Regional, Monthly All-Breed Horse Magazine
Distributed throughout the Greater Rockies Since 1993

 

HOME

Articles

Current Issue

Archives

Past Covers

Photo Albums

Calendar

Calendar of Events

CLASSIFIEDS

Classified Ads

MARKETPLACE

Advertiser Links

Stallion Profiles

Business Profiles

Horse Sale Profiles

Western Mercantile

ABOUT US

Contact Us

History

Green Information

Made in USA

Editorial Guidelines

Subscribe

ADVERTISE

Ad Rates

Distribution area

Camera Ready Req.

CLUB CONNECTION

Club Directory

Calendar

Competition Results

Extra News Section  

EXTRAS

Extra News Section

Health & Emergency Alerts

Horsepeople's Forum

 

 

Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Actual Costs of Euthanasia

By Dorinda Troutman, RMR Staff Writer

 

June 2009 Issue

 

     If you have read articles on unwanted horses in the past few months, you know the buzz about the high cost of euthanasia and disposal of the body – reported to be about $1,500. This, supposedly, prevents many people from euthanizing an unwanted horse.

     In reality, equine veterinary clinics in RMR’s 11-state distribution area charge a range of prices for euthanizing a horse, and most are quite reasonable. [See the accompanying chart.]

     Also, veterinarians report little or no increase in number of euthanasias in the past year. They say that increased costs of keeping a horse that is older or unusable and unsalable, is the major decision-maker in putting an otherwise healthy horse down.

 

     RMR asked veterinarians: 1) what they charge to euthanize horses in their clinics; 2) at the owner’s property (the charges include the “ranch call”); 3) if service is available from a renderer for pickup and disposal of the body; and 4) if local landfills allow horses to be disposed of. We included questions about backhoe services, composting with woodchips or sawdust, and other services such as cremation. We also asked for comments on the horse industry. The questions were answered by either the veterinarian or by a veterinary clinic staff member.

 

     Many clinics break down euthanasia cost into the killing solution (an intravenous injection of a barbiturate – sodium pentobarbital), the office visit or ranch call, the act of injecting the solution and/or sedation into the animal, and whether the clinic disposes of the body.

     Some vets sedate the horse before injecting the barbiturate, causing the animal to relax and lie down, and others do not.

     According to the American Association of Equine Practioners, there are three humane methods of killing a horse, and euthanasia by barbiturate overdose is one of them. In addition, a gunshot or a captive bolt shot are considered humane if done correctly.

     Only sodium pentobarbital shuts down the brain first, before shutting down other bodily functions. Other products cause a heart attack, or paralysis and suffocation, and so are used only on a horse already under anesthesia.

     Barbiturates are given via vein or heart injection. A body must be disposed of properly that has died by this method: by deep burial, cremation or rendering. Relatively small amounts of the carcass that could be eaten by pets or wildlife can cause their death.

     Some horse owners choose to kill their animals themselves, especially people on larger ranches. Gunshot, if done properly, is reliable, instantaneous, bloodless and humane. In Europe , gunshot is considered the most humane method and is usually chosen instead of drug overdose by veterinarians. Unless the horse was on medication, the carcass of a horse killed in this manner may be safely left out for scavengers in a remote location on a ranch.

     Some U.S. veterinarians will use the gunshot or captive bolt method if requested, and it is less expensive than chemical euthanasia.

 

Veterinary Survey of Cost of Equine Euthanasia

 

 

 

At Veterinarians

On Owner’s Property

Renderer’s Pickup & Disposal

Landfill Disposal

Comments on Pricing, Plus Current Horse Industry

Idaho Equine Hospital

Nampa

ID

$200 +

$160 +/-

$75

No

More euthanasia on sound horses. Offer cremation for $400.

Melinda Roche, DVM

Twin Falls

ID

$85

$160 +/-

$75 - $150

No horses

No increase in euthanasia; complaints of skinny horses to local authorities.

Big Sky Equine Vet Services

Clyde Park

MT

$150+/-

$185 +/-

No

Yes

“Backhoe service $80-$150. Cremation available at “”Home on the Range”” horse cemetery. “

Shawn Gleason, DVM

Corvallis

MT

$60 +

$100 +

$100

$35 - $135

Horses may be buried or rendered. Landfill cost is $135 if veterinarian takes body to facility. Not really more euthanasias in 2008; less than 15 total.

LaSalle Vet Clinic

Kalispell

MT

$95 +

$125 +

No

Yes

“Charge $90 to dispose of body. Saw 20% more euthanasia in 2008 than 2007; mostly old, unuseable horses, due to feed becoming too expensive.”

Western Montana Clinic

Missoula

MT

$130 +/-

$180 +/-

$110

Yes

 

Montana Equine Medical & Surgery Center

Three Forks

MT

$215 +

$275 +

No

Yes

Burial for $225-$400.

Bend Equine Medical Center

Bend

OR

$600 + /-

$300 +/-

$200

Yes

“$600 includes euthanizing and disposal of body.  Landfill charges $50 per ton. Cremation service $1,500+, includes pickup and ashes returned.“

Animal Clinic

Rapid City

SD

$65 - $90

$90 - $140

No

Yes

Landfill is per pound. Backhoe services $100-$125 per hour. $200 burial at Pet Cemetery . Local dairy wants to install large animal crematory.

Basin Veterinary Clinic

Roosevelt

UT

$38 +

$62 +

No

Yes

Has not seen unwanted horses; but has heard of abandoned horses in the area.

WSU Veterinary Hospital

Pullman

WA

$263

No

Yes

No

$263 includes euthanizing & disposal. More horses being donated to the vet school at cost of $263.

Central Washington Equine Clinic

Yakima

WA

$100 +

$145 +

$250

Yes

“Landfill inexpensive. No changes in numbers of horses euthanized. “”People care about their horses.”

Central Wyoming Equine

Casper

WY

$110

$140 - $160

No

Yes

Landfill cost is by weight. Most people dig a hole and bury the bodies.

Animal Medical Center

Gillette

WY

$110

$185 +

No

Yes

 

Pine Bluffs Vet Clinic

Pine Bluffs

WY

$150 +

$185 +

$60

No Horses

Clinic has seen no increase in euthanasia.

 

 

A Personal Story

     When the 37-year-old horse that Art Turner was boarding developed a tumor in his nasal passageway, Turner, along with the horse’s owner, and their regular veterinarian, Dr. Shawn Gleason, decided it was time to put the old horse down.

     Turner says the experience, even though sad, was a good one.

     Dr. Gleason came out to the ranch south of Hamilton , Montana , and administered the drugs. The old horse gently lay down and then stopped breathing. Turner’s wife, who had become fond of the horse, cried.

     The cost was $40 for the ranch call, (which Turner ended splitting with a neighbor who required Dr. Gleason on his place that same day), and $60 for the euthanasia.

     Turner says that groundwater on his hayland is too high to bury a horse. He used his tractor with a loader to put the horse’s body in his pickup, covered it with a tarp and drove north about 60 miles to Missoula to the landfill.

     Again, the experience was nearly painless and very reasonable.

     The landfill operators stopped their regular jobs and immediately dug a burial pit for the horse, helped unload the body, placed it in the pit and then covered it. Turner said it took no more than ten minutes and that throughout the process they were very kind and considerate. The charge was $33.

 

Back to 2009 Articles Page      Back to 2010 Articles Page

Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

 

Rocky Mountain Rider Magazine • Montana Owned & Operated 
PO Box 995 • Hamilton, MT 59840 • 888-747-1000  •  406-363-4085 • info@rockymountainrider.com