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What can a vet require an owner to do?

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  • What can a vet require an owner to do?

    Can a vet require an owner to feed a horse grass hay, equine senior, and beet pulp, and turn an owner in for neglect if they follow a different feeding program?

    Short background: I was gone for 3 months as a working student and boarded my horse with someone I thought was a close friend. Picked up my horse after three months and he was quite skinny. Before I left the horse was doing quite well on 4 large flakes of alfalfa per day. The horse is now living at the semi-retirement home he lived at for 4 years. I told the BM I wanted him fed alfalfa to get his weight back up. I agreed to buy and deliver the alfalfa. BM wants the horse on grass hay (poor quality), equine senior and beet pulp. The horse was on this feed combination last year and had a hard time keeping weight over the winter. The horse also has a history of severe choking. I gave the BM strict orders that my horse was not to be fed grain, BM continued to feed grain because the horse looked disappointed.

    Several days ago the vet had to be called out for a cut in the horses foot, and BM is now saying that the vet said the horse must be on her feed program and that if she didn't feed him equine senior she and I would be charged with neglect. I'm curious if this is possible under Colorado law.

    Before you all flame me, I just found out about the horses condition and am doing everything possible to improve it. The horse scores a solid 3, which isn't good, but could be much worse. This horse is not the hard keeper I've mentioned before, that horse is with me and currently doing very well. I admit I made a mistake and trusted the wrong people to care for my horse, and I am currently in the process of cutting all ties with all involved parties. This horse will be moved to my house as soon as the trailer is available.

  • #2
    No. As long as you feed the horse something that keeps them in good weight, you can't be charged for neglect. And if any BO threatened to bring criminal charges against me for requesting a different feed? I'd be out of there fast!


    • #3
      If the BO fed my horse something I had explicitly told her not to feed the horse, I would be seriously pissed off. Does she know he has a history of choke?
      Glad to hear you are moving ASAP.
      Join a new horse sim where you can train, show and breed dressage horses, jumpers and eventers! Fun and free with mature players.
      Join Horse Eden Eventing Today !


      • #4
        1. Call you state ag dept and ask what the requirements and rules are concerning horses. Most states just require hay and water, altho some states require shelter.

        2. Move your horse to a barn where the BO will follow the feeding protocol that you want. You should get this IN WRITING in your boarding agreement before you move your horse to any barn. (Yes we've all had the verbal agreement that wasn't followed so get it in writing before you move.)

        3. Any vet and any civilian can "turn in" anyone for neglect, real or imagined or relatiation. So yes, the vet or BO "could" call the state. In which case an agent would come out and check out any complaint of abuse. Doesn't mean that you'll be cited. Sounds like your BO has made a thinly veiled threat that you are t o do what she wants re: feeding or you'll be reported. My state has state agents that handle horse abuse while local AC handles small animals.

        MOVE now.


        • #5
          Did you hear this directly from the vet? Sounds to me like the BM might be making that up to get you to go along with her desires. Either way, move the horse.There's a wingnuttery epidemic at the present establishment.
          "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

          ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
            Did you hear this directly from the vet? Sounds to me like the BM might be making that up to get you to go along with her desires. Either way, move the horse.There's a wingnuttery epidemic at the present establishment.
            I agree. Sounds like the BM may have made this up or twisted the words of the vet. Yes, they could report you but the officials would not do anything in this case. Colorado is very loose on their neglect laws which is too bad. Sounds like you have a plan for getting your horse back on track.


            • #7
              Oh, don't I wish I could lay down the law to my patients in anything but the vaguest and most unenforceable way!

              "You want to smoke, huh? OK, buddy, this is for your own good." (handcuffs come out, off they go to the Big House)
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                In short, we can require you to do...nothing. HOWEVER, if we are called out because animal control is involved we can require you do what we recommend.

                I suggest you call the vet and explain your past experiences with this horse and grain and weight loss/gain. He is probably getting only one side of the story (**SHOCKER**, clients never embellish or leave things out and always tell us only the truth)

                lol DW!

                Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                Oh, don't I wish I could lay down the law to my patients in anything but the vaguest and most unenforceable way!

                "You want to smoke, huh? OK, buddy, this is for your own good." (handcuffs come out, off they go to the Big House)
                Michael: Seems the people who burned me want me for a job.
                Sam: A job? Does it pay?
                Michael: Nah, it's more of a "we'll kill you if you don't do it" type of thing.
                Sam: Oh. I've never liked those.


                • #9
                  Print the UC Davis 'refeeding starved horse' protocol data, and post it on the horse's stall and give a spare copy to the idiot BO until you can get out of there. Alfalfa is, per UC Davis, the safest way to help a horse gain weight, although UCD also advises to add Equine Senior feed after it has been shown that the horse is tolerating the alfalfa well.
                  RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                  • #10
                    Assuming you pay the vet bills directly you nad the vet have the relationship over YOUR horse. Have a conversation with the vet about your horse. I'm thinking the BO mixed words or whatever. Some barns feed what they want and that's it. Also the BO cannot turn you in to authorities because your horse is under the BO care, custody and control so she would essentially be turning themselves in


                    • Original Poster

                      Thank you all for your answers, reassurance, and suggestions. I will be getting in contact with the vet asap. I was in a bit of a panic after I got the BO's email, especially as it came to light two days previous that my farrier up there is scamming my parents. Its an all around unpleasant situation.

                      deltawave, your answer gave me a good laugh.


                      • #12
                        My first thought was that the BO took advantage of having the vet out to threaten you to get your horse on her feed program.

                        I would steer clear of a barn that is "my way or the highway" about feeding, whether my horse needed a specific diet or not. Feeding grain after you expressly told her not to is even worse, especially with a history of choke.

                        Definitely talk directly to the vet, I'd bet a week's wages the BO twisted what the vet said about feeding. That said, how does the BO think that poor quality grass hay is any help versus alfalfa? Nor is Equine Senior the be all and end all of putting weight on a horse (not the highest calorie feed out there), though it has the benefit of soaking into a mash with enough water added to it.

                        Good luck!
                        Leap, and the net will appear


                        • #13
                          No - a vet can make recommendations but they are not the law of the land. As someone else mentioned thats like having a physician or dentist require you quit smoking or eating bad foods but it's not like it's against the law (yet).


                          • #14
                            Colorado is somewat vague but they only require adequate food, water and shelter. It sounds like your BM is tryinjg to force you to use her protocol. I would just move the horse , tell her she caused your horse to lose weight, and and call the vet and speak to him or her directly.

                            Here is an excerpt from the Colorado state statutes . Underline is mine.
                            18-9-202. Cruelty to animals--neglect of animals--offenses--repeal

                            (1)(a) A person commits cruelty to animals if he knowingly or with criminal negligence overdrives, overloads, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, needlessly mutilates, needlessly kills, carries or confines in or upon any vehicles in a cruel or reckless manner, or otherwise mistreats or neglects any animal, or causes or procures it to be done, or, having the charge or custody of any animal, fails to provide it with proper food, drink, or protection from the weather, or abandons it.(b) Any person who intentionally abandons a dog or cat commits the offense of cruelty to animals.
                            Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
                            Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.


                            • Original Poster

                              Thank you so much for that info Patty. That is very helpful, and is very telling in regards to the quality of the BO's hay. I'm looking forward to an interesting talk with my vet tomorrow.


                              • Original Poster

                                I talked to the vet just now, and what an enlightening conversation it was. BO did indeed twist his words, and even he suggested moving the horse after hearing about the choke.


                                • #17
                                  I'd move my horse if the barn manager refused to provide reasonable care and LIED about vet recommendations! Fortunately for me, MY BO is knowledgable and honest.

                                  I suggest getting the vet to put his recommendations in writing and post for the BO until you can move your horse.