WWYD: Bi-lateral hind PSD, Kissing Spines and Hock Arthritis

Aimeetess

Active Member
Joined
24 April 2013
Messages
431
Really do feel for you. I've been through it with my old mare, its awful, I’ll try and keep it short. She was only 9 and this was 6 years ago. She was diagnosed with Kissing spine first, 4 vertebra touching and one over lapping. The vets operated on her back. She had lots of box rest, she was very mareish, so box rest was awful. She’d bite, kick but we got through it. She then went lame once rehabbing, diagnosed with bad arthritic hocks, injected and re started rehab. Rehab was hard work, working her every day, long lining, pessoa work etc. She had physio weekly. She then was SO grumpy I couldn't touch her without being attacked, she was diagnosed with bad grade ulcers. We treated those. She then started bucking and bolting again, something wasn’t right. My insurance at this point was reaching maximum pay out because we had claimed so much at this point.

My vet took another look and said she could possibly have arthritis in her stifles, SI issues and suspensory issues at least. All secondary from the kissing spine. I gave her 3 months field rest, thinking she could possibly come right.. in which she got so aggressive with other horses due to the pain she was in. The vet agreed she would of always hurt and wasn't in a good state, she got abscess after abscess in her hoofs and was so crippled I couldn’t even bring her in from the field. I then took the hardest decision I've ever had to make of putting her to sleep, I had such good support and the vet agreed it was for the best. A lady at the yard said I was cruel ending her life and should be sold as a field companion or brood mare (?!) but I couldn't cope with the thought of her being in pain or sold on to be ridden, she was my responsibility.

Shes now at peace.. but I do regret more than every putting her through all of that, the op, multiple vet hospital visits, box rest, before finding out the full picture. If I found out the full picture first I wouldn’t of put her through it.

If I were you, I’d have a serious conversation with your vet. It’s your personal decision at the end of the day, will he be pain free retired? Are you happy to keep him as a field ornament to live out his days? Or if not, will he ever become sound/pain free to be ridden as a light hack? If you have your own land its much easier but I was at a costly livery yard with good facilities and it’s too expensive to keep a retired horse there. Therefore, if he was mine, in my circumstances, I would speak to the vet then depending on his response, possibly give him a couple of months turned away, being spoilt and lots of cuddles and then put him to sleep.

All the best xx
 
Last edited:

bubsqueaks

Active Member
Joined
16 July 2015
Messages
193
The (very) old fashioned way to deal with this sort of dilemma was to turn them away for a year and see what happened. I can't help thinking that this was a nicer process than being poked, prodded, injected, extensively confined, etc. very expensively by vets facilitated by insurance. It very often worked too.
Yep that's what we've resorted to - back to nature to nurture, no shoes, no stress, no pressure, no saddle, forage only - then out the other side crossing everything & see what has transpired
 

SEL

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 February 2016
Messages
3,978
Location
Buckinghamshire
He’s had ulcers previously so I did re-scope him and thankfully he’s clear of ulcers which is one plus point!

I’m sorry to hear about your mare - I know what you mean about seeing everyone else out when you’re doing everything possible to keep your horse happy and healthy.
I'm lucky that she's comfortable in the field and still happy and chirpy. If either of mine get to the stage where that isn't the case - and it isn't something easy to resolve - then it wouldn't be fair to them to keep trying.
 

TPO

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 November 2008
Messages
2,070
Location
Scotland
Sorry to read that you and Ed have been going through a bad time.

I don't have any first hand experience of the diagnoses that you have asked about but I have had a few ex-racers. I got my last gelding as a 9yr old when he started having lameness issues involving an abscessing hind frog (long story, won't bore you with details). Having dug into his history and pieced some things together it transpired that he fractured his pelvis as a 2yrs old and had lots of time turned away because when they brought him back into work he wouldn't be strong enough and/or still growing. Long story short it was his "good" hoof that taking the burden from the old pelvis injury (despite the vet I got out to check him before purchase okaying him as a RC horse and first therapist I used not noticing it (I had). This was all supposed to be curable. He had 2 surgeries to remove the after effect of the abscesses (only the first one was covered by insurance) but neither worked, he had practically weekly vet visits after surgery and a good month was when we only saw the vet once. I do have to say that my current practice have been second to none.

When no treatment was working I took matters into my own hands, didn't involve the vets and done as little as possible to that hoof and used hoof boots instead of shoes. This "magically" worked but by this point he was 16 and (I think) arthritis in his knees (always had terrible forelimb conformation) as he'd go a bit short and there was heat, he responded well to danolin.

When my mum's horse collapsed with a heart murmur it was decided to have them both pts at the same time.

I was, obviously, very upset about losing my boy and I also held my mum's for her so it was a very upsetting day. I've unfortunately lost a few horses and although I've considered it the best option at the time I've always had a "what if". When I let this TB go it was only a relief that I felt.

A relief that I'd no longer wonder what I was going to find each day, a relief that he'd never have any pain or discomfort again and a relief that I could move on. I felt physically lighter as I was no longer worrying constantly.

There was always "something" with him and even on rare OK days I'd still be looking for something because of his history. It was so stressful and I didn't realise how much so until he was gone. I stupidly worked out how much more he'd cost me than "normal" horse keeping costs over the (nearly) 7yrs and I had to stop when I got to £36k (to reiterate that's ON TOP of the costs to keep a RC horse that you can actually ride, have lessons on and compete!).

He was never bad enough to pts as everything was always fixable, or at least "patchable", until the next episode. He was never in prolonged discomfort (would go lame the day before an abscess would appear and they burst/drained quickly) to make pts an option. I did make the appointment a couple of times having said "one more episode and that's it" but there was always hope and he'd always have a period of soundness on the lead up to the appointments so I'd cancel thinking we'd finally cracked it. He was a lovely horse, more like an overgrown Labrador, really contend and just so good. It was just all so horribly unfair and made a lot worse by unprofessional vets who lied to cover up their mistakes but we soldiered on trying to fight the good fight.

With hindsight I wish I'd pts years sooner, for my benefit as horrible as that sounds. He's never have known any different and there's a lot worse fates for a horse than to be pts peacefully at home. Again I don't have experience of your horse's diagnosis but I do have experience of very broken ex-racers. Turning away for the summer isn't even the nice thing we're lead to believe it is; badly bothered by flies, heat, hard ground, grass issues... so don't feel like you "have" to do X, Y or Z

I guess my point is don't put yourself through an extended period of stress/worry/expense. It's supposed to be fun and a hobby, yes there are always going to be tough times, but overall it should be enjoyable. I don't mean it to sound horrible and of course I hope you get a positive prognosis for your horse but just don't feel bad for considering PTS. Like I said I wish I'd done it years before I did solely for my benefit; the horse has no idea while being kept in expensive comfort as a field ornament. I could afford 2 and had another at the time so that wasn't the issue it was just the mental tax of having a "broken" horse iykwim.

I'm hoping you get some good news from the vet and thinking of you whatever you decide as I know how hard it is. Best wishes
 

Cortez

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 January 2009
Messages
8,388
Location
Ireland
I don't live in the UK and being on here has highlighted for me how different attitudes are in different cultures. I'd never keep horses going the way a lot of people seem to, through persistent lamenesses, long term illnesses, prolonged confinement, multiple procedures and intractable discomfort. I prefer to let my horses go when they are still feeling relatively good and enjoying life. I don't consider horses to be pets, they are working animals that need to run and feel safe in their environment.
 

Bernster

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 August 2011
Messages
4,662
Location
London
I’m afraid when they are compromised like that, I don’t think the outcome is great.

Mine has multiple issues (ks, hocks, navicular), although they came over a period of time. I treated and rehabbed all 3 but by the 3rd I quickly decided to turn away to grass livery. I didn’t think she’d settle but, although she was a bit of a diva the first winter, she settled very well. Is now happy and in light work but I don’t ride her.

Tbh had the issues happened closer together, or I’d known earlier how it would go, I think I would have pts. Now she’s a lovely but expensive semi-retired pet.
 

equi

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 October 2010
Messages
8,627
Location
Northern Ireland
Each issue is quite debilitating on its own, but treatable. All three together is going to be very hard to control. Each one will potentially make the other worse as your horse will be trying to take the pain off by compensating somewhere else and I think you will just end up with a summer of heartache trying to keep your horse comfortable knowing that you will likely need to pts anyway. I understand people who have an old horse who didn’t winter well giving it the summer if it’s comfortable to get fat and be a horse knowing it’s their last, but I don’t see the point of doing that for a horse who may be in a lot of pain and not cope very well with that easier pace of life and potentially box rest too.

There is every justification for you to put him to rest at this stage if and when you feel ready, especially if your vet doesn’t think there is much more you can do for him.

But take your time and make sure it is right for you and him. Don’t let other people influence you too much (as in the nosey liveries who will say oh you can’t kill a horse unless it’s already half dead with only two legs left on after it’s fell off a cliff) because that only makes you feel bad. Consult with your vet and good trusted friends only.

Best wishes.
 

scats

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 September 2007
Messages
2,861
I put one down the year before last due to the fact that he had kissing spines, navicular and arthritis. Each one on its own would have been manageable, just, but the combination was just too difficult. Same with Diva last year. Everything just got out of control, we tried to help one issue and it made another worse. Sometimes you just have to call it a day.

Best wishes whatever you decide x
 

timbobs

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 November 2014
Messages
591
Just to update on this - I’ve spoken to the vet and the prognosis isn’t good which was my thought anyway.

A good outcome would be that he can enjoy a summer in the field with friends, but their thoughts on this actually happening are guarded/poor.

What’s more likely is that when we review him in a couple of weeks i’ll Be making the decision to let him have a few days in the field with friend sans call it a day.
 

hopscotch bandit

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 February 2017
Messages
1,356
Just to update on this - I’ve spoken to the vet and the prognosis isn’t good which was my thought anyway.

A good outcome would be that he can enjoy a summer in the field with friends, but their thoughts on this actually happening are guarded/poor.

What’s more likely is that when we review him in a couple of weeks i’ll Be making the decision to let him have a few days in the field with friend sans call it a day.
So sorry but sounds like the right decision given all the issues and him not being happy in the field and generally miserable. I think if he was happy on a bute a day and was happy to be turned out it would be different but from what you said that this is not the case.
 

TPO

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 November 2008
Messages
2,070
Location
Scotland
Just to update on this - I’ve spoken to the vet and the prognosis isn’t good which was my thought anyway.

A good outcome would be that he can enjoy a summer in the field with friends, but their thoughts on this actually happening are guarded/poor.

What’s more likely is that when we review him in a couple of weeks i’ll Be making the decision to let him have a few days in the field with friend sans call it a day.

I don't live in the UK and being on here has highlighted for me how different attitudes are in different cultures. I'd never keep horses going the way a lot of people seem to, through persistent lamenesses, long term illnesses, prolonged confinement, multiple procedures and intractable discomfort. I prefer to let my horses go when they are still feeling relatively good and enjoying life. I don't consider horses to be pets, they are working animals that need to run and feel safe in their environment.
I don't think it's a cultural difference rather than down to individual experiences and personalities.

I knew someone who'd have a horse pts at the drop of a hat yet kept an old cat going while it had an open tumour site, clearly uncomfortable/in pain and bleeding. The reasoning was as you've said; horses are working creatures/with a purpose yet a cat is a pet. I know I'd rather have been the horse in that instance, the state of that cat was disgusting but it was "loved" and she didn't want to get it pts...

My attempt at making OP feel better (probably missed the mark by miles) was to say that it's ok not to keep a horse going just because it can be done so not to feel bad if that was her decision. Again, my attempt to briefly describe one example with one horse doesn't even begin to cover what did happen but at no time was he at the point where the decision should have been made. When he actually was PTS he was as healthy as a 16yr old TB could be and field sound, although I self diagnosed the beginnings of arthritis in a knee, and he was pts at that time because of timing with mum's horse. I'm from farming stock and no matter how heartbreaking it may be it's just not in any of us to keep an animal going for our sake, they come first, end of. I'm fortunate to have straight talking friends who, if I was blinded, would be the first to say that certain action has to start to be considered. However lots of people either don't have that or people don't feel like they can talk about that.

How many times have people on here said they think horses should be PTS only to be shot down as uncaring, businesslike, treat animals as replaceable commodities etc. The end of an animal's life is something that isn't discussed enough I think and people can be made to feel as if they have failed and/or are giving in by choosing to PTS when that really is not the case.

Apologies for the tangent.

OP very sorry to hear your news and thinking of you through the forthcoming difficult time
 

timbobs

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 November 2014
Messages
591
Thanks for all your thoughts on this, you really helped me sort out my thoughts.

I’ve made the call to the vet and he’ll go on Friday.

He’s buted up and having a happy week in the field. He had an absolute blast when I turned him out which was lovely to watch.

Everything was a bit soggy after storm Eric, but Ed thoroughly enjoyed getting filthy.

I’m absolutely devastated, but it’s the right thing for him.

CA405478-6ACB-48B6-9A03-E2F22CCA7ED3.jpeg D088E39B-A1AA-45A3-81D7-9A49084DB025.jpeg CE26F421-4626-4B83-853E-E17F5ED53BC9.jpeg 17DD52BD-F911-4E71-A727-C67CE104F7E3.jpeg
 

southerncomfort

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 September 2013
Messages
2,082
Thanks for all your thoughts on this, you really helped me sort out my thoughts.

I’ve made the call to the vet and he’ll go on Friday.

He’s buted up and having a happy week in the field. He had an absolute blast when I turned him out which was lovely to watch.

Everything was a bit soggy after storm Eric, but Ed thoroughly enjoyed getting filthy.

I’m absolutely devastated, but it’s the right thing for him.

View attachment 29531 View attachment 29532 View attachment 29533 View attachment 29534
The kindest and most selfless decision.

I'm so sad for you. I loved reading the updates on your thread. What a wonderful boy to have had in your life and what a wonderful journey you've had together. Sorry it didn't have a happier ending for you both.

Will be thinking of you on Friday.
 

splashgirl45

Well-Known Member
Joined
6 March 2010
Messages
5,833
Location
suffolk
just read all of this thread and timbobs really feel for you and sounds like you have made the best decision and are thinking of him .... he looks like he is having a good time in the field ..... also feel really sad for the others on here who have had similar problems.....we all try to do what is right for our lovely horses and i have never regretted any of my decisions to PTS as have thought everything through very carefully and made decisions on quality of life which is what i read on this thread from everyone.... HUGS to all xxxx
 

Theocat

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 November 2010
Messages
2,651
A very brave decision. I have just reached the inevitable end of two years of a multitude of problems, and I wish I had been brave enough to make the right decision earlier x
 
Joined
3 October 2018
Messages
129
A strange post to like, but lovely to see him enjoying himself. I watched your thread but had little advice to give. All I can say now is how lucky Ed is to have a mum like you, you've had the fun times together and now you're doing the most selfless act of all and saying goodbye while he's not in pain xx
 

Pearlsasinger

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 February 2009
Messages
21,764
Location
W. Yorks
I'm sorry your vet couldn't give you better news but I do think that you have made the right decision for him. He's certainly enjoying himself in your photos, I hope he has a good week. Thinking of you.
 

LaurenBay

Well-Known Member
Joined
15 November 2010
Messages
4,439
Location
Essex
I'll be thinking of you on Friday, I follow you on Instagram and love seeing how happy Ed is. You are making the right (but very hard) decision for him. x
 

nikkimariet

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 December 2010
Messages
4,714
Location
N/A
I'm so sorry, what an absolute shitter.

If he was mine I would PTS. Too much going on and with him not being himself at this stage... I'm sorry.
 

timbobs

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 November 2014
Messages
591
This waiting is the hardest part- the week is going so slowly, but at the same time I feel like there isn't enough time left.

I'm not sure what I'll do with all my free time once he's gone, it's a very strange feeling knowing that by the weekend he won't be here.
 
Top