Saturday, August 22, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Today we said goodbye to one of the old horses at our barn. I used to work as a veterinary assistant so I've been involved in numerous euthanasias of dogs and cats, but never a horse. The mare was down when I arrived to help. I held her head lightly, trying to keep her quiet. Prior to going down she had been whinnying, flank watching, and pawing. After going down she had struggled to get up but wasn't able to make it. Right as the vet arrived she lept to her feet...I'm not even kidding. She was sedated and they palpated her rectally, discovering a probable left dorsal displacement.  She had several chronic lameness issues along with being in her mid 20's so surgery was not a reasonable option. After her IV catheter was set, the vet began giving her the euthanasia drugs. The vet made it through 2 large syringes and was part way through the third before the mare fell over sideways. Once she was down she was still. The final portion of the drug was given and they checked her heart before saying they were finished. I wasn't sure what to expect but it was more startling than with the dogs and cats I have assisted with, where they just seemed to go to sleep. Goodbye is never easy, but we were able to end her suffering and she was loved all the way out. Hug your horses today, you never know what day will be their (or our) last.


  1. I'm so sorry. I've seen way too many, with Rick being a horse vet. I think prey animals like horses and sheep go down much, much harder than predators. I think they are hard-wired to fight or flee to the end.


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