Unresponsive Vet; What Would You Do?
My two year filly came home from a month at a well known trainer's barn with a dry cough and slight runny nose. We were told that while there at the trainer's barn she received two antibodic injections for cough/upper respitory infection. After being home for a couple of weeks, she still had the cough and the runny nose has become more profuse. I called my farm vet who has treated my horses for 6 or 7 years. He gave her penicillian (powder form) for five days or so. The infection still hasn't cleared up, and the runny nose is worse and yellowish in color. I called him on Friday when another one of my horses starting coughing and he said he would be out the next morning. No show or call from my vet until Sunday early evening when he showed up unexpectedly. He suspected a gutteral pouch infection and said he "hoped it wasn't stangles". My vet was unable to scope her as he didn't have his scope with him. He was going out of town the next day and said that he would scope her later in the week. After doing some research on the web and comparing my filly's symptoms to those on the Merck Vet website, I was fairly certain that my filly had a gutteral pouch infection that was most likely caused by strangles (or strep). This morning I called my vet first thing in the morning and asked when he could come out and scope my horse. He replied "sometime later in the week" and when I pressed him for a more specific day and time, he said he had to take another call and basically hung up on me (really professional behavior!). Given that I have 5 horses at my farm who all could have been exposed to strangles, and a two year filly whose condition wasn't getting any better (in fact, the nasal discharge was worse) I called the vet clinic that had treated her when she was with the trainer and asked if they could examine her and scope her if necessary. I made an appointment for later that morning and loaded up my sick filly. About two hours later while driving to the vet clinic, my farm vet phones and says that he could come out later in the afternoon to scope her. I told him that it wasn't necessary as I was taking her to XYZ equine veterinary clinic since he was unable to give me a definitive day and time when he could come out and examine my horse. My farm vet went balistic, claimed I was over reacting, that her condition wasn't that serious, etc. and that I shouldn't believe what I read on ther internet. I told him that he was the person who suggested that she could have a gutteral pouch infection that was quite posssibly caused by strangles and that I wasn't willing to just let it go until he could fit me into his schedule. The vet clinic scoped her and confirmed that she does have a gutteral pouch infection and most likely has strangles, although we are waiting on the lab results to confirm it.
My farm vet did call me later to apologize for his angry outburst but is still insisting that I was over reacting. Personally, I feel four days from my initial call is more than enough time to expect a farm call unless it is for routine vaccinations, etc.
I have always had a good relationship with my regular vet and have been a loyal client for 8 years or more. I have spent thousands (probably tens of thousands) of dollars on the veterinary care of my horses. I am, however, more than annoyed at his unprofessional outburst and more importantly, his attitude that my horse's health condition "wasn't life threatening" so waiting another day or two wasn't a big deal. My question is what would you do in this situation? Would you find another vet for farm calls? What would you do in this situation?