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Euthanasia in emergency

(also see article on Euthanasia under Procedures)

Euthanasia in an emergency situation necessitates the destruction of the horse immediately for the welfare of the animal concerned. Some situations where this may arise include:

  • Fractured leg (e.g. complete fracture of a long bone)
  • Road traffic accident
  • Uncontrollable pain e.g. colic non responsive to pain relief
  • Racecourse/Event Injury

The decision to advise an owner to destroy a horse on humane grounds must be the responsibility of the attending veterinary surgeon, based on his or her assessment of the clinical signs at the time of examination, regardless of whether or not the horse is insured. The veterinary surgeon’s primary responsibility is to ensure the welfare of the horse.

At our practice we only offer euthanasia by injection. The option of having the animal shot may be preferable in certain situations for example severe blood loss or where circulating adrenaline is extremely high. In those situations our practice can advise on a trained person to attend and shoot the animal as soon as possible.

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