Get On Your Vet`s A List

As an equine veterinarian, I have the unique pleasure of getting a peek inside the lives of several people each day, and WOW…there are some characters in the horse world! One thing they have in common, though, is they want what’s best for their horses.

Of course, you are confident in the veterinarian you have chosen for your horse. What you may not realize is that it’s a two-way street. We vets would like to be confident in our clients, too. So, after many years of sometimes awkward, occasionally frustrating, and every now and then comical situations with many different clients, I’ve developed these tips for horse owners.


If you page the vet, answer the phone when we call. Almost half the return calls I make during an emergency aren?t answered. We know each minute can feel like an eternity when you’re worried about your horse. We also know that you may not have a cell phone or good cell-phone reception, but you need someone who can answer at the number you leave for us to call back. It will get things rolling faster, and you’ll ensure that we’ll give top priority to your calls for help in the future.


Be ready to give ?medical information? when we call. I’ve called into scenes that sound like a horror movie is playing in the background. We empathize, but it slows things down if you’re screaming or crying. Jot down notes and have them in front of you when we call. Have a brief timeline, outlining when the problem started and how it’s progressed. Get the horse’s vitals ? temperature, pulse and respiration ? if you safely can. Be sure you know the address where the horse is located, as we may not be in our office to look it up! All this will help us give you preliminary advice and get us to you more quickly.


No distractions. As much as we all love dogs and kids, they’re two significant variables that we often can’t control. They often times also happen to be variables that do not mix well with a nervous horse being worked on by the vet.

it’s the same with Lookie Loos. Unless you need someone there to assist you, it’s better for all involved if you ask unnecessary people to leave. it’s no secret that everyone has an opinion in the horse world, and that we all firmly believe that we are right 100% of the time! However, those opinions can really slow an appointment down. As the vet, we are a guest on the property and we’re uncomfortable asking ?extra? people to leave.


Equine vets are used to a physically laborious lifestyle. We also realize that horses are ranch animals, but I can tell you that there are certain farms in which I love to work, and certain farms that I prefer to avoid like the plague due to the facilities. If you have a clean facility that is well-suited to handle horses, we’re pleased. If you have lights, we are downright happy. If you have hot water, we’re THRILLED!

5 Halter in hand.

Having your horse caught, wearing a properly fitting halter and lead rope, groomed with hooves picked and ready for your appointment makes vets smile (at least on the inside) .

6 Follow our advice.

Many times I’ve been befuddled to learn I prescribed a treatment that the owner didn’t follow correctly. When vets make recommendations, we expect the horse to respond in a certain way. If you call a week later to say the horse is no better, we assume our treatment didn’t work.

The consequences are a prolonged problem for your horse, more expense in time and money for you (since we have to do more work), and frustration for us because we have to figure out why your horse didn’t respond. If you’re uncomfortable with your veterinarian?s recommendations for whatever reasons, please say so immediately. it’s better in the long run.

7Avoid ?same-day? cancellations.

Emergencies can happen on your end, too. We understand. However, canceling an appointment 24 hours ahead of time helps everyone. Most equine vets have about five appointment slots per day, due to travel time. If you cancel last-minute, someone else missed out on an appointment that day.

8 Communicate with your vet about your bill.

We also know that unforseen circumstances can arise that prohibit you from paying your bill on time, but the worst thing you can do is avoid calls about payment. If you’re having trouble, say so. We?ll work out a payment schedule. Even a partial payment is better than operating incommunicado.

Your veterinarian is important to you and your horse. Yes, a good vet treats all the horses our clients own equally, but not all barns and clients make our A list. If you’re not trying to be there, you could find yourself referred to another practice.

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