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jokadoka

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I know what I should probably do but am in bits so here goes...24 (nearly25) year old thoroughbred, had him since he was 6. Has some kind of fracture in his upper jaw, discovered yesterday, therefore not able to eat much at the moment. Options are to take him to a hospital for ultrasounds to confirm severity and act on that. Surgery is a definite, just don't know how severe yet. Problem is, he can be a very bad loader, rearing and tossing his head. He's fine once he is on board. As his head is so soar already I am reluctant to try and load him. My vet suggested a person who apparently can load anything and is Monty Roberts trained. Even so, I am very worried about the loading. Also, surgery at his age, I just don't know. My vet says he's like an 18 year old, and other then this problem, he is normally looking and feeling extremely well. The thing is, I don't know if the surgery would be minor or major until he's got there to do the ultrasounds. My vet suggests take him there and then decide after we know what we are dealing with. I "think" I know I don't want to put him through surgery, but it might only be minor(ish). I don't want to put him through the hell of getting him loaded ( three hour jobs on occasion) to then find there is nothing they can do either. My vet says she can give him something to relax before loading but I'm still not convinced as his age goes against him. I need to decide today as it is not fair on him otherwise. Also, if they can't do anything, I'd want him to come home and be put to sleep in his own paddock, which would mean another probable traumatic loading experience. I'd rather walk him up to his field in the morning and let him go quietly, but I also want to give him every chance possible. Sorry for the essay and the rambling. What would you do?
 

be positive

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I had a similar scenario last November with an old boy who I knew would not cope well with traveling or box rest after surgery, if surgery was even an option, so decided that rather than get him to the vets and find that there was no chance anyway we called it a day and had him peacefully pts at home without any trauma.

It was not an easy decision as the vet felt it worth looking into but it was right for the horse, he knew nothing about what was happening, had enjoyed a good life and while having an op may have given him another year or two it did not seem fair to put him through a traumatic ordeal for the sake of it, vets don't always look at the bigger picture they see a healthy horse that in their view is operable but forget that it is only a small part of the process, box rest for possibly months is not always in the best interests of an older horse, a GA is risky in any horse and one that finds loading traumatic will have to go through that twice to get there and back.

Make your own mind up, don't let the vet push you into anything you are not comfortable with, will be thinking of you.
 

splashgirl45

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faced with your choice and bearing his age in mind I wouldn't go through the stress of loading and then find they could do nothing, so I would make that final decision if nothing can be done at home to diagnose how bad it is....my mare is 25 and is absolutely fine with loading and travelling but I still don't think I would put her through surgery....its a very individual decision and unfortunately you don't have the luxury of taking a long time to decide as he cannot eat so a decision is pretty urgent. I really feel for you and all you can do is try and do the best for him...it sounds like he has had a lovely long life so don't feel guilty whatever you decide..good luck
 

JDH01

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Really feel for you on this one. You need to have a serious think on this one and I can see that you are already doing that. You know your horse and its clear you are desperate to do the right thing for him. I agree with the reply about why the scan cant be done at home as many vets do this. Before you decide I think you need to really think through how fair it would be to bring him home with the associated loading trauma if treatment was neither possible nor desirable. Sorry not to be more helpful but really didn't want to read and run. Good luck.
 

Red-1

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Personally I would PTS at home. If the vet could scan at home first then I may do this. That may depend on how 'minor' minor surgery was. I don't think I would travel.

But, a friend has a horse that I also would not have operated on. She did, and the horse is still fit and well. I don't think there is a 'right' answer. I think you just need to go with your gut.
 

FfionWinnie

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I think your vet is quite ridiculous to suggest surgery for a difficult and elderly horse who has an owner who isn't very sure about having surgery in the first place.

Best case scenario he loads easily, the op is tiny and uncomplicated and he does not develop an infection. You are still looking at a significant bill for a horse which is at the end of it's life anyway.

Worst case he injures himself further and needs to be PTS under even more stressful circumstances. Listen to yourself not the vet I would say.
 

GirlFriday

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Before whatever caused the injury was he happy in himself? Sounds as thought the vet thinks he was healthy.

Think of it this way... he could, in theory, get another 10 years of life, around half as long again as you've had him.

On the other hand he could not.

It is clear (I think?) from your post that you were leaning towards PTS. Noone would blame you for that. I don't think anyone would blame you for investigating in accordance with veterinary advice either though.

Sorry. I know these decisions are hard.
 

ycbm

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Think of it this way... he could, in theory, get another 10 years of life, around half as long again as you've had him.


This is extremely unlikely, he has already outlived most pure thoroughbreds.

OP I'm sorry but I would put him to sleep at home this week.He is unlikely to have mucch quality time left to him even if he goes through the trauma to get him right now.
 
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Theocat

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I'm so sorry you're having to go through this.

In your shoes, I'd call it a day, without any stress for either of you xx
 

jokadoka

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Thanks all for your replies, much appreciated. Ultrasounds at home with a mobile unit are apparently not as accurate as at the hospital, hence the suggestion of taking him there. I don't know what caused the injury, we are quite baffled by it. He shares his fields with his companion pony, could have been a kick from him, but unlikely. Costs are not an issue, my main worry is the loading issue which would be very stressful for him, especially now. I have rung the vet, he will be put to sleep. I am absolutely devastated, but will do the right thing for my beautiful boy. Thanks again
 

ycbm

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Thanks all for your replies, much appreciated. Ultrasounds at home with a mobile unit are apparently not as accurate as at the hospital, hence the suggestion of taking him there. I don't know what caused the injury, we are quite baffled by it. He shares his fields with his companion pony, could have been a kick from him, but unlikely. Costs are not an issue, my main worry is the loading issue which would be very stressful for him, especially now. I have rung the vet, he will be put to sleep. I am absolutely devastated, but will do the right thing for my beautiful boy. Thanks again

Good decision. So sorry. I hope it goes smoothly.
 

silv

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Thanks all for your replies, much appreciated. Ultrasounds at home with a mobile unit are apparently not as accurate as at the hospital, hence the suggestion of taking him there. I don't know what caused the injury, we are quite baffled by it. He shares his fields with his companion pony, could have been a kick from him, but unlikely. Costs are not an issue, my main worry is the loading issue which would be very stressful for him, especially now. I have rung the vet, he will be put to sleep. I am absolutely devastated, but will do the right thing for my beautiful boy. Thanks again

Really sorry you are having to make this decision. For what it is worth going by the information you have given I really think you are doing the right thing by your horse. You sound like a very kind, caring owner and he is lucky to have had you.
 

mytwofriends

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A brave and kind decision for your precious boy. You're selfless choice will be hard for you, but right for him.

Have a hug. Thinking of you.
 

Honey08

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I think you've made the most sensible decision, albeit a heartbreaking one for you. He's lucky to have such a caring owner that has his best interests at heart. Hugs to you, it's pants.
 

LynH

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Sorry you are in this position and I agree that pts at home is the kindest. I had my 25yr old TB mare pts at home last month rather than travel her to the vet hospital. With several weeks since I did it I am content that I did my best for her by not stressing her with travelling and being at the vet hospital. Very hard decision but at home is best. Hugs.
 

jokadoka

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Thanks again everybody. It is very helpful to hear of other people's experiences. The vet is coming this morning. I am at peace with my decision but very very upset and sad. Thanks for your kind thoughts
 

Makemineacob

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God bless, I'm sure it's safe to save you have everyone's thoughts and prayers for this very difficult time. You are doing the very best thing for your horse. *hug*
 

GirlFriday

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Thinking of OP and her long time friend.

This is extremely unlikely, he has already outlived most pure thoroughbreds.

Hence 'in theory'. There is a 38 yr old TB mentioned in a thread on this page(the the weeks later one). I didn't say they were common though!
 

Ladyinred

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Edited because I didn't scroll right down before posting.


You have made the right decision and I admire you for putting your horse before yourself. All thoughts with you... HHO is very good at times like this and you will find a lot of support if you need to come back and have a rant or a good cry xx
 
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jokadoka

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Well, that was very hard. He went quietly and peacefully. Feels very empty round here now. I know I have done the right thing, but am just feeling so sad. We are due to relocate back to Yorkshire from France and I had only recently posted about horse transport on here. Him and his friend were due to travel on the 19th of June. It will be very strange to go without him. He has been with me through some very difficult times but also some really happy ones. He was my horse of a life time, with all his peculiarities and all that love he gave me. He still looked like my beautiful boy whom I first clapped eyes on nearly 19 years ago.Thank you Old Lou, for giving me so much. Will love you forever.xxx
 
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