Veterinarians and Drugs in Your Barn

Could a 44-year-old law force you to take your horse to the vet?
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Could a 44-year-old law force you to take your horse to the vet?

The bill in question is called "The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act," aka Bills HR 1528 and S 1171. The issue is so confusing that even some veterinarians – the very ones it will most impact - have it backwards. 

Here's what's going on:

The issue at hand is a 44-year-old law (1970), called the Controlled Substances Act, that has been largely ignored when it comes to veterinarians and drugs. However, for some reason, the DEA recently decided they should be enforcing the law.

The Controlled Substances Act prohibits veterinarians from transporting certain drugs, like euthanasia solution and some sedatives, to another facility. That includes your horse farm. The bill in the House is written to amend the Controlled Substances Act, so that veterinarians can continue business as usual, bringing drugs they might need on location.

What does that mean for you? If the amendment to that 1970 law isn’t passed, you could be transporting your horse to the vet clinic for certain procedures, including euthanasia. It also means small animal veterinarians will no longer be able to offer similar in-home services.

However, many people believe that the bill is written to stop veterinarians from transporting the drugs. What they don’t understand is that the “stop” part is already in place.

The American Veterinarian Medical Association worked with lawmakers and found a lawmaker “sponsor” for a bill to rewrite/amend the veterinary part of the Controlled Substances Act. The bill quickly gained support in Washington and has officially passed the Senate. Now the House of Representatives must decide. If the bill passes the House, it goes to the President for signing. I cannot imagine how anyone with a lick of sense wouldn't sign it into law.

But it’s worrisome nevertheless, as it’s a potentially significant problem for us, our horses and our vets. It’s also a concern to me that so many people, even veterinarians, have it completely backwards, thinking that IF the bill passes, it will be a problem.

That belief is understandable, of course, as it boggles the mind that lawmakers didn’t think to put in a provision for veterinary medicine in the first place! So there you have it. As always, I upload things to Amy I think might be interesting to MyHorse readers. It's her choice whether to use them or not. If I have one I really want her to use I might add, "Pretty, please." Otherwise, it's her call.

If you want to express your feelings on this issue, please do! There are a number of Internet links that will help you do just that, including: http://avmacan.avma.org/avma/issues/alert/?alertid=63048321

Take a couple of minutes to do that right now. You owe it to your horse, who will ultimately suffer the consequences if we don’t get that amendment.