why do horses need to be euthanized when they break their legs?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Horses need to stand. If they lie down, it cuts off blood circulation and can stop their organs from functioning. For a horse to stand, they need to distribute their weight evenly on all 4 legs. If they put too much weight on one leg, they can develop injuries like laminitis which is what Barbaro died of. You can put a horse in a sling, but it creates the same problems as having a horse lie down. In Eight Belles' case, she broke both of her front legs. A horse puts 60% of its weight on its front legs. If she had broken only one, she could have stood on her other front leg, but to break both left her without any front legs to stand on comfortably. To ask her to stand up after she had fallen down and broken both of her front legs, would have been too much to ask. It would have been tremendously painful. If a person breaks a leg, you can put them in bed, but you can't restrain a horse and keep them lying down. A leg injury to a horse is extremely serious, much more so than a leg injury to a person. It's a shame that the magnificent animals weren't built with stronger legs and it's horrible to lose a horse as wonderful as Eight Belles. She may have had a rough start in racing last year (it took 3 tries to break her maiden), but she really turned into a top notch horse and I'd put her up there with Ruffian. It's just such a tragedy.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Horse Euthanized On Track

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  • Eight Belles broke both front ankles. Not only is that an incredibly painful injury, it is also nearly impossible for a horse to recover from because of the way that they are built.

    They can't lie down for extended periods of time (like dogs or cats), and even slings are impractical for long periods of time. If she has no front leg support, she has no way to stand and let her injury heal. Horses bear about 60% of their weight on their front feet.

    Even with casts (if casting was possible in that area of her leg), she would have been at incredibly high risk of developing laminitis.

    Laminitis is very painful disease of the foot that can be caused by a horse not distributing their weight evenly across all four feet (that is ultimately why they had to euthanize Barbaro - he developed laminitis in the front because his back legs were injured and he couldn't distribute weight across them).

    There was no saving her from this injury, and euthanizing her was the only humane option. Attempting to recover her from it would have meant a long, painful recovery, with a poor prognosis that she would actually survive.

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  • 1 decade ago

    They have to be able to stand, and they can't do so on broken legs.

    It is sad, but race horses have been bred for speed which has resulted in lighter, more fragile bones which break easier.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Thanks for explaining that racehorses are bred to be lighter and thus break bones easier--but that makes it sound like a pretty inhumane sport. We can build racecars to be faster, but building a faster horse makes her more easily injured. Does anyone know if the track has something to do with it? Are more racehorses injured (and then euthanized) on dirt, for example? Or artificial turf? I just feel sort of ashamed--I was really rooting for her, running against the boys. That makes me part of the machine that put her in harm's way.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well its like this a horse depends on their legs to hold their body weight and horses stand almost their entire life... horses cant adapt to standing on three legs like a dog or cat.... Hope this helps

    Source(s): OTTB Owner
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  • 1 decade ago

    It would be almost impossible for her to recover, as increased weight would be put on her back legs, causing founder and other painful things. horses do very poorly when they cant walk around, and with two casts there would have been little hope for her. euthanising her is the best thing they could have done.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Bc they can't recover them from it. today on the horse race, it was soo sad cause i wanted her to be in the top 3. (i don't watch horse racing but i did today) and i got sad when i heard that.

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  • Andy
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    She was probably suffering and the ankles are so fragile anyway that she would have probably been in pain and gotten disease in her legs.

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  • 4 years ago

    This is bad

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