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End of Life Planning Large Animals

Unlike our smaller pets, due to their size, the passing of a horse creates more serious logistical challenges, worthy of consideration before an emergency strikes. Certainly none of us like to dwell on that thought, but planning ahead will give you the opportunity to discuss how you would like to celebrate the life of your equine companion.  We’re privileged in many cases to know our horses for many years, and while we can’t always plan for the unexpected, having a plan in place for your senior horse will relieve much of the stress of ensuring what you do honors the life of your horse in the way that makes sense for you. Your personal feelings or beliefs will influence this deeply personal decision and we're here to support you and your family, whatever decisions you make.

Legislation has changed statewide affecting the options we have after a horse has passed on. Rendering and stock removal companies will no longer pick up horses that have been euthanized chemically. Horses that pass away naturally, or are euthanized by gunshot, can still be picked up by a renderer on an appointment basis during business hours. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does consider a well-placed bullet in the hands of someone trained to use a firearm a humane method of euthanasia.

Our clinic offers chemical euthanasia, an overdose of barbiturates, after sedation and anesthetic drugs are administered. This process facilitates a peaceful passing; a horse owner can be present throughout the entire process.

Options for chemically euthanized horses include:

Burial – For horse owners that are fortunate enough to own property and equipment, this can be a good option. Please check the laws governing burial in your municipality. Excavation companies may be willing to assist with this process on an appointment basis during business hours. Keep in mind that harsh Wisconsin winters may limit digging ability, you may choose to pre-dig holes for unfortunate winter deaths.

Cremation – Midwest Cremation Service will pick up a horse’s body for cremation. They offer private cremation with ashes returned or group cremation without ashes returned. The cost for this service varies from $1200-$1800, including pickup, depending on distance. More information can be found on their website or by calling 608-635-7270.

Whether scheduled or unexpected, the doctors and staff at Fredonia Veterinary Clinic will do our best to keep you informed of your options and make these transitions as easy as possible. The passing of a beloved horse is difficult enough; thinking about your options ahead of time can ease the burden. It is our sincere hope that more options will be available to horse owners in the future.

To discuss these options or for recommendations regarding Cremation services, Renderering, or Excavation services, please call us at 262-692-2439.


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