Losing a horse is a delicate situation, and we understand the difficulty in having to make that final decision. Our veterinarians are skilled in assessing pain and quality of life. They do not recommend euthanasia casually. Rest assured that the process of performing euthanasia is always carried out in a humane manner.
Horse owners are always welcome to be present as their horse passes. Other owners don't wish to be present. That is certainly a personal decision and we respect whatever choice you make.
As for the process, sedation is typically used prior to euthanasia so that your horse is relaxed and not aware of its surroundings. The final injection is an overdose of injectable anesthesia, allowing your horse to fall into an eternal sleep. As it enters the bloodstream, the chemical targets the brain and heart, first preventing nerves from sensing pain, then gradually stopping the beating heart.
While the decision to euthanize is heart-wrenching, it is important for a horse owner to consider the horse’s suffering before their own. We realize that every horse has a story and we respect our client's decision for choosing this path. In circumstances where euthanasia offers your horse relief from physical pain, ending misery can be the best decision you can make for your horse.
Common reasons for euthanasia:
Emergency medical conditions which cannot be fixed or where hospital referral is not an option.
Illness that would cause suffering if the horse were kept alive
Organ damage that cannot be repaired.
Terminal illnesses such as cancer
What happens after euthanasia?
After putting your horse to sleep, you can decide to have your horse cremated, or buried. Because saying goodbye is difficult, we recommend having after-death plans arranged prior to your visit for euthanasia. No matter what you decide to do, don’t feel pressured to choose one option or another; choose the option that is best for you. Some horse owners feel that an urn with their horse’s remains helps the grieving process. Others think leaving the horse for pick up to be buried helps them emotionally. Because your horse has peacefully passed, it is now your decision to do what is best for you.
The bereavement process is different for every horse owner. Some only take a couple days for mourning while others take months. It is completely normal to mourn the loss of your horse, and you should never feel obligated to put a time limit on what is the “right” amount of time.
If you have any questions about the process of putting a horse to sleep, or want to schedule an appointment to see if it would be beneficial for your horse’s condition, contact our office at your convenience.