This is what my specialist had to say:
Vet and surgeon at Veresdale Equine Centre David Bartholomeusz “We can do surgery and cut the flexon tendon but this is a major operation and the issues with her laminitis and clubbed hoof will make the healing process more difficult. The chances of her being pain free are very slim and I will need the farrier present during the surgery to fit her shoes otherwise we won’t get shoes on her because she cannot bear weight on her leg at all, in my opinion i would have the mare humanely euthanized.
Vet at Veresdale Equine Centre Kylie “She is in a lot of pain and will be for the rest of her life. Surgery may help her walk properly but she will be in pain and have ongoing problems for the next 20+ years.”
Surgeon at the Gold Coast Equine Horse Hospital Paul Robertson “This type of surgery is very successful in horses 2 years and younger but anything older is very risky. It will fix the way she is walking but won’t fix the damage already done to the pedal bone and it’s in a pretty bad way. The tendons in her other leg are also very damaged from supporting her bad leg for such a long period of time. I’m not confident with this and think the best and humane thing would be immediate euthanasia”.
Master and corrective farrier Tim Heeb “Amanda this horse is in a bad way and im my opinion you should have her euthanatized. Both of her front hooves and legs are badly damaged and the pain is chronic”
Equine Podiatrist, Equine Barehoof Care Carola Alolf ~ email.
before I read the history you forwarded, I looked at the pictures. Even though the photographs are useless to what I would need to see (nice grass....), I can see on the x-ray that the pedal bone has demineralized (and is actively doing so, with possible abscess activity as well) to a state that the mare will never be able to regrow a remotely functional hoof - and therefore will be in discomfort for the rest of her life, even with expert hoofcare. No shoe will fix the problem.The surgery they are talking about will only benefit your vet's welfare - not the horse's, so do not even consider that option.
You know that quality of life is what we all try to provide to the animals in our care - and as respectful owners, this must be out guiding light, so to speak.
I know how hard it is to make "the final" decision. I just had to make this one myself today for one of my own horses (not a hoof issue, though), and as hard as it is to us, animals deserve to move on when they can't have what nature has meant for them to have: Quality of life - and in the horse's mind, that would be running in a herd and playing or grazing with its peers - enjoying life and doing what they were put on this earth for to do: Moving about and using their beautiful, powerful bodies to go for a run..... on healthy feet.
The feet that guarantee their survival. They know that instinctively.
From a hoof expert's perspective, I agree with most of the opinions - and this would mean that if I had to make this decision myself, I would follow the advise you were already given.
I am so sorry.
The only comfort that I can give you is to say that quality of life is paramount. Prolonging the inevitable is against what you (and I) believe in: Giving a horse a better life. That is what rescuing is all about.
Do not hesitate to fulfil the promise you made to this horse when you rescue her, so prevent her from more pain and the inability to enjoy life as horses do enjoy it. Moving with joy.
My heart goes out to you - and your mare.
We have made the decision to have her put to sleep to end her suffering.