Refusing treatment because you cannot afford it is going to be tough to prove in court as animal abuse....which is termed as causing willful harm to an animal.
Many years ago, We had a horse with suspected EPM. He was in his mid 20s, with severe arthritis and blind in one eye...and we loved him and treasured every day we spent with him.
...two vet clinics were called, the EPM test was negative.....we chose not to do the EPM treatment, which was mega expensive back then and only SOMETIMES effective, we were told....but rather the horse was put on steroids to see if there was a neck problem causing his hind end progressive lameness that might heal ..... it did not. He continued to worsen until he had to spin to keep on his feet....despite mega doses of steroids. Our local vet did not have the necessary equipment to do a full set of neck x rays (which he advised were costly, and depending on the results, possibly not curable) so our horse would have to be trailered to New Bolton.....an impossible option....physically and financially. He would never be able to stand in a moving trailer as he was using his stall wall to stay upright at all....
He further deteriorated to where his breathing was compromised and we had him put down.
His condition had all the earmarks of EPM, but the negative test was shocking because it SEEMED as if he had EPM.... vets said it could be a number of other things, including arthritis in his neck, neck bone fracture, pinched nerve, other neurological diseases....etc
Still...if he had had EPM, with the treatment cost at the time, and it's questionable success rate, and the fact that this horse had other medical issues and was in his mid 20's, which would lessen his chances of successful treatment with the meds due to his immune system.....i would not have chosen to try the treatment.
Prince.... RIP golden boy
He will never be forgotten. We loved our horse, and we did the best we could for him. But refusing the EPM treatment does not signify abuse or neglect just because you disagree with it.
Our BO agreed with our decision, she actually thought we should have put him down sooner....but we held out hope that the steroids would work and whatever was causing his lameness would heal....be it a pinched nerve in his neck or what....we stayed the course till it was obvious that ALL hope had gone.
And I thank GOD our BO didn't call the humane people on us. That would have hurt us more than we already were hurting.