Search our Site

Euthanasia is, without doubt, the hardest decision we ever face as an owner.  All our vets are available to talk to about making this decision and we are more than happy to visit the yard to examine your horse and answer any questions you may have.  We firmly believe you should feel you have support from us when the time comes and we will do all we can to make the process as easy as possible.

When the decision has been made to euthanase, we will need you to sign a consent form to give us permission to carry out the injection. Where possible the owner signs this form; however, in certain circumstances this may not be possible. If this is the case we will ask an agent to sign on the owner's behalf. We will make every effort to speak directly with you as the owner, prior to euthanasia. Only in exceptional circumstances where the horse's welfare is compromised beyond measure, and we cannot contact you despite repeated efforts, will we proceed with euthanasia. In these cases we will obtain a consent from an agent present. Consent forms may be signed and emailed to us in advance should you not be present at a pre-arranged euthanasia consultation. 

What happens?

We have found that most of our clients prefer to have their horse put to sleep by an injection; however our vets are able to euthanase by shooting as we wish to offer all methods to you. We will usually place a catheter into the vein to minimise the number of injections your horse has to experience.  In most cases we will give a sedative to ensure your horse is completely relaxed and calm.
Once sedated, we make sure we are in a safe area and then, when you are ready, we will give your horse the injection.  The horse will usually take a few deep breaths and then your horse will lie down. As we are giving an overdose of anaesthetic, the heart will stop and your horse will peacefully pass away. Some owners prefer not to be present at the appointment at all; while some of you prefer not to witness the procedure itself, but have some time to grieve with your horse afterwards. We are comfortable in any circumstance, although we do need someone present to assist us where possible. If you do not have someone else available, one of our nurses will come to the appointment.


After a life of unconditional love, all we owe our animals is dignity. We work with a number of different companies that provide cremation services. We can contact the relevant collection company on your behalf to make sure collection occurs at the same time.  Alternatively, we will provide you with relevant details for you to make the arrangements. It is important to know that disposal costs can be considerable and they vary depending on your chosen option.  Cremations can be done individually, and following this you may elect to have some, or all of your horse's ashes returned to you.  The ashes will be returned to our clinic for you to collect at your convenience.  
Alternatively, you may wish for your horse to be buried.  Burial is restricted by law, and permission can be difficult to obtain.  You should contact DEFRA in advance to ensure requirements are met.  In addition, the Environmental Health Department may also need to be contacted.

Financial information

Losing your horse is very difficult and we do what we can to make this time as easy as possible.  We recognise that receiving an invoice some time after the event may well stir up painful emotions and be very upsetting for you.  In light of this, you may prefer to settle your account either in advance, at the time of the booking; or you may choose to request an invoice is sent a few days after the visit, rather than the end of the month.  Some people even prefer to pay on the day. Whatever you feel works best for you, we will try to accommodate your request. Please be aware that disposal companies often require card payment at the time of collection or when booking.

Insurance details

If your horse is insured you should contact the insurer prior to euthanasia where possible. We appreciate in certain instances that this is not possible. If you are planning to claim for the death of a horse, you need to be aware that the reason for the horse's euthanasia must meet the BEVA guidelines for humane destruction
These guidelines state “that the insured horse sustains an injury or manifests an illness or disease that is so severe as to warrant immediate destruction to relieve incurable and excessive pain and that no other options of treatment are available to that horse at that time”. Your vet will be able to discuss this with you and advise you as to whether they are able to support and insurance claim in your situation.  If we do not feel these guidelines have been met then a claim may be submitted, but is unlikely to be unsuccessful.
Secondly, insurers require a post-mortem examination for all horses that are subject to an insurance claim for death, unless the reason for euthanasia is so obvious it is beyond dispute, e.g. open fracture. We will advise you about post-mortem examinations when you sign the consent form, and you may decline the examination. You should be aware that if you do decline a post-mortem examination and proceed to submit an insurance claim for death, your claim may be rejected.

Support with bereavement

As animal owners ourselves we know how difficult this time can be and so are always available to discuss your individual concerns and needs. We encourage you to have a friend on hand to give you support on the day. Sometimes, however, you may feel you wish to talk to someone impartial and experienced about the grief of losing your horse. There are several organisations which provide specialist support, including The Blue Cross.  

Our Location

Lingfield Equine Vets is situated in the beautiful Surrey Hills area. We are located just north of Felbridge on the A22 with easy access for all equine transport vehicles.

Contact Us Today
Lingfield Equine Vets
Chester Lodge, Woodcock Hill,
Felbridge, Surrey,
RH19 2RD
(01342) 300008