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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19613
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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is it kinder to have a horse,14 years old, put down when it

Resolved Question:

is it kinder to have a horse,14 years old, put down when it is suffering with copd. it has ha d vets. treatment but to very minimal effect and needs monthly treatment which my granddaughter cannot afford,
thank you, XXXXX XXXXX
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Good afternoon Bob,

I am very sorry to hear about Fred's condition and your granddaughter's situation. In regards XXXXX XXXXX would be kindest for Fred will depend on Fred's state when he is not on any treatment. If he can putter around comfortably, graze, eat, drink, and enjoy basic horse life, then one could consider letting him do so even without treatment. But if he is miserable, struggling to breathe, and unable to do those things that make horse life worth living, then euthanasia would be the kindest option.

Now even though medical management has not helped and is not an option under the circumstances, I would just note that most cases of COPD are due to an airway hypersensitivity (an over-reaction) to airborne allergens or irritants. Therefore, if she hasn't already, she may want to consider trying to lessen the environmental strain on Fred. Generally speaking, this means reducing dust in the stable via feeding good quality haylage or soaking his hay before bringing it into the airspace he lives in. Furthermore, she will want to use bedding that is as dust free as possible (ie rubber matting being a good choice). The reason these are important aspect to management in a COPD horse is because if we can reduce what is irritating his airway, we may be able to keep him comfortable enough even without treatment.

Overall, the decision to euthanize Fred must be based on his current state without treatment. If he is able to enjoy life despite his COPD, then retiring him to a field and quiet life may be all he needs. But if he is actively struggling even in a minimal dust environment, then letting him go would be the kindest option.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 19613
Experience: General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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