A Bundaberg family has to make the heartbreaking decision to put down a much-loved horse.
A Bundaberg family has to make the heartbreaking decision to put down a much-loved horse. Mark Furler

Family's heartbreak: RSPCA says horse suffering in pain

PETS are part of the family so it comes as no surprise that people do everything in their power to save them.

However what happens when there is an ethical conflict and professionals recommend ending the animal's life, to prevent suffering?

The RSPCA is conducting an investigation over the potential termination of a Bundaberg couple's horse this week, after a vet advised that the animal could not be treated.

Following a complaint on the well-being of the horse, RSPCA asked the owners to seek a professional opinion from a vet of the family's choosing, with RSPCA chief inspector Daniel Young confident this was the correct decision.

"The pony was examined by a vet and the vet has said it has to be put asleep, as it is suffering from a medical condition that cannot be rectified," Mr Young said.

"We believe it needs to be euthanised, because a vet has advised that it is an old horse that is suffering."

The family disputed that the horse was in pain and Mr Young advised that RSPCA agreed to allow for a second assessment to be made.

"We've given them a week to get a second opinion from another vet but we believe it will be the same," he said.

"We don't want to have to go and euthanise the animal, we want their vet to do it on their property, because it just makes the process that much harder."

The RSPCA stressed that it was the responsibility of pet owners to listen to advice given by professionals, particularly in relation to older animals.

While the organisation appreciated the difficulty of the decision, they maintained that it was unethical to keep an animal alive if they were suffering.

"It's tough making the decision because people get attached to their pets and no one wants to end a life, which we appreciate, but a line has to be drawn," Mr Young said.

RSPCA advised that as the investigation was ongoing, they were unable to provide specific details of the case.

NewsMail reached out to the horse owners for comment.