By Kathleen A. Reagan, Esq.
The Horse Guy and I have had discussions about an issue which troubles us greatly.
Specifically, every now and then, someone submits a question about their horse which indicates that veterinary attention is immediately required and due RIGHT NOW — this worries us to no end!
We want to make it entirely plain, if you as a horse owner are concerned enough about your horse's health that you took the time out of your busy day to write us about your horse's health issue, then that indicates by itself that you need to get veterinary attention to your horse immediately.
You should not wait for any form of posting from us or anyone else to get your horse seen by a vet.
We don't want our reader's horses to suffer or die waiting for a response from a Website.
We sometimes lie awake at night worrying about those horses whose owners write in describing symptoms that the horse is lying down and rolling frequently while biting at his sides and sweating.
(This sounds like impending death by colic and is treatable, if at all, only by immediate veterinary attention.)
Or we think about those posts describing horses that won't move at all.
(This sounds like founder, but it could also be several other things.)
Therefore, the Horse Girl and Horse Guy wish it to be known: WE ARE NOT VETERINARIANS, and the submitter as a horse owner has the duty to adequately care for his/her horse by promptly seeking medical attention when needed.
Let's be clear here: there is a legal as well as a moral duty of all horse owners to get immediate care for their horses..
In future posts, I will regale such submitters with descriptions of lawsuits and cases about what happens to owners who did not fulfill their duties of proper care for their horses.
But that is a story for another day.
The bottom line is that you must CALL YOUR VET if you have a health question about your horse.
THE SCOPE OF QUERYHORSE ADVICE
Now, I want to talk about the scope of our advice, which is to say, we have no authority to be opining about ANYTHING in such a manner that you, the Horse Owner, should rely on it in regards to your horse's health.
This is because, we're NOT THERE to see the horse, and, also, as stated above, WE'RE NOT VETERINARIANS and don't have formal equine medical training.
Even your vet would be reluctant to offer much of a diagnosis without seeing and examining your horse.
If you have an equine health issue, you need to CALL YOUR VET.
That individual can both examine your horse and has the medical training to render an opinion about what could be wrong after looking at your horse.
The vet should also be able to immediately act to save your horse if necessary.
Now, you may ask after reading this: "so what good are you?"
To which I respond: probably not much good.
HOWEVER, I have seen a lot of horse issues in my time on this planet, and I sometimes can offer a suggestion that will be useful in hindsight.
(We're not going to talk about my time on other planets, at least, not in this article.)
As long as you properly understand the ground rules, we're happy to help by answering questions about horse-related issues where we can.
But we do have limits and are not vets.
So again, the ground rules are, if you have a horse health question, you need to call your veterinarian and not rely on responses from a Website.
Kathleen A. Reagan, Esq. is an equine attorney practicing in Braintree, MA, available at www.kathleenreaganlaw.com, has developed a course in equine law at www.concordlawschool.com, and is co-founder and Vice President of QueryHorse, the largest horse information resource on the Internet.
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