The kindest thing you can do is prevent needless suffering this winter

With bitter weather approaching, the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) encourages owners of senior horses to evaluate whether their animal can endure an Alberta winter. Older horses struggle to create body warmth in the extreme cold, and many will suffer despite their owner’s best efforts.

“The kindest thing you can do for an aging animal is to prevent needless suffering,” said Alberta SPCA Peace Officer Stuart Dodds. “And one consideration needs to be humane euthanasia.”

Alberta SPCA Peace Officers often receive complaints of horses potentially in distress throughout the winter where an aging horse can’t cope with the weather. The Alberta SPCA urges owners of senior horses to evaluate their animals now, and to Have The Courage to make a compassionate decision regarding their horse if there’s any doubt about their ability to cope with winter.

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Emotional Decision for Owners

Horse owner Lynsay has faced this heartbreaking dilemma. She has already euthanized her long time horse, Gooseberry, and will say goodbye to another horse, Aspen, knowing the animal will struggle this winter.

“That truly is the best thing we can give as humans back to them is let them leave Earth with grace and dignity,” said Lynsay.

If there’s any question about a horse’s ability to endure winter weather, the Alberta SPCA encourages owners to talk to their veterinarian about whether it is the right time to consider euthanasia. Horse owners may also want to inquire with trusted friends about the animal’s health and/or use a quality of life assessment tool to determine whether an animal is suffering.

Quality of Life Assessment Scale for Horses

Photo: iStock/Oleg Elkov

Category: 
Regional
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