The following 2 part series is by HH’s guest blogger Joanne Scott:
Euthanasia. It’s such a hard topic to think about, much less have a frank discussion about. There are always situations where the answer is so clear… a catastrophic injury with no hopes of recovery. A senior horse that goes down and just can’t get back up. A starved pony, too far
gone to be saved.
But what about the gray area? That gray area is so, so hard for me. The pets that are maybe close to the end, but the answer isn’t clear.
“Better a day too early than a day too late.”
“Pick a nice day, with their favorite things, and make that be the day.”
I’ve always guided my decisions by these trite statements. It’s never easy to make the call, to carry the pet in, and I always ask my husband… “we don’t put people down, why do we do it for animals?” He always answers, “we don’t, but many people wish we would.”
Recently, I’ve been having these frank discussions with a friend of mine. Her horse has been stuck in the gray area for years. I attended her “quality of life” appointment with her vet, and the
gray area was suddenly… not gray. The answer definitive. A date has been picked, a place selected, and a gorgeous boy will be stuffed with his favorite treats, and tears will fall.
Prior to the meeting, we wanted to make sure all of our questions were answered – and needed to make sure we knew all of the questions we wanted answers to. Feel free to use these in a discussion with your vet, should your gray area arise.
- How much pain in the horse in? Is the pain treatable? Is full recovery possible, and if
so, what is the timeline?
- Is “full recovery” riding sound – or pasture sound?
- What kind of special care will the horse require? Supplements? Medications? Special
shoeing? Are you able to financially care for the animal?
- If we do not euthanize now, what signs should we look for to indicate “it’s time?”
You can also review the guidelines set forth by the American Association of Equine Practitioners
You’ll also want to decide on disposal of your horse. Cremation, private burial, group burial? Your vet will be able to discuss each option with you and help you come to a decision. Here in North Texas, we are lucky to have Pine Hill Pet Cemetery that offers all options with a variety of price ranges.
My experience? You assume I have one! (I do.) It is personal, and I’ve made the call for no less than 1 horse, 2 dogs, and numerous cats. No one can tell you what to do, and only you and your vet can make the decision that is right for you.
If you have any considerations you’d like to see added to this list, please add your comments below and we will update the list above.
Join Hunky Hanoverian later this week as we share one reader’s euthanasia experience in her own words.