Dear Buddy had lived in pain for a long time. From conversations with people who knew him in the years before his seizure by animal control in late November of 2022, he had struggled with visible pain and lameness off and on. Given the condition he was found in when rescued, it is evident that he had not been thriving for some time and very possibly had multiple laminitis flare-ups that had gone untreated for the last few years of his life.

This last bout of laminitis came on quickly and was extremely debilitating. Painful on both front hooves with digital pulses in each, Buddy struggled to walk. He was seen by the vet and Bute was started in an attempt to give him comfort. Unfortunately, after a week on high doses of Bute, his pain was unmanageable and he was spending a great amount of time laying down to alleviate the discomfort. It would have been inhuman for us to prolong his suffering.

Given his very poor body condition, age, lack of topline muscle and laminitis, we suspected he was suffering from untreated Cushing’s disease (PPID). Given his age, ailments and high likelihood for ongoing quality of life issues, we made the heart-breaking decision to end his suffering and peacefully euthanized him.

He deserved to be treated with dignity and respect in his senior years. Those who were given the responsibility to watch over him in his later years failed him. With proper medication, treatment and veterinarian supervision, Buddy’s last years could have been supported and the painful symptoms of Cushing’s and age could have been elevated. Our tone may be harsh, but it is slight compared to the obvious pain that this horse endured. The responsibility you have as a caretaker and owner is immense. Old horses do not need to suffer. It was Buddy’s owner’s responsibility to watch over him and provide him with the care he needed as his body aged. We can only now be comforted knowing that he is no longer in pain and in the end, those who had just met him gave him the love and veterinary care he needed and deserved.