When is the right time?
Knowing when the time has come to have your horse euthanased or ‘put to sleep’ is not easy. Not all animals will show when they are in pain or discomfort so we need to look at the animal’s quality of life as a whole. You may notice that there is a change in appetite or demeanor. There may be an acute injury or there may be chronic ongoing problem. There are many medications and therapies available to help in the care of ill or elderly pets but there may come a time where these aren’t enough to allow your pet to carry on with an acceptable quality of life. We are all animal lovers and have pets of our own and understand the close bonds we form with our animals. We are happy to talk through options to help you come to the right decision.
Euthanasia of horses is carried out by injection, usually through a catheter into a vein in the neck. Some owners prefer to be present; others prefer not or may just wish to see their pet afterwards. You may wish to have family members or friends with you. The decision is entirely up to you. Occasionally horses will be sedated prior to euthanasia.
The injection is essentially an overdose of an anaesthetic and your horse will lose consciousness within seconds. This means that your horse will drop to the ground quite suddenly although they will no longer be aware of what is going on around them. Their breathing and heart stop within a few minutes. Your horse’s eyes will remain open and sometimes they may kick or paddle their legs. There may be gasps of breath or muscle twitches as the muscles relax, even after the heart has stopped. A vet will check to make sure the heart has completely stopped.
Aftercare of your horse
We can arrange for collection of your horse’s body after euthanasia. Some people prefer to have their horse’s remains cremated and have ashes back to scatter or keep. Let us know what you would prefer and we can make arrnagements for you as appropriate.
Losing a pet can be a difficult time. Some people experience feelings of grief, similar to a human loss. Others may feel guilt, numbness or a sense of calm and relief about their loss. All of these feelings are completely normal and talking to others about your feelings can be helpful. The Blue Cross run a Pet Bereavement Support Service (PBSS) who offer practical information on coping with your pet’s death and have a helpline manned by trained volunteers for anyone needing a ‘listening ear’. Contact details for the PBSS are 0800 096 6606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.