In CA I rarely had a vet bill over $400. I never had a major issue. I am praising God for that (smile). I did pay $1500 on Speedy's leg fungus but that over a 6 month vet back and forth period and $2500 to fix Stormy after he'd been abused at a trainers - but again, that was over 2-3 months of the vet coming out over and over. I mean in ONE visit for something relatively minor like a splint or a puncture or whatever (knowing things like punctures can be major is not treated correctly).
We moved across the country. I have all my horses vaccinated, teeth done, and evaluated when bought for issues. But I have had the vet out 4 times in 3 years for issues that are minor issues (one was a major issue).
Issue one - it was a false colic - meaning he was just a tad colicky and vet said though it was good he came out and we evaluated him and I walked him - and he gave him a few things to help him - he probably would have worked it out on his own. But he is my baby - at age 18 - and I do not want him to get bad sick. It cost me $500. I was not too upset about this but thought - wow, its a waste of money knowing now what I know but truth is - I didnt know that until after... so it wasnt really.
Issue two - a horse was evaluated for acting depressed and losing weight - the vet looked at him for 15 minutes and took a blood sample. His liver enzymes were messed up so he was put on two rounds of antibiotics and then another blood test done. The overall vet bill exceeded $700 and the vet was there 15 minutes. Just the visit and look at the horse was almost $200 of it.
Issue three - a horse got a puncture and the vet was there for 20 minutes - and horse was put on one round of antibiotics and had a few xrays (but their cost was $160). That bill exceeded $700.
A local guy who breeds QHs said the antibiotic I was paying $130 for - he paid his vet $30 for.
The Issue 4 was a BIG issue - a bad bad colick where we had to put the horse down. I have not asked the owners how much that cost but we disposed of the body to a place that gave a free autopsy so I feel good about it.
Now, my vet is young and I do not think I would call him out for lameness issues only because my experience is that if its a hock or a knee or something from athletic injury I want to call an experienced leg doctor - I was spoiled with a vet who had 20 years exp from the track in CA - but my friend's vet is a 2 hour drive away but in KY where he has a lot of experience with leg issues. BUT my vet has been right in the four issues mentioned above. I know of two horses that are ruined because of his mistakes though byfriends.... my real issue is that the bills seem twice at least what I am used to in southern CA.
What do you think? Are these high? He also shows up in burmuda shorts and flip flops and appears to be afraid of the horses. I like him personally but I just feel likewe are paying a lot.
I think I am going to make a list of every vet within 2 hour drive and anyone who is recommended - have their numbers and find out their backgrounds.
In CA I used 4 different vets for different things. I could still use this vet for my maintenance things - his assistant can still do all the shots - and she is also the equine dentist. I like her a lot. My vet - I do like him personally and he has gotten into some interesting specializations with some alternative therapies.... but I think for lameness and these wound issues or diagnosis of things or colics - I think I have to call someone else. I cant feel afraid of calling the vet because of vet costs.
I know as horse owners we have to be prepared to pay for things like this but I have never had a bill but less than half this big for things like this - a puncture and a 20 minute diagnosis with a blood test. The antibiotics just WOW expensive.... The people who have the horse with the puncture - they have decided to put the horse up for sale because they fear not being able to afford keeping a horse!
yea, it sucks bad how vet prices can vary from region to region. I have a friend who lives 2 hours from me. I'm near a major metro area and she's close to the WV/OH boarder. EVERYTHING is cheaper by my friend - vets, hay, grain, sawdust, fencing material, you name it.
Location, location, location...
my suggestion is to get talking to the area farms and ask them about who they use. Happy customers are the best advertising. start with the closest tack shop if you have one. If not, start with the various farms around you and move outward geographically. It may take you some serious turf pounding to get a variety of opins about the assorted vet fair. but if money is an object, do the homework and you can save some money.
I do know from talking to some vets around here that: Some get annoyed when folks only call on them for the little things like vaccines, then go to another vet for bigger stuff. Usually, though, the little things vet isn't qualified to do the big stuff anyway.
And I know from one of our boarders that: vets do not like when a client vet hops, then expects vet number one to clean up vet number 2's mess, just because owner wanted to save pennies. so be wise in how you change vets as bridges can get burned. The boarder that vet hopped in my barn now has two vet clinics that will not service her. It's a long story but I assure you that those vets were in the right.
Good luck, changing to a new price bracket can be a culture shock!
Welcome to my world. I was spoiled by my previous vet practice and faced a major sticker shock with the newer vet clinics around.
and a spin off..
I had a vet out vaccinate some goats and got into a friendly chat about worming practices... imagine my surprise when there was a $45 additional charge for "educational teaching" in all honesty I'd already read all the latest, and thought we were exchanging ideas.. er no
guess next time it will be little less talk, do your stuff and hit the road.. no time for chit chat
PS I once had a nearly 600 vet bill for routine rabies shots.. oh I am still spitting mad about that one.....
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It really depends. If you're in a really out-of-the-way area and the vet has to charge a farm call, $50-$75 of that could just be farm call fee. Add in $50 or $60 for an exam fee and medications, and yes it can easily be over $150.
My vet here charges $50 for a farm call, and it's all of maybe a 10 mile drive. But the clinic is awesome and I can call them at 2am on a Saturday night and get an immediate answer. They show up on time, don't lie about things they don't understand, and are very professional.
If you don't like the prices of this one vet, you can comparison shop. Vet prices differ so much just from one area of a state to another.