of what a horse should look like. No aortic rupture, no digestive upset, no dehydration, no breathing issues, nothing. No history of heart issues, heart recently checked.

The vet said it was likely an electrical heart attack. Like some sudden deaths in people.

The insurance did pay out, as the horse was insured for mortality, and, it was, in fact, dead.

The vet said it was not all that unusual. It is just that people don't exactly boast about it so you don't hear about it.

I am sorry for your loss.
 
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I know someone who lost their 14 year old gelding to a heart attack. The Y.O was there and said it was very quick. He was insured, the vet came out and looked at him and said a PM wouldn't have been necessary, as it was a clear cut sudden death from aortic rupture no doubt. He'd been cut late at nearly 8 and had been used intensively for breeding prior to that as he was from good blood lines and she was told much later by a different vet when chatting about it that it was very common in breeding stallions and can happen years after, there is a strong link for some reason. I was told it was quite common, there was one at our riding club that my friends o/h saw, went to jump a jump, kind of veered away from it, staggered to the side, rider managed to jump off and he/she was dead before he hit the floor. Very sad.
 

ForbiddenHorse

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I am so sorry.

A good friend had her horse die of a heart attack, he was only young and was out in the field grazing at her house fine. Next minute her mum looked he was down and gone. So so sad.
 

J&S

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One of our RDA ponies died very suddenly in his stable one Saturday lunch time. He had been ridden in the school in the morning with no problems, he was only young and in great health and looked the real business. When they came back after lunch they found him. As mentioned by others, no struggle or thrashing appeared to have taken place. So sad, but at least quick.
 

sportsmansB

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I lost my mare of a lifetime last year like this. She was 11, a fit event horse on her holidays.
I didn't find her myself, but the friend who did promised me that she was like your horse, just laying there, no hoof marks around, no sweat under her rug- just like she was sleeping.
To be honest I didn't have a proper PM, the vet came out and saw her and filled in the forms for the insurance but I didn't actually find out what it was. I think he put down colic on the forms so that the insurance couldn't argue. Her field mate was nearby grazing quietly and there was nothing to suggest what it might have been.
I do wonder from time to time what it was, and I can honestly say I think about her and miss her every day.
I am so sorry for your loss
 

samuelhorse

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I lost my horse of a lifetime two years ago in the same way. He had retired 6 weeks previous, was 27, in good health apart from PPID which had been managed for around 5 years prior with no problems.
I had gone to feed him one evening, came trotting over to the fence, stuffed his face in his feed bucket, then ran backwards n lost his balance, i initially thought he had got a zap off the fence, and due to age had lost his balance in his hurry, he then went down on his knees, tried to stand, half reared up, let out an allmighty whinny, then was dead laid in front of me who by this time was hysterically screaming. Hindsight, was perfect, He chose the time, didnt suffer, waited for me so i knew he wasnt ill and needing a vet, dying alone and scared, and took the decision out of my hands, other side, was i was a mess :-( He died the way he would have wanted, with a mouthful of pony nuts. Vet didnt visit, but said probably an aortic rupture.............................................
 
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