Euthanasia Assistance

Can people with no money get a veterinarian to euthanize their horse for free?
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Q. Some veterinarians and shelters will take care of your pet for free if you have a low income or are out of work. Can people with no money get a veterinarian to euthanize their horse for free?

Carrie, via e-mail


A. First, does one of the following statements, developed by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), apply to your situation?

  • Is the horse’s condition chronic or incurable?
  • Does the condition suggest a hopeless prognosis for life?
  • Is the horse a hazard to himself or his handlers?
  • Will the horse require continuous medication for pain relief for the remainder of his life?

If so, some veterinarians might euthanatize a horse at a reduced cost or at no cost to end the animal’s suffering. Some clinics even have an emergency fund for this purpose. However, if the horse is merely an unwanted horse, there might be a different solution

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Written by:

Lydia Gray, DVM, is Medical Director and Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak Equine. She was previously the executive director of the Hooved Animal Humane Society in Woodstock, IL, and an Owner Education Director for the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

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