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Discussion on How long can an old horse be down?

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Pamela Towne
Member
Username: ptowne

Post Number: 6
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 9:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

There is a very old horse at the barn where my daughter boards. He cannot get up on his own. Lately he has been falling/going down and staying down for hours. He has been down more than once for as long as 16 hours before he was able to get up with help. I've always been told that horses cannot be down for this long. I think my vets have said that if a horse is down for more than a couple of hours they need to be called. I've googled and looked here but I can't find any guidelines on how long a horse can stay down before it starts to impact his health. What are the guidelines? What happens when a horse is down too long? This poor old guy is right out on his side; he can't even lay up on his front legs with one hind leg out because his hind legs are so stiff with arthritis. Also keep in mind that it is winter and can be very cold even in the stall.
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Natalya Misquez
Member
Username: natalya

Post Number: 7
Registered: 11-2011
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 10:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Poor thing!!!! I have to pout down my 26 year old mare last year for the same reason. First she have hard time to get in a trailer, than she stopped rolling in a dirt(she loved to do that) than every morning I have to help her to get up for breakfast ( she couldn’t on her own anymore) it was going on and on for the summer, my trainer told me it’s time to let her go. I couldn’t do it, she still happy eating walking enjoying a sun. When fall started she stopped Laing down all together. And one day I came in a morning to feed her she was down and trying to get up looks like for a while. I try to help her like always, but this time it didn't work, she was out of strands. I just let her be hopping for the best. I left to work and asked kids to check on her in an hour (if she is up) She wasn't, I called the vet to put her down that day. I rushed home. It was worse thing I could do to this old horse. Keeping her alive for that long and let her suffer. She was down for about 6 hrs, and start colic king while we are waiting for the vet. I was as miserable with her as she was to watch her agony not able to help. That was ugly that she died suffering not as a happy old horse that wake up one morning and by the evening go to the other side where pasterns are greener and waters are cooler. That is a story of my mistake which I will never forget and forgive myself for doing this to my best horse ever. Because I didn’t want to apart from her.
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Linda Lashley
Member
Username: lhenning

Post Number: 733
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 12:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I can't imagine an old one could be down for long in the cold. I don't know the answer to your question, but we had an old mare at our boarding barn that began doing the same thing. People would get her up but it was very, very difficult. The owner could not let her go. A week later she was euthanized when they could not get her up at all.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 6525
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 3:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Who owns this horse? He needs help and whoever owns him needs to step up or the barn owner needs to step in NOW.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 26138
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 5:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Pamela,
There is no particular time that a horse can lay down it is a matter of why the horse is laying down that is key. This horse sounds like he is in serious pain and action to help him should be done a quickly as possible.
DrO
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Andrea Duncan
Member
Username: babychop

Post Number: 200
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 9:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Poor old man, I remember when my old stallion got to this stage, he was a big boy (17+h) and when he got to be 29 the owners at the time had to make the heartbreaking decision to put him down when he could no longer get up on his own. It just wasn't fair to him. I think they know when it's their time, for our old man - he finally let us fawn all over his face and he never let anyone do that. If you can contact the owner and urge them to call a vet it would be a kindness to that horse.
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Pamela Towne
Member
Username: ptowne

Post Number: 7
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 9:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Unfortunately nothing is going to be done. The owner will not have him put to sleep and the BO will not intervene, period. There are a few of us who have spoken up about the situation. We have been told on no uncertain terms to mind our own business. To make it worse, the vet, a well respected local vet with a full service hospital to support, is more than happy to keep this going. The horse is over 30 and has not been able to get up on his own for a couple of years. The vet is treating him with hock injections and Adequan. Honestly, I believe that it is unethical to continue to treat this horse knowing full well that he has not and isn't going to respond. His poor old joints are just totally worn out. I suppose at some point he will go down and never get up even with a lot of help. It is the classic case of the "loving" owner who just can't bring themselves to euthanize an old animal who is suffering. It happens all the time.
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Andrea Duncan
Member
Username: babychop

Post Number: 201
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 10:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh no! I get ya. Well bless your heart for trying. Other than calling ASPCA I doubt there is anything else you could do. I have a friend who is an animal NUT that kept her dog alive with a tumor on it's leg the size of a watermelon (no exaggeration), the old fashioned seedy ones, not the smaller seedless ones, seriously. She swore the dog wasn't in pain but as much as I tried to explain to her that just because she couldn't feel the dog's pain didn't mean the dog wasn't in pain (animals show symptoms differently than humans do) but that poor dog suffered until it died of natural causes.
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Brandi
Member
Username: brandi

Post Number: 153
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2012 - 11:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Heartbreaking.
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Fran C
Member
Username: canter

Post Number: 2670
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 - 11:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

A very sad situation. I hope the owner gets a clue and kindly lets this horse cease suffering.
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Guy Ramsey
Member
Username: gramsey1

Post Number: 209
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 - 11:18 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

A couple of years ago an old horse, Semmi, went three leg lame. The problem seemed to be high in is front leg or shoulder. It got worse over a period of days. One day a boarder discovered him in his stall down. He couldn't get up. I went in and sat with him, wiped the flies out of his nose, mouth and eyes. He seemed to have given up.
The barn manager and I helped him to is feet. We coaxed him into the pasture with our field boarded horse, Blue. We didn't want him to die in the stall. We contacted Semmi's owner.
She couldn't bring herself to put him down.



Occasionally, Semmi would get up, always with one paralyzed leg. Blue stood guard over him when ever he was down. Reluctantly, leaving when we came to the see him.
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Guy Ramsey
Member
Username: gramsey1

Post Number: 210
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 - 11:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Weeks turned in to months and summer passed into early fall. All the boarders knew what needed to be done. Then, one day he started to use that leg, a little, then a little more.



Semmi eventually recovered full use of the shoulder.
I later decided that it must have been Shoulder Sweeney. http://www.horseadvice.com/horse/messages/4/8075.html
Nobody even considered the possibility that he would recover. But, he did.
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Vicki Z
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 2559
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Saturday, Jan 21, 2012 - 5:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

What a great story.

Maybe sometimes owners do know whether their animal friend is ready to give up or not.

It is not too uncommon for people to wait too long to do the kindest thing, but those who know the animal the best are the ones who must make that judgment.
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Pamela Towne
Member
Username: ptowne

Post Number: 9
Registered: 3-2011
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 - 3:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yesterday, January 23, 2012, Cisco was released from his old body that simply could not support him any longer. I am relieved that he is not suffering anymore. At the end he had been down for over 24 hours before a vet was called. Efforts to get him up failed and he was humanely euthanized in his stall. It breaks my heart to think of him, a prey animal, lying there, unable to get up for over 24 hours. Cisco was a very, very good horse. He did everything asked of him and he did it well. In the end he worked in a therapeutic riding program until he wasn't up to the work any longer. He was a grand old man. His girlfriend, Fancy, went on ahead last spring. I'll bet she's beside herself at seeing him again. May they run free and wild in lush fields with cool running brooks and beautiful old shade trees to rest under. He deserves the best.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 6528
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 - 4:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pam, a relief! God bless horses like Cisco. What wonderful animals they are. He is in good company now and pain free enjoying a well deserved rest.
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LiloB
Member
Username: lilo

Post Number: 1816
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 - 4:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, that is a relief. RIP, Cisco.
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Vicki Z
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 2563
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 - 8:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Rest in peace, Cisco.
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PattyB
Member
Username: pattyb

Post Number: 325
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 - 9:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"His girlfriend, Fancy, went on ahead last spring. I'll bet she's beside herself at seeing him again. May they run free and wild in lush fields with cool running brooks and beautiful old shade trees to rest under. He deserves the best."

Pamela...I have absolutely no doubt what-so-ever that he is there with her.
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Andrea Duncan
Member
Username: babychop

Post Number: 202
Registered: 5-2008
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 - 9:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pamela, that made me cry, thanks so much for letting us know. Beautifully said.
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Susan M. Herrick
Member
Username: quatro

Post Number: 1083
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 - 9:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Reminded me so much of my Dusty,it is a relief to not have to worry about seeing him suffer, and know that his soul is soaring. thanks for sharing
suz
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Lee
Member
Username: paul303

Post Number: 1566
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012 - 1:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you very much, Pam. It's good to know the outcome.
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