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Choosing the Right Vet
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Choosing the Right Vet

Horses require routine examinations and vaccinations, not to mention emergency care in case any medical issues arise, so it’s important to always register your animal with a local equine veterinarian. Whether you’ve just purchased your first horse, relocated, or are simply looking for a replacement vet, you’ll want to make the best choice for your animal. A quick search online will usually reveal numerous local vets and it isn’t always obvious which one is right for you.

Here’s a few factors you should bear in mind, when choosing a vet for your horse:

  1. Location - this is especially important with equine vets as they tend to come to you, rather than you visiting their practice. In an emergency situation, you’ll want your vet on site as soon as possible.
  2. Experience - find out how much experience the vet has, including their educational background and qualifications. Check whether they’ve had experience with your particular type of equine, especially if you have a less common animal such as a miniature horse.
  3. Associations - check which professional associations they’re a member of, and do some research into any associations you don’t recognize.
  4. Availability - are they available for emergencies, late nights, weekends? No vet can promise 24/7 support, but a good veterinarian should make themselves as available as possible. Take the time to find out who steps in when your vet isn’t available, and do some research into their qualifications and experience. In the worst case scenario of an emergency arising and your regular vet being unavailable, you don’t need the additional stress of dealing with a complete stranger.
  5. Areas covered - what services and procedures do they offer? Routine examinations? How about surgery and specialist procedures? Choose a vet who offers the services that are important to you.
  6. Philosophy - ask the vet about their approach to treatment. Do they prefer gentle and coaxing, or a more forceful approach? More importantly, do you agree with their philosophy on how treatment should be administered?
  7. Recommendations - ask fellow horse owners for their opinion, and consider speaking to trainers and barn managers as these people are also likely to be familiar with local vets. This can be a quick and effective way to get a feel for a local vet, but bear in mind that you and your contacts may have a completely different idea of what makes a “good” vet.
  8. Price - check the cost of procedures, especially routine vaccinations and examinations that you’ll need to budget for every year. Securing the “best” vet in the area is no good if you can’t afford to call them out! It’s also worth checking whether the vet accepts payment plans so you can budget for medical expenses.
  9. Trial run - once you’ve found a vet who seems promising, it’s worth having them perform a routine examination, rather than waiting until your animal requires actual treatment. Pay careful attention to how they handle your horse, and how thorough they are. Of course you’ll have to pay for this examination, but it’s the best way to ensure the vet is right for you and your animal.
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Leave a Comment

  1. Rene Wright
    Rene Wright
    Voted. Great advice. It's really worth it to do your homework when it comes to vets!
    Log in to reply.
    1. Jessica Thornsby
      Jessica Thornsby
      Thank you! :) I agree, it's really important to do your homework and find a vet you're happy with!
      Log in to reply.
  2. PonyGirl
    PonyGirl
    Excellent advice in a well written article!
    Log in to reply.
    1. Jessica Thornsby
      Jessica Thornsby
      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :)
      Log in to reply.
  3. autumnap
    autumnap
    Voted! Good advice. It's worthwhile enquiring as to whether the vet is willing to split the cost of a routine call out (for vaccinations and the like) between you and others on the yard. Some will do this and some won't. A quick surf around the horsey forums is also a very good way of gaining recommendations - or not! x
    Log in to reply.
    1. Jessica Thornsby
      Jessica Thornsby
      Thank you! Splitting the cost between others in the yard is a really good idea, will remember that one in the future!
      Log in to reply.
  4. jst4horses
    We have been in the horse business a long time. Your comments are good ones, but the two I feel are most important is a referral from your own vet if you are leaving her/his area: and talking to the vet about horses. If the vet has a real love of horses, you are in a good spot, if the vet acts as if she/he is fixing bicycles, find another vet. OUR vets have recommended US. We just came out of a bad lease, and the horses were in muddy fields which we said "no more" and found a new stable, and hope to buy our own facility within the next two years, our vets STILL recommend US. When we had to move out of their travel area, they did recommend vets, and we are pleased. One of our vets still donates a lot of time for regular check ups and shots, and does not mind the travel, so that is really cool. ALL of our vets can be seen talking, calming, and loving horses. After as many years as some have worked, that is awesome. They are not quick to put down, but they keep us realistic, and we know when they say it is time, we need to listen, not argue. That to me is the most important second part of a good vet.
    Log in to reply.
    1. Jessica Thornsby
      Jessica Thornsby
      Thanks for your comments! It's so important to find a vet you're happy with - it sounds like you've found a really good one!
      Log in to reply.
  5. shumes
    shumes
    Great post! Voted up :)
    Log in to reply.
    1. Jessica Thornsby
      Jessica Thornsby
      Thank you! Glad you liked it! :)
      Log in to reply.

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