Death of a Horse

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Death of a Horse

Post by Leila »

Day 146: Death of a Horse ... horse.html

Today we put down one of our horses, Titan.

A few days ago, he came back from the field with a big lump by his throat. Since it appeared just like that out of nowhere, we figures it may just a lymph node that is swollen and fighting off some infection, or maybe an allergy or an abscess that was forming. The lump didn’t seem to bother him until about three days ago he started making coughing sounds in his stable when eating the hay, like maybe some food got stuck in his mouth or went through the wrong hole and he was trying to cough/snort it out. Then the day before yesterday, as I was ready to leave the stables I heard him cough and wondered if maybe it wasn’t connected to the lump. I came around to see what he was doing and as he saw me come check up on me he came close, had a big cough, and splashed my boots full or green slime with small pieces of grass in it. He was having trouble eating and was just coughing and sliming up the whole place.

The next day we got a vet to come and check, and he thought that maybe the horse had “choke” which is where some food gets stuck and then the horse has a hard time eating and drinking. The slime that was coming out of his nose was actually the saliva from his mouth that he couldn’t swallow because of the obstruction, so it went out through the nose – along with anything else he ate.

He tried to tube Titan, which is where they put a tube through the nose down into his oesophagus, to see whether the tube could go past the lump/obstruction. The tube didn’t get through and just hit solid mass, which made it unlikely that it was food. We then considered cancer since he had cancer before in his eye, but since the lump appeared over the span of 8 hours, we thought that this would be unlikely. The vet then tried to draw fluid from the lump, if it was an abscess some puss should come out – but nothing came out except for a little blood when penetrating the skin.

He took a sample from the lump through a syringe and gave him so muscle relaxant in case it was food stuck, so that it maybe could start moving. We’d have more information after the lab tested the sample.

The next day, we got a call and the lab let us know that there were definitely cancer cells present, but that they would know more once they grew a culture and would phone a later. In the meantime, a horse specialist came out to look at him. He immediately did a UV scan like how they do with a pregnancy to check out the baby, but in this case to see what the lump/mass consisted of. The vet suspected cancer since it was solid and didn’t show characteristics of being an abscess, and also not a bacterial infection since touching or pushing the lump did not seem to hurt Titan.

We knew that if it was going to be cancer that we were going to have to put him down. He was already an old horse and has seen many things happening through his body, and another episode of cancer would indicate that his body is just not able to work through things properly anymore and is deteriorating, and so causing unnecessary suffering.

The vet then called the lab to see if they had more info, and this time the result was definitive: it was cancer, and it was highly aggressive – which is why it manifested into the giant size it was in only a day. It is a very rare type of cancer for horses, and due to the position and size of the tumour – there was no way that surgery would help, it would probably kill him anyway.

When we heard the news, everyone started to tear a little, because we knew now definitely: it’s time for him to go. It was obvious that this was the best way to go, I mean he hadn’t been eating, he hadn’t been drinking and was obviously suffering from the obstruction. The sooner we’d put him down, the better. So even though it was clear this was the best way to go, it was still an unfortunate point – not that I wanted him to live like this, but because we live in a world where things like cancer exist which cause much suffering – a world that we created through our acceptance and allowance.

We then had to quickly make some practical decisions, because we’d have to put him down on the farm and he has a big body, so we had to decide where we would bury him so he could die close to the spot. Once that decision was made, we walked him to the spot, the vet sedated him and once his was sleepy he gave him the final two injections that would put him down. After the two injections were in it was a matter of seconds before he fell down on the ground and was gone. It all went pretty quick. Once all the reflexes stopped in the body, he took a sample of the tumour as the people in the lab wanted to study it, since it was such a rare case. We then got a proper look at the tumour and it was real nasty – it was big and spreading down in throat, and up into his mouth and to the other side as well. We then also saw the jugular that had been feeding the tumour, which was also massive.

Everyone with a horse or other animal knows that this day comes, the day the animal dies.

I knew this within myself as well when I got Charlie, but always projected it to be waaaaaaay in the future and something I would deal with when the time comes. Believing, just like when I had my guinea pig, that his death would still be years away and that I would by that time have ‘toughened-up’ and be able to deal with it. Truth is, you don’t know when these things happen. This whole thing that happened with Titan, happened in the course of a week or less, and the same with Babitjie, the cat that was put down yesterday – it was all sudden and it was all quick.

All in all, I must say it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. A decision had to be made, it was unfortunate, but it was the best decision and anything else would have been a compromise. I was sad, because like all animals on the farm, Titan as a horse has been great support to Gian and also to myself when I have worked with him, I was grateful for him having been here and the time we shared.

He was an old stubborn horse, and he never cared much about us humans and our quirks. If he didn’t want to go somewhere, and didn’t want to move – you could scream and shout at him, and try and force him to do what you wanted, and he would just stand his ground and not move. Anytime you would go into some emotional tantrum, he would just stand there and not move, so everything you threw at him, bounced right off of him back to yourself, so you could see what you were doing. He’d gone through a lot of abuse in his life before he came to us, and even though humans had previously treated him as crap, he had accepted Gian to be his partner and walked with him every day.

It was the best thing to do to get him out of his misery, so his death in itself is not sad, since we’re all going to die at some stage, but what was sad was that this was the only solution to his suffering, as this was suffering created as a result of the world we live in, which is a world we collectively created.

Each time an animal has to be put down as the result of undue suffering – it is testimony to our legacy of fucked-up-ness.

Each time a child dies of starvation, while it could have been provided for, but we didn’t care to create and structure the world in a way to make it possible for all to live a dignified Life – it is a testimony to our fucked-up-ness.

I’ve dealt with a lot of deaths on the farm, and this is the one point that keeps on striking me, because most of the time the death was not a natural death where an animal’s life had been lived to completion – but most of the time the death was the result of consequence as a ‘negative side-effect’ of the world we’ve produced and participate in, which means it was each time an untimely death that could have been prevented.

We really need to sort out this reality, there are way more uncool things happening than there is cool stuff happening – it’s really not worth it to waste your time trying to chase the few good things in this world which give you a momentary experience of happiness while the majority suffers. This is not a cool world to live in, and we do have an alternative. We can eradicate world poverty, we can get rid of famine, we can get rid of crime, we can get rid of fear of living – where we fear living in this world simply because we KNOW that this is not a cool place and we KNOW that shit can hit us at any time from any corner.

So, instead of trying to be the ones that don’t get hit by shit in this world and living in constant fear, we can simply decide to change the conditions of this world to one that is truly Best for All, so that you can come into this world, and you can simply be and you can simply live. We’ve really screwed things up for ourselves, and we’ve screwed ourselves over believing that how we live is fine and acceptable: it is not.

If we can stop unnecessary suffering then it is our duty to do so – there should be no choice in this.

Work towards making this world one that is Best for All – learn how it is possible to change the nature of self-interest of the human to one that is Best for All Life at Desteni, and learn how we can put into place the structures and institutions that reflect a nature that is Best for All at the Equal Money System website.

We don’t have to live like this, so let’s not.

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Aftermath - Death of a Horse

Post by Leila »

Day 147 & 148: Aftermath - Death of a Horse ... horse.html

This blog is a continuation to:
Day 146: Death of a Horse

Three days ago, one of the cats Babitjie was put down, due to kidney failure.
Two days ago we put down one of our Horses Titan, due to carcinoma in his throat – resulting in him not being able to drink or eat.

After Titan’s death we had to make new arrangements for the stables, as Titan had been stabled in between Grootman and Charlie, and we didn’t want Grootman to have an empty stable next to him, with no buddy to keep him company. So we then scrubbed down the walls of Titan’s stable, as it had a lot of his saliva on it due to him not being able to swallow anymore and snorting it all over the place. We took out all his hay and cleaned up all his tools. It was very hot so this turned out to be quite a job.

In the evening we put Grootman in Titan’s old stable and he was a bit fidgety but otherwise okay. The next day Titan was buried. That afternoon, Grootman was very active in the stable. While me and Cerise were finishing up (we stayed a bit later because we exercised our horses), Grootman started neighing a bit and pawing around. He could still smell Titan in the stable but couldn’t see / find him anywhere. He then also started pawing around with his front feet and laying down. I thought he was just a bit anxious because he was missing Titan but then he kept on pawing, laying down, getting up again and laying down. Cerise then said that these are signs of colic, which indicates that the horse is having stomach pain and have some form of gastrointestinal problems. His stomach was not obviously cramping but his breathing was vey quick. Titan had previously had slight colic which we were able to work through using homeopathy, but this seemed more severe, and we had to call the vet – once again – as colic can be fatal (horses can’t puke, so if something’s stuck in their stomach they’re in trouble). He was also getting pretty gassy.

We went and took him for a walk to get his gut moving and assist the process. He was not getting better and the vet advised that while we wait for her, to get him to run as long as he was showing signs. We started off with Cerise, Fidelis, Gian and I (but Fidelis is physically weak at the moment, so he had to stay on the side), each taking turns running with him through the camp. First we’d just run with him as fast as we could the whole time. But it was hot, and we were getting tired pretty quickly. We then would walk him at a firm pace to the gate, and run him back as fast as we could, and switch people. Before I went on one of my next runs, I asked Gian to call Maite for backup, because we were already pretty exhausted. So by the time I got back from my run, all the people from the farm were there, ready to take over taking turns running with Grootman. After that, it was easier to keep him going while waiting for the vet.

The vet then eventually arrived, and gave him some meds for colic. She then went on putting her arm all the way through his bumhole, to check whether all the organs were still in place and to detect any irregularities. She took out some poo while she was at it but otherwise everything seemed normal. We then had to tube him (where a tube is put through his nose into the esophagus and into the stomach) to give him electrolytes straight into his tummy. We then had to wait a bit to see how he would respond to the treatment.

He wasn’t responding and was actually getting worse. She gave him some more meds to calm him down and to relax his muscles, to ease the pain and make it easier for things to move inside himself. He was getting pretty roused up and had to sedate him. Then we had to wait and see how he would respond. The vet left to have supper , and if things got worse we’d have to call her to come back, as we’d then have to empty his stomach in case he was suffering from a gastric impaction. I then left to post Bernard’s blog. After I was done I wanted to go check up on him, and saw that the vet’s car was back…

He wasn’t doing well and we had to get all the fluids out of his stomach. Because he was in so much pain, he was heavily sedated and couldn’t walk properly, and some people had to always stand next to him and hold his head, which we again did in turns. It was quite a story as you never know where the end of the tube is exactly in the stomach, as it would have to be right in the pocket with water and food to get it out through the tube. We did this for over an hour, maybe two until the vet assessed that since it wasn’t working, that it was probably not a gastric impaction. It then could be that one of his insides got twisted, which would reduce the blood flow in the organs which obviously would be quite problematic. She went for another anal probe, but couldn’t say what he had, as her arm could only reach so far inside him and check only so many organs. We then only had two options left, either we send him in for surgery to find out for sure what was going on inside – or we keep him doped up and hopefully he would work through whatever it was by himself.

Surgery for horses, and especially such a big one, is very invasive and the vet said that most horses are not the same afterwards, both in character and physically – where most of the time they suffer from the aftermath and are compromised for the rest of their life. And such surgeries are very risky and since they are big animals, the anaesthetics involved is also not optimal for them. We did not see this as an option, as it would be too much of a compromise, so we went for the second option. The vet left half an hour after midnight, and we’d have to watch him during the course of the night to see how he progressed. We had some drug injections we would have to give him to moment he would start pawing, cramping or rolling and laying up and down again. Fidelis and Rozelle stayed with him all night. Me and Gian went to sleep around 1 – 1.30 to get a little bit of sleep, as we were going to need people in the early morning and next day to keep and eye on him while others would rest. We slept for about 3 hours and went back down. Rozelle and Fidelis gave us an update, he was doing pretty well, walking around, grazing and he had a poo (which means stuff was moving inside) and while the four of us were there he had another poop. As it was getting more light and closer to our morning horses routine, Rozelle and Fidelis went to sleep and me Gian and Cerise took over watching him. He started looking uncomfortable again, and called the vet. She told us to take him for a 30 min walk while she was busy finishing up with another horse and she would try and come as soon as she could. Cerise took Grootman and I took Charlie, and we walked him around the field close to the herd (previously we tried walking him alone, but his was neighing a lot and kept on looking at his friends which were still in the stable). After the 30 minute walk in the sun, my knees getting burnt and all the various weeds scratching my skin open – we stopped for a bit to see how he was responding. He stood a bit, grazed for 30 sec next to Charlie and then he went back to laying down.

This was not a good sign.

We called the vet again, this time she suggested we work him out on the long line – to try and keep him in to canter for at least 10 min. Cerise started working him, but it was hot, we were all very tired so after a few minutes I took over and did my best to get him to run hard and fast – but it was just not working. I was exhausted, my legs were in pain, and my shorts were too big and kept falling down which were not really optimum conditions to work with a horse lol. He did poo then about 4 times while we lunged him, which was cool. I went to gather my strength in the shade underneath a little tree, while Cerise walked him allowing him to cool down from the run. Once she was done, he went back laying down on the ground, got up, got down and then he stayed there. It was not looking good. If he had another colic relapse, we were serious trouble and would probably have to put him down as well, as he was in major pain. So you can imagine, with the previous events that had taken place in the last few days and us being physically exhausted from all that had happened and we had done so far – it was quite tough. Cerise put the phone down, and said Leila – run, get the injections. I was still knocked out from running him, but had to just get up and run, run, run down the field to the feedroom to get the injections. He wasn’t doing good and we had to buy him as much time as possible. As I was running down, my whole body was so soar, and I was running but it was slow, like in a dream where you are being chased and you just want to run fast but it’s like you’re running through water and more running in slow motion than anything else. So I got the injections, ran back up and Cerise injected him. We kept him with us underneath the little tree in the shade, as we didn’t want him to possible lay down in the sun and dehydrate. He calmed down and after a bit all the horses came running up to us/him and kept him company. After about 20 min or so, he started eating and he seemed pretty okay so we took off the lead to see what would happen next.

I had asked Charlie earlier to take care of Grootman, as Titan had always been his buddy in the field and now he was feeling lost and alone. Initially Grootman was following Charlie around and then later Charlie also kept up with Grootman, which was cool for him to have someone there while he’s sorting himself out.

After two hours or so, he was still grazing and hadn’t shown any signs. We called the vet, as the painkillers had worn off and he was doing okay, so she was not going to come anymore as there wasn’t anything she would be able to do, we’d call her if he got worse and needed a second injection. So we were now at the moment of truth – he was off drugs and it was now all on him. Cerise, me, Fidelis and Gian watched him for most of the day in the field, in the heat (it got up to 36 degrees Celsius). We eventually moved out from the tree because our shade spot was getting smaller and smaller and we were already pretty burnt, and moved to the stables where we settled down with some comfy camping chairs and watched him from a far. We watched a movie for a bit and Sunette made us some nice cheese toasted sandwiches which our hungry tummies welcomed very much, along with some nice cold fruit smoothie Maya had made. Our bodies were recuperating a bit and Grootman seemed to have settled down, grazing normally staying close to Charlie.

At around 2PM the two Maya’s came to relieve us. I went to wash myself up a bit and crashed down into bed – waking up later by Cerise calling me for horses time in the evening – I had slept straight through my alarm. We shifted the stables again so Grootman was back in old one and moved the others one up. So far Grootman has been stable – which is great, which means he worked through whatever it was himself with the time we “bought” him, our efforts had not been in vain, and seeing him get back to his normal self made all exhaustion disappear for a moment.

So the last few days have been quite hectic. We’ve all had to make some tough decisions, work together, and push ourselves physically for the sake of the horses’ well being (even if that meant death for one of them, it was still the best for his well being). With all these things happening, unexpectedly, and one after another – there’s not much time to think or wonder off in your mind, and it’s really a matter of being here, constantly assessing and just acting according to what would be best.

So even though the events were unfortunate, it was quite a cool experience in terms of having to deal with these things. I always thought that you have to be a “tough person” to be able to work with animals being sick, animals having to be put down, and being there when they die. Working through the Desteni Process, I realise this is not true. It’s not about putting on an armour, suppressing your personal emotions and feelings and keeping everything bottled up and making decisions based on what you experience. Once you walk and base your decisions on what’s Best for all, your course of action is pretty much determined, and you just stick to that one principle. Within that sure, it’s sad because what was happening was unfortunate – but it was not devastating as how I used to experience myself in the case of the death of animals, because I knew, whatever the outcome, we were doing what was Best, and anything less, yes, would have been devastating, but could only come about as a result of personal compromise – where you experience internal turmoil because you know you are not acting to support the animal in the best possible way, but are allowing personal interest to override – where one could for instance keep an animal alive for the sake of ‘holding on’ while the animal is suffering unnecessarily. Then you stop caring for the animal, and only care for yourself.

If you’re doing the best you can within the limits of what is possible, and stick to making decisions that are best for the animal – the experience of walking through these points and dealing with becomes completely different, because you have that point of stability as the principle you stand by.
It’s also then, that the limits we’ve imposed within this reality become more emphasised. Once your inner shit is out of the way, the shit existent within this world as the rules and conditions we live by are as clear as day. Because you’re always doing your best within the limits of what is possible, but what is possible currently is not a definitive point. For instance, we had to do a lot of guess work and test out lots of different things with the horse, like the anal probing and the tubing – which is not a nice experience for a healthy horse, so just imagine what it’s like for a sick horse – and these, are quite “primitive” methods of diagnosing what is going on. I mean, the technology exists to be able to see right through beings’ bodies, but due to our distorted values of valuing money over life and living in an economic and monetary system, such technology is only available at great expense, often not making it an option, and thus having to result to primitive, invasive methods of treatment – while we could be living in a world where life is valued and technology is openly available for all to use so that we can ACTUALLY do our best within supporting and taking care of ourselves, animals and nature to the highest level. Because right now, we can do our best, but only so far – while we could reach a whole new level of being able to do your best if only the conditions in place were different.

The world we live in and our daily experiences and struggles, could be SO much different, if only we move ourselves to transform how we live on Earth. I mean, there are so many unnecessary constrictions in place, causing pain and suffering for so many being. So then you have a world where generation after generation you have massive amounts of beings suffering – for the sake of some having a blissful experience of outrageous abundance for the duration of their lifespan.

It is madness, and it is maddening – as you can clearly see in the news every day. The society we live in is not a healthy one, and as such its producing unhealthy people doing insane things.

We do not have to live this way, we have an alternative – let’s stop the madness, Prevention is the Best Cure – visit and participate in creating a world that is Best for All. -

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