To PTS or not :(

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by Zegger, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Zegger

    Zegger Well-known Member

    This a very hard topic for me , as usually when I get horses, they are for life.

    I'm thinking about making a hard decision regarding my new boy. I have only had him for about 4 months but since then he has had some health issues, and of late they are getting serious.

    When I got him, I knew he had a bowed tendon. I got my vet out and it was fine and I got his hip checked out, which showed he had a previously fractured pelvis. Which riding wise wouldn't affect him too much, only if I wanted to compete at high levels.

    Since buying him, I have discovered he has seedy toe in all 4 hooves. That was fine, I was treating that.

    He then got an abscess and after many failed poultices and 2 vet visits, the vet started to remove the infection (after 2 sedations). From here it was discovered, that the wall separation was much worse than we thought and the abscesses was very deep #(. The vet thinks the infection may be running under the hoof more, which could result in having to remove a large proportion of the sole. Which means no riding for months till it grew back.

    To top it off, it looks like he has laminitis as well, which is going to require x rays and his tendon is a little sore again and that too will need an xray.

    Firstly it's very $$$ for me to maintain all this treatment as I am a full time uni student, but I have not been skimping at all with his vet treatments, as if I can't afford the vet bills , I shouldn't have him.

    What I'm really worried about is all this time and money I'm investing in a horse, which at the end of the day has soundness issues. He will always have a high risk of re occurring abscesses and if he has laminitis, he will have to have soaked hay and restricted grazing. I just don?t want him to live a life where it's restricted.

    If he didn't have a bowed tendon and old hip injury, I would most likely prevail.. but having hoof problems, it would be causing all different pressures on his tendon and hip. He also raced till he was 7 and I know he will have joint issues from that. He also gets himself worked up so much and it breaks my heart seeing him so tense , from something as simple as tying him up in the shed.

    I can't just put him out to pasture to rest , as the seedy toe and laminitis needs daily monitoring
    It's just so hard, as he means so much to me and he is the sweetest horse. :cry:

    I just need some advice at the moment.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  2. Coda Cowgirl

    Coda Cowgirl Well-known Member

    sounds to me like you know the right thing to do...don't feel bad...putting a horse in pain to sleep is far better than keeping a horse in pain or worse yet passing on an unsound horse. I copped some flak for putting my ottb down but i knew it was the right thing to do...his hocks where screwed and his quality of life would only get worse.
  3. RVP Horses

    RVP Horses Well-known Member

    Zeggar, many people will give you all sorts of answer Some will play on your emotions and some will be practical but at the end of the day you have to do what is right for you.

    I have horses and love my horses dearly but sometimes we have to make hard decisions based on reality which often involve finances rather than our emotions that would say persevere because the horse doesn't deserve to die etc.

    The biggest advice that I can give you is don't feel guilty if you have him PTS for financial or practical reasons. Sometimes those decision have to be made and it is easy for people to say if you can't afford the vet bills you shouldn't have a horse but sometimes those bills can just add up to an amount we just can't support. Don't feel bad for that. That is life and as much as we love our animals we have to also live our lives. That might seem callous but I'm a vet nurse and it heart breaking to see people who can't afford the treatment having their pets put down but you learn that life isn't perfect and the last thing people need is for us to judge them for the decisions they HAVE to make. Normally they feel bad enough themselves as I'm sure you would.

    Get a good assessment from a good vet that is straight talking and doesn't try to sugar coat the inevitable with "maybe if we do this then he might be better". When you know exactly what you are dealing with, the odds of the horse getting better, improving or staying lame for life with special care always needed then you can assess your finances and your life and list the pros and cons. Sometimes you just have to approach things in a practical way and leave the emotions out of it.

    Good luck and what ever decision you make it will be the right one for you so don't look back and wonder what if.
  4. equislave

    equislave Well-known Member

    I agree with RVP, get a full assessment from your vet with an honest answer as to the horses prospects. Don't feel guilty, you are being realistic - there is no sense in pouring money and emotional energy into a horse that might never be sound anyway. Having a horse PTS is a horrible experience but believe me after it is all over and the emotion has diminished it can feel like a lot of pressure has been relieved.
  5. xyzabc

    xyzabc New Member

    I have 2 old mares - the 35yo I bought in '81 and the 29yo I bred from her in '84. I made those commitments and have seen them thru. They have been *comparatively* cheap to keep with few *unusual* vet costs, only the usual m'tce costs (feed *and vet* when needed, teeth etc). However they are now on special diets as their teeth fail. This is getting exxy now and I am only working part time with husband also semi-retired. I also have my new gelding.

    I feel for you and your situation. I have had the luxury of keeping my 2 girls BUT while I have been lucky it hasn't been cheap. And it will not get any cheaper now. I have been a Uni student too and know what that is like.

    From my perspective there would be several options I would be weighing up - PTS, nurse and hope he gets better so you can use him, nurse him for the rest of his life. How long might the rest of his life be? And how long might be reasonable to find out if he'll recover enough to be useable?

    Options I personally would NOT consider - give him away and hope he finds a 'good home' (really?), sell him on to someone else and hope they have more $$ and at least equal willingness as you to spend it on him (hmm?), and dog him.

    I personally would rather know he was PTS on his home ground than let him go to someone else who couldn't/wouldn't spend $$ nursing him or even just giving him basic care. Weigh up your options carefully (you're asking the questions so you are a thoughtful person) and when you have decided, deal with any emotions, but be guided by reality.

    Best wishes.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  6. Zegger

    Zegger Well-known Member

    Money is a small factor but all the money in the world wouldn't make him better.

    As he is going to require extensive hoof treatment, which stresses him enough already and I don't want to him to go through constant abscesses.

    Then a strict diet with many restrictions and if a person was to slip up , it could mean a lot of pain to him . He doesn't eat much hay as it is and he is not a good doer . The chances of him eating soaked hay , is low .

    His tendon is also ouchy for him and that was from him just running around in the paddock .

    He can't even be put out on pasture as his diet and feed need daily management .

    If I had it my way , I would keep him and just pay for all his treatment . But I feel this would be selfish as he would still have a very high risk of daily pain .
  7. xyzabc

    xyzabc New Member

    No hoof, no horse. Lots of other things can go wrong and nursing them is possible. Not with hoofs.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  8. kp

    kp Well-known Member

    He needs to have hoof x-rays. This will tell you if he has laminitis or not. It will tell you just how extensive the seedy toe is and could tell you a bit more about the infection.

    What vet treatment is he currently on?

    Seedy toe can and does make them very lame. It can also get infected if not resected and kept dry. He could very well have separation of the laminae. All this needs to be diagnosed by x-rays.
  9. GoGo

    GoGo Well-known Member

    Gosh, you are no different to any of us, no stone un-turned if the slightest hope of complete recovery can be on the horizon, but the positive side of illness or injury in animals is the very option we have in ending the suffering. Quality of life is the real question and when the road gets too hard, its the time to TRY to leave emotions out of it and evaluate honestly. I know I kept my girl longer than I should have, even though I knew she'd had enough, I had made the decision, just couldn't make the call. I was well aware of her constant discomfort and to my disgrace, I prolonged it. I truly believe that the last look she gave me was one of gratitude.
  10. Indigo King

    Indigo King New Member

    Do what you feel is right... We had a horse that continuously has hoof problems, couldn't handle the pressure of being put under saddle, and old injury and also raced until a decent age. He was 17 and instead of giving him away to someone where he may have been mistreated and not looked after or keeping him here in pain we decided to put him sleep, we felt it was the most logical thing to do for him, he didnt have to live in pain with his injuries and bad feet, we didnt have to worry about him being mistreated somewhere else.

    Dont feel like a horrible person for it, these things happen sometimes sooner than they should and your not the first person who has had to think about doing this.

    Chin up, be strong, do what you feel is best for the situation you are in and what you feel right and that is the best decision you can make. Just be glad you had 4 months with your amazing boy.
  11. kt200

    kt200 New Member

    what a nightmare for you - you need to do what you need to do, nobody else is in your shoes so in the end its your call. Has the horse also been seen by a really good farrier/trimmer? They can offer a different perspective sometimes.
  12. Zegger

    Zegger Well-known Member

    Thank you for all the advice guys .

    I ended up having this horse PTS as things just snow balled and at the end of the day , it was kinder to put him down . :(
  13. nag

    nag Well-known Member

    sorry to hear zegger

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