I think I paid an extra $30-40 (on top of regular farm call) for an emergency. Does your vet have partners, or is this on top of his regular hours? There are 4-5 vets in the practice I use, so it is easier for them to absorb emergencies (I guess) into regular working hours.
I honestly don't think $120 is all that absurd for an equine vet.
I also believe that you get what you pay for in veterinary medicine (no flaming please), not to say that vets should charge outrageous charges, but don't forget you ARE paying for a service (and vets don't make that much money) and if you want the vet out there early in the am or in the middle of the night you should expect to pay extra, and $75 doesn't seem that steep of an extra charge for after hours (for me at least)
My vet charges $100 to come out after 10 pm or on weekends. Otherwise its $40 for a barn call before 5. If you call between 5 and 10 its $75.00. Thats when you call not when he gets there, unless its really bad and hes there all night, which he has stayed in my barn all night once with a colicky horse. My vet is awesome and worth every penny.
When the going gets tough, the tough grab mane and kick on!
"Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin
J Swan- I've seen the decrease in equine vets. Its such a highly competitive field (LOTS of politics) and some vets just shut the others out and make all the money. Some vets will lose clients just because Jane Doe's horse died under its care (and it doesn't matter if God himself couldn't save it!)
I think its absurd. When you are a large animal vet you know going in that its a 24/7 type deal.Horses dont get sick just between 9-5 weekdays. I was charged a $75 off hours call fee for having a vet who was ALREADY at the barn check a scratch on my horse. Total bill was $152 to comfirm he did not need a stitch and to vaporise yellow stuff I already OWNED.
Well, that vet can count me out as a customer.
As I stated to her upon receiving her bill: its high way robbery.
What I see around here is fewer and fewer vets that offer emergency service or after hours service. We're told to either wait until office hours, or take them to the local referral hospital for emergency treatment.
Believe it or not, there would have abeen several times I would have been GRATEFUL to pay $120, as long as it meant I could get emergency treatment, and not have to stick a colicing or hemorraging horse on a trailer.
I don't have any geriatrics, but I'd live in terror if I did--if they went down in the middle of the night, and I couldn't get them on a trailer, I'm not sure I could find a local vet to come.
Heather, when we moved to the new property, I tried valiantly to use the "local" vet. They are a large and small animal clinic and take cattle and horses. Well, my previous experiences had been with a top notch facility that has four or five equine-only vets, so it was a bit of a shock. They wouldn't take calls after hours and had a referral number for small animals only. I tried another "semi-local" clinic that at least had a real equine practice. It was going OK until the night I was out of town on business and my non-horsey husband got home to find our two year filly down and in pain. My trainer came out and stayed with him and wait to see if the Banamine would soothe her. It did not and her husaband had to come help them get the horse in the trailer. It is now after 10:00pm on a week night, I am making calls to the clinic while he takes the horse in. We paged the on-call vet four times and had not heard anything. I told him to keep driving and I would call my old clinic. I should have called the non-page-returning clinic owner and explained why he lost my business, but after the filly died on the operating table, I just couldn't face the call. They could not have saved her either.
Needless to say, I now haul over an hour away for routine stuff like Coggins and floats, because I know my vet will be there when I need them. There have been times when I would have gladly paid $120+++++ to get someone to the farm, but there is no one in my rural area that wants to deal with horses.
Twice we have been in situation that have looked bleak and twice the vets at the "real" clinic have offered to come out if we had no other choice. They knew as I did that getting the horse in was the best bet.
I think it is criminal the charges most vets bill before they even lay eyes on the horse. While I realize vet school is expensive and equipment is expensive, I think their outrageous bills are the reason so many people cannot take better care of their animals.
I had a vet say once (while I was standing there) how frustrating it is for him that people wait so long to call or don't call ... and I looked him point blank in the eyes and said that it isn't surprising considering what the average person has to pay to just have the vet look at their horse. Even if you are making good money, how long does it take for the average horse owner to earn $120 ???
I took one of my horses to a clinic to have stifle x-rays done. I called ahead and was blunt - I'm coming for x-rays and that is it. I don't want your vet looking at them, giving me an opinion or anything other than taking an xray. When I got there, the vet (young) jerked the shank out of my hands, and proceeded to do flexion tests ... I quickly stopped him and reminded him I wasn't interested in his input or opinion that I was only there for xrays. My husband was mortified; but, I didn't care. Then the vet tried to tell me the horse was worse after flexion ... and I asked him which horse he was looking at.
The horse was a bit upset, so I asked the vet to lightly sedate him. When I saw what he was going to use, I stopped him and said, no, just give him 1/2 of that... he doesn't have a normal reaction to sedatives and that much will lay him out. He didn't listen, and needless to say, it took all of us to keep this horse up on his feet.
We got the x-rays and there was nothing remarkable, so I asked the young vet to block the hocks (but again explained I didn't want an exam - I only wanted them blocked). Now, we have a horse that is still pretty groggy ... and this young vet decides to spin him around to test for EPM ... before I could stop him, my horse was on the ground (literally, sitting on his butt!).
Well, needless to say, my vet showed up right as I was teaching this young kid how to use four letter words in new and creative combinations!! My vet laughed and asked if I didn't make myself clear about not wanting his help or input and if I cleared the horse getting as much sedation as he gave.
Well, along came the bill (while I was still fumming mad) with tons of "extra" charges. I borrowed the vets pen, crossed out that which I did not authorize and then wrote a check for the rest. My parting comments were ... please, sue me, and I'll be happy to see you in Court.
These stories are very illuminating. Can anyone tell me how much malpractice insurance costs vets, what sort of overhead they have, etc? I don't want to unfairly malign vets -I have a lot of respect for a person that will drive to your barn in the middle of the night to stick his/her arm up your horses' butt.
On the other hand, I've seen many changes in the profession (from a customer's viewpoint) - that seemsto indicate a more obvious businesslike manner in vets. (I'm not saying this is bad at all). I'm just used to having my horse treated by a James Herriot type - a person dedicated to treating animals and not minding if he has holes in his shoes. Is that realistic?
Any vets or techs wish to weigh in on this? Perhaps this is the subject of a different thread. What are we getting for these apparant exorbitant fees - what challenges does the equine vet face in today's market? What does the vet expect from us as a client and horse owner?
"He doth nothing but talk of his horse." Shakespeare - The Merchant of Venice
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Dianna- I hate to say it but when people come in with their animals and don't want an exam jsut so they don't have to pay an exam fee, quite frankly makes us cringe.
Did you expect that they were really going to take x-rays and just hand them over to you?
Did you really expect that they were just going to block the hocks for you only charging for the materials?
Vets put themselves in dangerous, crazy situations everyday and people walk all over them. Granted maybe your horse wasn't crazy and he was sedated, but how is the vet supposed to know that?
You can't expect services done without paying for the service.
If you expect to get x-rays and hocks blocked (which isnt exactly just sticking a needle in, it involves finding the right nerve) and expect to self diagnose, you're looking in the wrong place by going to the clinic, because that is just not fair to the vets.
Chances are when the vet was doing the flexion, he was just trying to help...that IS his job after all.
** I do agree that the vet was a little naive by not listening to you, but don't forget you waltzed in there telling people you wanted them to do things but not pay an exam fee, a vet usually doesn't listen when people talk like that. And yes it was ridiculous to do an EPM test with the horse sedated.
Excuse me for the flaming, but when you see this everyday it gets a little frsutrating and hard not to say anything.
My normal farm call is $30. I haven't had an emergency call in eons (knock on wood) but knowing the way my vet (probably soon to be ex-vet) keeps jacking his rates on everything else, his emer. call is probably about the same.