Any horse owner will dread the day that their much loved companion becomes elderly or unwell. It can be such an emotional and stressful time, but ultimately if you have the horse's best interests at heart, you will make the right decision.
We often speak with clients who are unsure what they should do when their horse is unwell. We are hoping if you are in this situation, either now or in the future, that you will find the advice in this article useful.
What to do if your horse is unwell?
Seeking advice from a professional horse or equine veterinarian is really important as the illness may be treatable, however unfortunately if the horses quality of life is at risk, the recommendation is often to put the horse down.
Vets will often offer to administer a chemical solution to euthanise your horse however this comes with it a number of concerns, expense and logistical arrangements. We speak about the options you have below, to help support you make an informed decision.
Making the Decision
Although making a decision quickly is important for the welfare of your horse, owners often feel that they are being rushed into chemical euthansia as the vet is already present.
We at Fallen Equine often find that our clients wish to process the information given by the vet or perhaps make some last memories with their horse before they say goodbye, there may also be other family members who's feelings need to be considered. It is important not to feel pressured into making a decision into how to put your horse to rest.
If the horse is anxious it may first be given a sedative, and then a lethal overdose of anaesthetic drugs is administered intravenously by a registered vet, this is called chemical euthanasia and is often referred to as 'putting to sleep' or 'being put down'.
However, many horse owners are opting to use more traditional services like ours to put their horse to rest instead. Some due to the fact they do not agree with using chemicals and others because of the financial impact that chemical euthanasia costs.
Veterinarians usually charge £450-£600 to chemically put your horse to sleep, however the cost could be greater if additional sedatives are needed or they have attended to your horse out of hours. There is then the additional cost of removal and cremation to be considered.
Typically Fallen Equine charge around £150-£250 to dispatch & remove a horse which is a considerably cheaper option. For an accurate quote based the size and location of the horse, please give us a call on 07825 598 046
Horse's are very instinctive animals, so much so that it is believed that they are able to sense when another nearby is either unwell or has died. Although you may isolate your horse away from others, their continued presence can cause distress & therefore a prompt removal of the horses body is important for the sake of your other animals.
For cases where the horse has a strong bond with another (perhaps a foal or life long companions) it may be appropriate for the body to remain for a short time to support their understanding of loss. This time should be limited to prevent the surviving horse suffering from distress.
It is vary rare that a vet is also able to remove the horse after chemical euthanasia, if chemicals have been administered you are however legally obliged to have the horse cremated. This is often not understood at the time and many owners find the additional collection arrangements and expense to be stressful.
If you choose to go down the chemical route, Fallen Equine can still support the removal, however alongside the vets fees, this is understandably a more expense route to take. All removals and disposal of any horses and/or livestock by Fallen Equine are done so in line with the regulations set by DEFRA.
It is a very personal choice to decide whether you wish to witness your horses passing, however from experience, we at Fallen Equine, feel that an owners presence often unintentionally causes greater anxiety for the horse.
If you choose to leave your horse with one of our agents (or with a trusted vet), then rest assured they will carry out the process in a professional and caring way to ensure your horse has dignity until the end.
If you wish to return before the horse is transported then please discuss this with one of our agents in advance.
We hope that this article has been useful in helping you make the difficult decision of how to put down your horse. It is important to take all the factors discussed into consideration, but rest assured if your horse is suffering or in pain then you are doing the right thing.
Alternatively, you may not currently need to make this choice but by being able to digest this information now with a clear mind, when the time does come to say goodbye, you will already understand your options and know the process.
If we can help support you, by providing our services or further advice, please get in touch with one of our agents.