Do They Still Shoot Horses?

Pegasus could. Last I heard, he was working for Mobil.

Yeah, well, one lousy special purpose horse to service offshore oil rigs does not a species make!

Does not stop Les Nesman from coming up with the perfect Kentucky Derby promotion.

“I swear to God, your Honor, I thought horses…”

Don’t they?

This is exactly what I thought of. And I never even saw the damn episode.

It was actually station manager Arthur Carson’s promotion and perfect line:

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

Kidding aside, if the problem with leg injury is laminitis, then amputating all four legs would solve that problem instantly along with any other leg-related issues.

Do horses not do well with no legs? Can a leg-less horse be useful in breeding?

I don’t know of any such cases ever being done, but it seems unlikely to be successful. Just for a horse to survive the blood loss from an amputation of 4 legs would be difficult. (Humans, with only 2 legs, have serious difficulty with a double amputation at the hips.)

And after that, the horse would be exerting severe, unnatural weight on it’s lower belly & abdomen area. This is an area that normally hangs free, without bearing any weight. Horses are already prone to colic - twisted intestine; having to bear actual weight on the belly would surely increase the risk of colic. Assuming they aren’t already suffocating from the increased weight compressing their lungs. (Friends had a mare get stuck upside down between 2 snowbanks when she was rolling – in a few hours before they found her, she was suffocated by the increased weight on her lungs.)
[Actually, the effects of this on a horse sound a lot like the description of the medical effects of a crucifixion!]

And long-term, I’d think it would be hard for a horse to eat that low to the ground – they are designed to eat standing up with their necks stretched down. Plus any prosthetic legs would likely develop pressure sores & infections at the stumps.

Just doesn’t seem feasible.

Well, it might be possible to design a modification of a standard ‘artificial mare’, and so collect semen from such a stallion. But many breeds do not allow registration of AI-bred foals. In particular, the racing breeds do not accept this, and it’s mainly those that could have a stallion valuable enough to go through with such an effort, and to put the horse through such a rough time.

If you think about humans who are bedridden or wheelchair bound and too weak to move themselves, they are prone to all sorts of issues like pressure sores, and that’s with daily care from other people. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of any non-human mammal with all of its legs amputated. Of all domestic animals, I think of the horse as one of the least amenable to being recumbent much of the time. They normally spend very little time lying down, just a couple hours a day, and as a prey species which relies on flight for survival, inability to escape can be very distressing. Even if you could, I do not think it would be humane.

Practically speaking, even leaving the legs on, care of a recumbent horse is very labor intensive and, if allowed to go on for weeks or months, tends to end badly. The basic problem is the whole surface area to volume ratio thing - they’re just not built to support that much weight on the surface of their trunk for very long. As t bonham mentioned, the weight of the horse restricts the ability of the dependent lung to expand fully, so they are at high risk for pneumonia. Their GI tract works best if they are able to move around even a little bit (and even total stall rest while standing can make some horses colic). Recumbent horses often don’t eat and drink as well, although some of that is probably due to the underlying disease and/or pain. The weight of the horse often leads to skin breakdown and pressure sores, even if the horse is kept in deep bedding. A horse that lies in the same position for many hours also starts breaking down muscle, which leads to electrolyte imbalances and even kidney failure if the horse is down long enough. If the horse is unable to stand to urinate, they end up urinating on themselves, accelerating skin breakdown, so you have to turn them over (which requires 2-3 people), clean and dry off the wet skin, and put clean bedding down. I guess things would be somewhat different without having legs in the way, but I still don’t see how you could avoid pressure sores, pneumonia, and colic without intensive management and a lot of luck.

For Barbaro and similar cases, vets do use slings which support the horse and allow them to rest their legs as they please, but they do not take all of the horse’s weight off their feet all of the time. If they did, I think you would have the same problems with pressure sores, respiratory compromise and pneumonia, etc.

The NGO Friends of the Asian Elephant, which operates a big elephant hospital up North, has done prostheses for the beasts. Talk about a heavy weight! Their most famous prosthesis patient is Motala, who stepped on a landmine across the border in Burma.

Could any of the techniques they use here be applied, or is this really just apples and oranges for physiological reasons?

No real information, but just going from what I recall of pictures, I think there is quite a difference. Elephant legs seem much bigger in proportion to the size of the body – horses have legs that are much smaller in relation to the body & trunk, with much more open space under the belly. This allows them to move much faster than elephants, but horses legs are much more delicate than elephants.

So I would guess that the problems with pressure points, circulation, etc. would be more severe with a horse prosthetic leg than an elephant one.

I don’t know about horses, but I suspect that there have been legless cows. Where else would we get ground beef? :slight_smile:

In the mid 80’s I was a “kennel boy” at a rural vet clinic, I have know knowlage of what kind of break would result in the decision to put a horse down but I will say that most horses are more like pets than livestock.

Thus we used Trapanal to put them down just as we would on a dog or cat.

yes, and people too.

What about deer with a broken leg?

Can someone survive in the desert on a horse with no legs?.. :dubious:

Dunno. What’s his name?

He doesn’t have one. He can’t come if you call him anyway.