Euthanasia is a very emotional subject area to consider. The decision to euthanase an animal is never easy but is often one that will alleviate any suffering of that animal. Our aim is to make the process humane and painless for the horse and as easy and stress free as possible for you as an owner.

Where possible, it is advisable to discuss the process with your vet and clear any worries or queries you may have before the event. This will avoid rushed decisions under difficult circumstances.

How is it carried out?

1. Lethal Injection

This is the most common method performed in our practice. The horse is often sedated first. A large overdose of an anaesthetic- type agent is injected into the horse’s jugular vein. The horse will lose consciousness shortly after the injection with death occurring moments afterwards.

2. Shooting

This method of euthanasia results in instantaneous death of the horse. The horse is commonly sedated first. The horse will fall instantly and blood may be seen from the head wound and nose. Many people find shooting more distressing to witness, but this is a very humane method of euthanasia. Unfortunately, we as a practice no longer carry out euthanasia by this method, however we can help to arrange this for you via a third party.

Should I be present?

This is a very difficult decision to face. People have different viewpoints on this matter. Euthanasia is very upsetting. If you feel that you can remain calm and relaxed throughout, then your presence is likely to be reassuring for your horse. However, animals are remarkably perceptive and may sense if you are distressed and become worried themselves. In this situation, it may be better to ask a friend to be present for you. We often require you or someone on your behalf to sign a consent form. Please make us aware in advance who is going to be present and whether you are happy for them to sign a consent form.

Cremation: We can arrange for collection and cremation of your pet horse by David Funnell. The horse may be cremated with other animals and the ashes disposed of at the crematorium. Alternatively, your horse may be cremated individually and the ashes returned in a large beech casket.

Burial: If you choose to bury your pet horse, it is important to verify that this is permitted by the Trading Standards Office. The EU regulations do NOT permit the burial of horses as they consider the horse to be a food producing animal. However, DEFRA does allow burial at the discretion of the local authority. Each case will be considered on an individual basis.