Your Rights As A Consumer

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I spent many years in the horsey areas of Lexington, Ky., and Middleburg, Va. it's amazing how spoiled you become in areas like this.

Where I live now there are only a couple of tack stores within reasonable driving distance, and they're not well-stocked. My friends and I are forced to Internet shop a lot.

Contrast that to Lexington, where horse stores advertised sales in the local paper. You could purchase The Blood-Horse virtually anywhere, and the newspaper, now the Lexington Herald-Leader, had horse news on page 1.

In Middleburg, during a lunch hour, I could walk to three different places for horse supplies, and at the time, the local Safeway carried The Chronicle of the Horse, right alongside Good Housekeeping. A blanket repair, such as we discuss on p. 1, was as easy as getting your clothes dry-cleaned.

But the best part about these areas was that you could always find an educated farrier or veterinarian. These professionals were up on the latest trends and technologies. Sadly, that's not the case in many areas, and it's worrisome.

We frequently receive reader calls from concerned subscribers who can't get an answer from their veterinarian about a problem they're having. Usually, it's relatively simple, such as the amount of glucosamine you need in a product in order for it to be effective or how to use Venice turpentine. Sometimes, though, it's because their veterinarian was dismissing their problem or refusing to discuss devil?s claw vs. bute for pain relief.

As you know, veterinarians stock medications to sell to you, and they do make a small profit. Most will sell you what you need to get started and write a prescription for you, if you know of a place where you can get the drug more cheaply (they can't stock enough product to get quantity purchase discounts like a large online pharmacy can).

Sure, they're technically ?losing money? if you don't buy the drug from them, but they went to vet school to learn to treat animals, not to become a drug store, and most acknowledge that.

don't be deceived. Veterinary medicine is a business, but if a vet treats your animal he can't refuse to write you a prescription. He may try, especially if you're asking questions about compounded medications (p. 7), but a good veterinarian isn?t going to be taken back by your concerns.

If your vet gives you a hard time for asking questions or downplays something you?ve read in Horse Journal ? or any other reputable horse publication ? ask them to read the article. They may not read it word-for-word, but if they refuse entirely, find out what their rationale is and if it's legitimate. Maybe they're concerned about a side-effect that you weren?t aware of for your individual horse. If the reason makes sense, that's great. If not, well, I'd research it.

We know we raise eyebrows. But, we're helping you look out for your horse and your wallet.