Is it Selfish To Spend Money To Extend An Animals Life
 By Winniefield Park   •   24th Mar 2016   •   1,098 views   •   0 comments
Is it Selfish To Spend Money To Extend An Animals Life

We all know that the money spent on buying a horse is only the beginning of the costs involved in owning a horse. Lots of people think nothing of looking for a free or cheap horse, without considering that it costs the same to feed and care for any horse, regardless of the initial outlay. And, if the horse needs any care beyond the basics of feed, vaccinations, dentistry, parasite control and farrier work, those costs can deplete a bank account very quickly. Injuries, colics, or ongoing health problems can costs thousands of dollars. Even a vet call for a minor problem on a Sunday evening can put a substantial hole in a horse owner's budget.

Now, if you have an unlimited budget to keep your Grand Prix show horse going, itís all part of the game perhaps. Lucky for you that you have resources and support. But, for the rest of us, spending thousands of dollars to keep a thousand dollar horse going isnít quite as easy. It may even require some difficult decisions. Consider something like a colic surgery. Veterinary surgeons can operate and save the lives of many horses showing colic symptoms from things like intestinal twists, sand colic and blockages.

Depending on the reason for the colic, and complications that can arise from the surgery a colic may cost anywhere from $3000 for a surgery that is very straightforward and problem free, with no overnight stays at the hospital facilities to over $10,000 for a colic surgery that involves removing dead tissue, resectioning the intestine and prolonged post-operative care.

And, if that werenít bad enough, there is no guarantee that the horse will recover well enough to return to its intended work if itís a performance horse, or that it will survive the surgery at all. Some horses, like Canadian show jumper Big Ben, end up having multiple surgeries. In Big Benís case, his first two surgeries certainly did not affect his performance. But after a third bout of impaction colic, with consideration for the horseís age and chances of recovery, it was decided to humanely euthanize him.

Whatever the outcome of a surgery or other treatment, be it for colic, injury or health problem, most owners have to dig deep down in their pockets to pay the vet bills. I know of people who have spent thousands, even borrowing against their homes, to pay for vet bills. And, some still ended up with a dead horse.

What would any of us have done in their shoes? Having just spent a ridiculous amount of money on a second surgery for my dog who insists on forming bladder stones, would I be one of those people who would go into debt for my horse? Truthfully, for an invasive surgery, my horse at age 18 probably wouldn't be a candidate. But, would I do it otherwise? Until Iím faced with it, Iím not sure.

And, thereís another aspect that didnít occur to me until the morning I took my dog for his procedure. On my Facebook feed appeared a photo of a woman offering a drink of water to a small, emaciated child, who for all the world looked like a miniature eighty year old wearing a scrap of rag. The caption on the photo read, ďTodayís reminder that your life isnít really that rough.Ē It was a sobering reminder as I boo hooed about my dog. And, it made me question the ethics of what I was doing to save an animal. Horses colic, break bones and have other calamities happen, and in a more natural world, it is the end of their natural life. But, we shell out dollars, dollars that could perhaps save many human lives, to preserve them. We all spend money in ways that are selfish, frivolous and wasteful, and caring for companion animals may be one of them. Are we being kind to animals or negligent of more pressing needs of suffering humans? Is it purely selfish to preserve an animal beyond what nature seems to deem its natural lifespan? I wish I could ignore questions like this, and I donít know the answers. I wish could. What do you think?
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