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Euthanasia

Let's  deal  with  this  ugly  side  of  life  for  our   animals'  sakes -

this is not easy but it is  necessary

Our greatest fear, with our beloved animals, is to deal with the decision of how do we do the very best for them when their final hour is drawing near.  Because it is something that is easy not to address well before  the time, I decided it was something that most people probably need some guidance with and so I have "taken the bit between my teeth" to try and offer some solace with this harsh reality and how you really can relatively painlessly do the very best for your lovely friend - because it is about that.  Our emotions just muddy the waters and its hard to think clearly when it's time. 

And the dogger and knackery are out of this scenario for very good reasons - it is cruel and stressful for your animal to be put in the hands of someone who is strange, possibly rough and uncaring and they have  that all too certain knowledge that something bad is about to happen.  Put yourself in your animal's place and just image yourself with everything changing for you and you don't need it, you may be ill and in pain and you have to deal with strangers, a ride to only God knows where and that feeling of doom and you can't escape it.  That is no reward for all the years of joy, loyalty and just being there that animals experience for our sakes or any animal for that matter -  there is no reason why any animal qualifies for cruel treatment no matter what.

There is a lot to deal with - the vet, the grave, the good-byes and the cost.  Who will do what !  It is definitely better that your animal has the very best day and it will be better for you too, that you did what a compassionate, loving owner would do - remove the misery and do the very best for this most sensitive of animals.    How ?  Plainly - with a sedative that will cause your horse to lie down ONLY and when all is relaxed then you have your vet (or someone qualified with a licence) despatch your animal with a SINGLE bullet to the brain AT ARMS LENGTH.  The shooter isn't necessarily going to be the vet as some don't know how to handle a gun or humane destroyer let alone have a licence for one. ( You may even be able to find someone through your local Police Department, Council or Firearms / Rifle / Pistol Club or even an expert marksman farmer.)  This being said though, a lot more vets could come on board with this method and do something without chemicals for a change.  Many horses that are put down with injections, unless already dying, will fight the drug and it can go on unmercifully for ages - it is disgusting to watch an animal fighting for its life, it is extremely distressing for the owner and any other parties too and should never be part of your program in allowing it to happen.  So planning is the key  and you need to be in control !

So what do we need ?

  • Investigation of facilities and services long before the time so you can bring this all together;

  • Time, planning, patience and a no-stress attitude on the day - you may need extra support for this;

  • A regular schedule to spend time with your animal, feeding and giving quality attention as per usual;

  • A comfortable place where your horse (cow, alpaca etc.) feels relaxed and secure - some agistment properties or farms may be ideal if that is where your animal is living.  If you need to find a suitable place then ensure that your animal can be taken there say 4 or 5 days prior so you can maintain what is a normal routine and no stress with surroundings;

  • A qualified vet preferably with skills to expertly use an injectable sedative ( and also possibly a gun / rifle (a .22 is okay for this) / humane destroyer - these are for a close range application - long distance shooting is out;

  • A person (farmer / plant hire person) with access to a tractor or bobcat etc to dig a grave AFTER your animal has been euthanased -  you'll need to elect a burial site prior to the day too;  you can also have the grave dug beforehand if you are going to be transferring your animal there after this has been done, so that it is part of the normal adjustment process in moving an animal from one site to another.

  • A tube of Sedazine paste (you'll only use a little of this and need to work out the amount you'll use based on your animal's weight) as a relaxant 1/2 an hour prior to a sedative to help him/her lie down

  • NO CROWDS,OTHER CURIOUS BYSTANDERS OR STRANGE DOGS who can set up stress signals to your animal - VERY IMPORTANT

  • Do not expect your animal to stand in a grave for you to simplify your relocation of the body - this in itself is extremely stressful.  It can also cause accidents which you really do not need to have to cope with or inflict on your animal

Here is the timeline:-

1.       Arrive an hour or so earlier than usual to give your horse its favourite tucker and stay - you can groom or do  other nurturing things that your animal enjoys - remove rug etc;  If you have a friend or family for support it will help for anything you feel you can't do without being upset which is definitely not good for your animal.  If you can't handle any of this at all then someone trustworthy for your animal's welfare who also is strong can be a blessing here.

2.        Let your animal have a drink after finishing its food;  If you can establish this routine a couple of days beforehand.

3.        Squeeze the Sedazine (previously assessed for amount) on your finger and insert onto the tongue - do not   tie your horse up as it may become unsteady and a cause a problem.  It will take about 20 minutes or a bit longer for the sedative to start taking effect - it varies from animal to animal.

4.         Finish your grooming etc.    You need to have pre-arranged for your vet and marksman to be arriving right about now.     You can rehearse this stuff a couple of days beforehand and write down the time frame to help you because if you're nervous on the day your memory can fail you.

5.        Your vet arrives and you take him / her to befriend your horse for a few minutes before administering the sedative injection as painlessly as possible - discuss options prior to the time when enquiring re skills and procedures to be applied.  A really experienced and caring vet is essential here.  The vet needs to mark the spot with between the ears and eyes with either paper tape or a black felt tip pen indicating an area for the brain shot if he is not the marksman.

6.       Only when your animal is lying down and preferably prone should the marksman then be allowed to approach your animal.  This again needs to be a slow and sensitive approach and you (or your support person who can also be your vet if you're very comfortable with this) should accompany the person to the horse where  he lays.

7.         The marksman can then place his gun on the marked spot  on the head or a very short distance from it to ensure accuracy and fire.  It is then all over and the vet will check your animal to ensure that this is so.

8.         Your plant operator can now dig the burial site and you do not need to stay around for the relocation process unless you want to to ensure proper location etc.  Your support person can do all the necessary arranging providing they have been briefed beforehand on how it should be done.  Don't expect your vet to stay for this part as he / she is a busy person and probably has other calls.

9.        Remember that this was your final act of kindness for the animal you loved.  It was dignified and painless.

10.      You are brave to consider your animal first - compassion is what makes us human.  Your bonus is that you will not be wondering whatever happened to your animal in the end and that you did your very best, with love and kindness to the last.   Good for you and  love yourself !

If there are any specific questions which you need answered to help you through this process, please feel free to email us to help you out.  

If you have anything to contribute which will help others to deal with their loss and grief, then please let us know so that we can include it on this page.   We can help each other through these hard times.

Bet  KAY

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