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Discussion on Difficult Decision with Lame Mare

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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 133
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2005 - 10:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

We purchased a 15yo app mare about 3 years ago with a severely damaged right knee. Supposedly a fall on the ice which was never treated. We actually bought her to keep her from going to "slaughter". Since we have owned her, knee has gotten steadily worse and the right leg seems to be growing in from the knee down. Also, her good leg now seems to be developing laminitis as a result of stress from favoring the bad leg. It appears that the muscles at shoulders and hips are beginning to atrophy as well. I guess I am just looking for help with a difficult decision. She has so much trouble getting around and I know nothing much can be done for her injuries .... Is euthanasia the best thing for this mare? I have been using bute for pain, but I'm sure relief is minimal. I am just wondering that if in trying to be humane, I am at the point that I am actually being inhumane. Any input will be appreciated.
Thanks
DT
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Shirley A. Johnson
Member
Username: Shirl

Post Number: 246
Registered: 2-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2005 - 12:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis, I'm so sorry to hear your trying to save this mare has resulted in this. Why oh why do these things happen. You might wrap her 'good' leg to help support it. I've used standing wrap, keep it on, take off for an hour or so night and morning. How does she act. If's she's 'done' her attitude and eyes should tell you. When my mare was ready, she laid down, something she'd never done around people, and her eyes told me she needed to be set free. Prayers are with you. Shirl
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Angie Judson
Member
Username: Ajudson1

Post Number: 253
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2005 - 2:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis,

I know what you are going through. We dealt with something similiar with our Arab mare Fancy. If you search for the posts "bowed Knee", you'll read about our mare. She steadily got worse over a 3 yr period. She was the sweetest, gentlest horse I have ever been blessed with knowing. She taught my husband and 3 of our kids to ride. And she was the best trail horse ever. Even later when she was limping she still was a willing partner. I had always said that she would always be here until she died from old age. But after seeing her take falls last winter and being driven to her knees by the younger horses, I knew her time had come to be sent over the Rainbow Bridge. I could see the pain in her eyes, and she was losing weight from the stress.

We did joint supplements, and bute also. But eventually she started breaking down behind also. She wasn't having a good life any more and it was time. She was almost 20 this spring when we laid her to rest. She is buried where her colt is and one of our farm dogs. My 11 yr old daughter made a beautiful cross and keeps flowers on it.

We brushed her, trimmed her bridle path and put her tack on and took pictures the day we said our good-byes. As hard as it was, it was the right decision, and you will make this difficult decision also when you are ready. If you loved this horse enough to save her, you love her enough to ease her suffering.

Peace be with you.
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Brandi Reinert
Member
Username: Brandi

Post Number: 55
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2005 - 2:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Shirley is right, Dennis, her eyes will tell you. You have done right by her all along, saving her and helping her, you won't fail her when the time is right, you'll know. You'll know yet you'll be uncertain at the same time, but she will let you know it's okay. Thank you for loving and caring for her, and when you have to, for loving her enough to let her go.
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 134
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 10, 2005 - 3:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you all for comments. I think I know what is necessary and was looking for moral support. She has been a good babysitter for our weanlings the past couple of years.
DT
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Little King Ranch
Member
Username: Eoeo

Post Number: 195
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Thursday, Aug 11, 2005 - 1:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis, I can relate. We just put CCS Buzznkate down this past fall. She still had that light in her eye but her knee was bowing out so bad we thought she might snap it off. It was quick and peaceful and I know it was right. The pain was there constantly but she was tough. She was 20. Her 26 year old mother kept her out of harms way until the end. Now Daniky is with another old girl that she can boss around and is doing fine. God bless you and your mare. EO
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 13505
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Aug 11, 2005 - 9:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis you describe either ruptured lateral collateral ligaments or the bones on the medial aspect degenerating severely. Now that the knee has developed a varus deformity it will speed up the degenerative process. I managed one stallion with such a injury for several years where we maintained a splint on the bad leg, had to sedated and sling the horse up to trim the feet, collected him on the ground and other heroic efforts to maintain the horse until the leg became so bad he could no longer stand. I always thought it was a mistake and very hard on the horse toward the end.
DrO
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Aileen
Member
Username: Sunny66

Post Number: 934
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Aug 11, 2005 - 12:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm sorry you're going through this Dennis, I have no words of wisdom...just (((hugs))).
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KATHLEEN WHEAT
Member
Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 121
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Thursday, Aug 11, 2005 - 3:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis,
We had a "babysitter" mare. She lived with the broodmares and when foals were weaned, she stayed with them. She loved her job. We waited too long to make 'the decision' and found her lying down one morning, couldn't get up. She had fractured her hind leg about half way up from the hock. The way it was explained to me was that her lengthy bout with Cushings had weakened her muscles and set her up for this to happen. She was stoic and never showed any discomfort. She was buried next to her best buddy and still watches over the new babies every year. I feel that you will make the right decision for your mare.
Kathleen
Kathleen
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Shari Robertson
Member
Username: Srobert

Post Number: 70
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, Aug 12, 2005 - 7:48 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis: This is the hardest part of having horses. I have had to make this difficult decision a number of times, but was always at peace afterward knowing that it was the right one. Amazingly, EVERY SINGLE TIME we have had to euthanize one of our equine family members, we spot a rainbow. THey seem to just come out of nowhere. Makes the rainbow bridge seem very real and very close. You can almost feel them telling you they are happy and waiting for you to join them there.

All our thoughts and prayers and hugs are with you.
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D.
Member
Username: Dyduroc

Post Number: 173
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Friday, Aug 12, 2005 - 9:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis, you're in my thoughts and prayers. All my best to you during this difficult time.

D.
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Gwen Robison
Member
Username: Gwen

Post Number: 78
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Friday, Aug 12, 2005 - 8:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis, My heart is breaking for you and your horse. It is one thing to have a gravely ill horse, and another to have one whose legs aren't working! I am sure that you are making a lot of us give our horses extra hugs and kisses tonight. Thank you for saving her from a horrible end of slaughter and giving her some great years with you. -Gwen
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Helen Weedon
Member
Username: Cara2

Post Number: 129
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 17, 2005 - 9:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Dennis,

I know EXACTLY what you are feeling right now, as I'm in much the same position with my mare. She has arthritis in one knee certainly and doesn't lie down now, although she still enjoyes a roll now and again. My problem though is financial as she also has epilepsy and is now on such a huge dose of anticonvulsants that the monthly bill for that alone is going to be nearly GBP200, then I have to add on her other anticonvulsant AND the antiinflammatories. Right now I'm looking at calling it a day in around 4 weeks. I'm heartbroken as I feel she does still have a quality of life, and although she isn't always sound, she gets about pretty well and looks very healthy. I don't want to keep her going just for my benefit, but to me, destroying a life for monetary reasons is immoral, especially as the high cost is simply due to European laws - if I could still have the drugs from the human pharmacy, they would cost a fraction of the price. I know in my heart that I have done everything possible for her, and she has enjoyed a longer life than she should by rights have had - she is 22, but when I see her grooming her 40 year old pony buddy my heart just breaks.
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Lilo
Member
Username: Lilo

Post Number: 184
Registered: 4-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 17, 2005 - 11:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My sympathy to all of you who face this difficult decision.
Lilo
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