Signs Your Horse March Be Dying and What You Can Do To Help

Jessica McDaniel
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Signs a Horse is Dying: Reasons They May be Dying

While it’s impossible to tell exactly what’s going on inside a horse’s body and mind, there are some physical signs that a horse is dying or is in serious physical distress.

—Total lack of movement: Horses are social creatures and are generally active. If they are unable to move, this could be a sign that they are in pain or that something is physically wrong with them. When a horse is in a lot of pain, they often hide in a secluded place to protect themselves from the pain. When you notice your horse’s lack of movement, check for leg injuries or other painful ailments. If the pain is caused by something else, they will be able to move easily once the pain has subsided.

—Suffering an injury: Horse injuries resulting from falls or getting tangled in a fence are common and may not result in injuries that cause death. Apparent serious injuries may not be fatal when they are seen by a vet, but may have caused death if it wasn’t already clinically apparent. The horse may not have had the survival instincts or strength to call out for help if it was badly injured and may have died without seeking help or medical attention.

Signs a Horse May be Dying

If you suspect your horse is dying, then you need to act quickly. Death is a natural occurrence in nature, but it doesn’t mean you have to sit back and let it happen. While there is no magical cure for death, there are things you can do to prolong the horse’s life as long as possible.

It’s extremely important that you do not let the horse suffer. If you feel you can’t use any of the listed remedies, then it’s best to call a vet to humanely put the horse out of its misery.

Don’t Delay!

The chances for your horse to survive increase every passing second. You should not hesitate to take the horse to a vet immediately to reduce suffering and to increase the chances of survival.

Quick Action Often Means Life or Death

“If you suspect a horse is not feeling well, then you should definitely take it to the vet for a check-up,” said Sarah Nelson, equine veterinarian at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. “Time is of the essence when trying to save an ailing horse.”

What You Can Do if There are Signs a Horse is Dying

Many of us have comforted a horse that is literally on its “deathbed,” only to see that horse pull through and survive with our caring and professional veterinary treatment. I have been involved with thousands of equine patients in my career and I’ve seen many horses make miraculous recoveries for reasons that we can’t necessarily explain. They just somehow will themselves to make it through.

The information that follows can help you to quickly diagnose and closely monitor your horse’s condition until your veterinarian arrives.

Vet Consultation

When you suspect your horse may be suffering through a terminal illness or is near death, the advice of a veterinarian is important to consider. A veterinarian's expertise can help you assess the situation, can help keep your animal comfortable during his/her final hours, and help you decide the best course of action to pursue. While you naturally want to prolong the life of your animal, your horse may not be suffering or dying and an expensive practitioner's visit may not be the best course of action.

Here is a list of signs that may indicate your horse is not well or is at the very least uncomfortable. However, there is always a chance your horse may be experiencing something benign or temporary, so with any of these symptoms, it's always a good idea to call your veterinarian.

Signs a Horse is Dying: Horse Hospice

Or Bio-Pac?

Whether your horse is terminally ill or approaching the end of their life, it can be the most difficult and emotional time for anyone who deeply cares for their animal companion.

While it might be a disease, injury or infection that is causing a horse to go through this process, each death is different. In addition, every horse owner will handle it differently. However, there are a few times you should be aware of because they could be the signs that your horse's body has started to shut down.


Just like people, old horses die. They die from old age or some disease. Some old horses are just not nice to have around. Sometimes older horses get a disease with symptoms of pain and suffering.

If the horse is not responding to treatment, euthanasia is a humane thing for us to do.

The word euthanasia means a "good death." Many times euthanasia is what the kindest thing to do is. Sometimes we are not sure how to solve the problem and the horse is in chronic daily pain.

We may not be sure if the horse will be better in a week or a month, and we are unsure of the prognosis or the future quality of life. Deciding when euthanasia is necessary requires careful thought.


Sometimes we just do not have a clue as to why our beloved horse, a beautiful 30 year old Quarter Horse, is dying. Her vet will not arrive until tomorrow and although we are all in shock that our healthy mare has come down with an acute illness and suddenly died, at the moment, we are grateful that we at least have another day with her.

Her vet arrives in the morning and now we have hope that we will be able to prevent this from happening to other horses. But we also know that there is always the risk of losing another horse. It is a horrible disease.

It is mid-afternoon when another dreadful realization comes to the forefront of our minds – we are going to have to bury our mare. Having never buried a horse before, we are all feeling a bit overwhelmed and worried about the process. This is a need we did not expect to have today.

This book would be a great guide for you or your spouse: The Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook. It covers everything from birthing to necropsy. I have gone to it several times now to look things up. Whether you need to do things the natural way or want to use drugs, the guide has all the information you will need.

Fortunately, one of our stalls is shaded by large trees and screens our view of the busy, main drive in front of our property.

Cremation and Other Services

If you've ever had to make the difficult decision of putting a beloved horse to sleep, you'll understand the difficult process of handling that loss. Though losing a horse is tough for a lot of people to cope with, knowing what to do next may be even harder. This article will help explain the normal stages of grief and then help you look at cremation services for horses.

Because a horse is such a large animal, disposing of it can be a huge, expensive undertaking. It can create a lot of space that the owner has to find a new place for. If a burial site is chosen, it can cause a lot of damage to the area that the burial happens in. It can also be a very dangerous and painful experience for people who aren't experienced with large animals.

There's a much easier way to go about dealing with it. It's called cremation for horses. What this means is that a crematorium will come to your farm, pick up your horse and take care of the process. This can be very comforting because you'll be able to keep your horse's remains on the property in a place that's peaceful. This is why cremation is often very popular among horse owners.


The horse is a large mammal species, which is a domesticated ungulate that is used as a production animal. It is a herbivore of the Equus genus as well as the genus Equus itself. For this reason, they are often referred to as a horse or pony.

There are purebreeds including draft horses, saddle horses, and fine horses. Horses come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, while there are castrated males and females where females usually range from 450-500kg, and castrated males ranging from 600kg to 900kg.

Horses, in general, are not considered a small animal. If you are a small animal owner, you must be familiar with horse hide products. It basically means that there are ways to handle horses, but as you do not need to know how to ride them.

Also, horse products are also widely used for more practical reasons. Like leather, horsehair, and horsehide. There are horse items from blankets to belts and many more.

Usually, horsehide can be made into a halter and then the straps are made out of nylon or leather. As for horsehair, it can be used in garments or accessories. The reason horsehair is used is because it is one of the strongest natural fibers in the world.