Here's the deal, I've been having a health issue and I put my horse in the care of a trusted friend. Friend is not only boarding my horse but is caring for her like one of her own. About a week ago my horse put a hoof through a fence a few days before I was set to go into the hospital. Its one of those things horses can do and will do at the worst possible times. My friend called out the vet as we had arranged in the case of any emergencies.
I don't know the vet she uses at all but I trust this friend's judgement, she thought that the hoof wound looked pretty deep. I spoke to the vet she uses who recommended xrays, anti-biotics and that my horse be moved to the vet clinic for observation (my friend has a pretty basic set up and is far from the vet so this made sense). I felt really nervous about this as I don't know the vet, couldn't see my injured horse so I really had to just trust this vet's opinion over the phone. I'm well aware of how a hoof injury can go downhill fast.
Anyways I was happy with my decision up until now. My horse has apparently recovered well, no infection has set in. I'm happy my horse is doing well my problem is that the vet keeps delaying when she feels my horse should be returned to my friend.
The original plan was for my horse to return to my friend's care on Wed., the vet explained that she wanted to keep my horse under observation until Sat. so before I went into the hospital it was confirmed by both of them. I was out of contact with my friend and the vet for a few days, I just spoke to my friend who said the vet thought it would be best keep my horse a few days longer and told my friend not to pick up my horse.
Now I'm starting to feel my trust is being taken advantage of by this vet. I don't blame my friend, she doesn't want to be responsible for making a health decision for my horse, she thought the vet had confirmed the second delay with me and she's already gone above and beyond for me. Not accepting any money for trailering my horse 1 1/2 hrs away for example. I feel like the vet shouldn't be deciding on how long my horse should remain in her clinic on my dime without consulting me. This vet is also aware of my health situation and hospital stay this week.
It could be that my horse does need additional care, I never saw the wound but I'm starting to have a hard time trusting this vet when its entirely in her interests financially to just keep my horse in her clinic. What do you guys think, do you think I'm being taken advantage of by this vet clinic? What would you guys do? I can't go see my horse or go pick her up, I can ask my friend to pick her up a.s.a.p. Or do you guys think that its unlikely that this vet is really out to scam me by gettting an extra weeks worth of clinic boarding and vet visits out of me?
Sorry for the novel, but this whole situation is just starting to not sit right with me and I'm beginning to regret agreeing to it even though I know how serious deep hoof injuries can become.
Just from reading your post, I'd say, yep, you're being had. However, from what I've seen of how our litigeous (sp?) society is, the vet may be going over and beyond what we consider normal, so that he/she has their buns covered if the hoof goes south.
Also, maybe the vet doesn't want to deal with your friend, even though you've authorized it.
Can you ask the vet to send report and photos of the injury?
Then call and speak to the vet personally?
I would guess that, yes, you are being taken advantage of but without more direct information you won't know for sure.
"The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp
Can you get your friend to take some good digital pictures of the wound and send them to you? And, get details from vet as to exactly what she is doing to treat the horse at this point and ask friend directly whether she is comfortable doing that herself or not.
I would guess that they (vet clinic) are taking advantage of your absense!! They make more $$$ for "in house" care. A fact of life! If the horse isn't on IV meds or intensive care, it should be released. I would think your friend could observe as well as the clinic..especially over a weekend when they are probably no on-site caregivers.
My horse lives 3,000 miles from me, so I have walked this walk before.
IMO, you have just two options:
1. You get very active with your horse's care and take full responsibility for what happens. You discuss the vet's opinion with him/her and make your decision based on what you learn. If you take the horse out AMA, you also find a place to put him if your friend doesn't want to continue. Even if your friend is willing to do that, you go to great lengths to reassure her that you won't hold her responsible for any failure that happens-- even if it's that she can't do some part of the treatment the vet instructs.
2. You thank your lucky stars that you have this set of people to pinch hit for you, you do what they say and you pay the bill. After all, your being absent puts an enormous amount of pressure on them. It's so much worse when the problem with a horse you are caring for belongs to someone else! Along these lines, you do your very best to not get pissy with the vet or your friend if you are suspicious of the vet's plan. Again, if you don't like the plan or lack of information that it's up to you to rectify that with a visit... or photos... or a phone call or whatever will satisfy you.
Maybe the first problem for you is to figure out just what it would take to satisfy you that they are doing what you would do, were you there. No one can meet a standard that they don't know about. And you can't be happy with what they do if *you* haven't gotten clear in your own mind about what those standards are.
This last bit of introspection is what I have had to do and what has worked really well for me.
And keep this basic "life triage" fact in mind, too: Your health comes before that of your horse. Do what you can to get Horseling treated the way you want for the price you want. And if you can't get that, sacrifice some pride and money to the project of getting yourself taken care of by letting go of managing the horse crisis perfectly right now.
Just my thoughts: I would keep in mind that this is YOUR horse, and that you unfortunately have to rely on the kindness and expertise of others. Unless you have a good alternative treatment plan involving your friend's willing help, I'd trust that the vet has your horse's best interests in mind. Better safe and more expensive than sorry for forcing your friend beyond the level of care she's comfortable giving your horse, or jeopardizing the healing process.
Remember also that this vet is treating a horse she doesn't know, with an absent owner who is in the hospital. I do not blame her for being conservative in treatment, and supervising the healing rather than send the horse back to your friend prematurely only to possibly have things go south. Then it would be a "she said /she said" situation, your friend versus the vet you don't know.
That said, you should certainly question exactly why the vet feels the horse needs to stay - what exactly is being done each day.
When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.
If I were the vet I would be concerned that the horse leaves my clinic back the friend and something happens - either lack of aftercare or infection sets in or something along those lines - and then you try and hold the vet responsible.
Or the vet might feel responsible.
Have you spoken with the vet directly? Perhaps after you have evaluated the situation directly with the vet s/he will feel better about discharging the horse back to your friend.
Sometimes wound care can be tricky. I am the worst foot wrapper, and I really don't like doing elaborate bandage changes. Maybe horse needs aftercare that friend doesn't feel up to doing correctly and, given how far vet is from friend, the most practical decision is for horse to stay with vet.
Why don't you just call the vet and ask whats going on. If your friend has just a basic set up the vet may think that's whats needed. Just call the vet and introduce yourself and quite second guessing everyone.
I agree, when you are feeling up to it, call the vet and have a chat about why the horse needed to stay.
Otherwise, pay the bill and don't worry about it. If you are on a lot of medication, or have other issues to worry about that make it impossible to get involved in this, let it go and chalk it up to those times in life when horses get expensive.
The vet clinic has limited stalls, so I doubt they are actively trying to rip you off.
Thanks everyone for your responses! I should have been more clear about the care my horse is receiving. Right after the injury was first treated my horse was getting antibiotic injections for a few days and wraps changed. I have been in contact with the vet over the phone from the beginning of this, but I'm not able to go to where my horse is.
The first plan was for my friend to pick up my horse on Wed. and she would be on stall rest at my friend's place. My friend has a stall, and from what I understood no more wrapping or meds were necessary. Vet said Wed. was the plan but didn't confirm a pick-up at that time, just wanted to see how the medical shoe was holding. Second conversation with vet my husband handled as I could not he said vet said to him 'horse should stay a few more days, a Sat. pick-up would be good'. My friend confirmed that she would pick up horse on Sat. and told me to rest and not worry about it.
Up until this point I figure the vet and my friend are just being conservative as yes, its hard treating someone else's horse when they're away. But when I heard from my friend that the vet had told her on Fri. 'actually we should watch this horse a few more days, don't come pick her up just yet' I'm not happy about it. My friend also thought the vet had spoken to me about the second delay. From what I understand my horse is just on stall rest at the vet clinic and I feel like past Sat. treatment is being done that I have not authorized. I'm sure it will be weeks if not months until this hoof injury grows out, I authorized acute treatment at the vet clinic not extended stall rest.
I'm now able to make phone calls and get involved so one way or another I'll get my horse returned. Its just a horrible feeling that someone else may be taking advantage of my situation, even if vet is being really conservative I also told her to call my cell if there were any changes and my husband would make a decision. The vet didn't do that, and my friend isn't available to go out there every day so every delay buys the vet several more days not just one or two.