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Trailering to a vet

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  • Trailering to a vet

    So for all my horse owning life I've been lucky and never had to take a horse off property for a vet appointment. Then two and a half years ago my mare had to have a melanoma removed and later had treatments at the same vet. This was all while we lived in Virginia and I like the vet we went to. Now we've moved and go to a different vet for her treatment every 6 months and I'm just not sure what's normal and what's not.
    Min Virginia they always let me go with her. Whether it was to the exam room or if they were packed just giving her the shot in a stall I was there. They talked to me about everything along the way.
    Well the current vet doesn't allow people in the appointment. My mare is very much a one person horse and when in different places she gets very upset if she can't see me or one of my family members. So she got upset and they decided to give her a sedative without consulting me. She's a very light weight and had to be trailered home. Luckily they gave her very little and she was fine traveling.
    My question is is this the normal set up? I can understand not allowing owners in the exam room but is it normal to sedate a horse without talking to the owner?

  • #2
    I have never been made to stay out of exam. I have a one person horse and no way---deal breaker, not only would he behave poorly I would get a attitude as well. I would consider trying someone else.


    • #3
      Definite no. That is not a vet I would use. My vets value and respect my opinions as owner/rider/caretaker/financially responsible party, and wouldn't ask me to step out of the room. For certain procedures like standing surgeries and MRIs, the tech is the one to hold the lead rope due to liability concerns, but I've never once had a vet or tech take a horse out of my sight. During surgery, they open the blinds so I can watch through the glass, and have even invited me to scrub in and sit with an intern (out of the way) to watch an elective surgery.


      • #4
        It is time for a new vet.

        Years ago, parents were always asked to leave when their children had minor procedures. A few old pediatricians and pediatric nurses still ask parents to leave. When I used to stitch up children every weekend, I told anxious parents that they didn't have to stay but that my job was easier if they would sit next to the child and talk, sing or tell stories while I worked. Occasionally, all of us in the procedure room would break into a chorus of Old MacDonald had a farm. Procedures were so much easier with cooperative children and helpful parents.

        You should stay with your horse. If the vet is worried that you will pass out, you can sit in the corner of the exam room. If the vet doesn't understand, she is not confident in her skills, does not value owners, plans to let a student or tech do the procedure, or has another issue.


        • #5
          PrincessPonies I am assuming you asked & were told no owners allowed in treatment area?
          If staff gave you the info, I'd ask the vet him/herself.
          IIWM, I'd be looking for another vet & ask that question first.

          I attended my horse's colic surgery back in the early 90s.
          You could even say I assisted as I held the Ringer's bags.
          The surgeon told me I could be there as long as I followed her 3 Rules:
          *No crying
          *No screaming
          *No criticizing her stitching

          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


          • #6
            OP I think I would be looking for an alternative vet. I have always been able to stay with my horses when they were taken to the vets. I even got to observe most of the eye surgery done on my mare and that was done under general anesthesia.
            There were only a couple of things over the years where they would not let me stay with the horse or observe from a distance, one being when my gelding had a displacement and as a last ditch effort they tried to roll him to fix it (the procedure failed, I am glad I was not there) and the other being when they both anesthetized and woke up the mare who had surgery.
            ETA: While I have been able to stay with the horses for procedures, a tech always handled the horse from the time it left the stall until it returned to stall for liability reasons.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone for the replies. You've confirmed what I already thought that this wasn't normally. It started out that this was the only vet in the area who would give the treatment and the first time I went we were also doing X-rays and I let it slide because of that. I'm virginia they said I could watch the surgery but I didn't want to. What really got me was the sedating her without talking to me first, though I was put off the first time they told me I couldn't go in with her to the exam room. I'm going to be looking for another vet to give the treatment before next time even if I have to travel a little further.


              • #8
                I've worked for a lot of different veterinary hospitals; I've taken my horses to even more on top of it.

                To play devil's advocate-- while I understand wanting to be with your animal, you also have to consider the veterinarian's safety. Some owners can escalate a situation, or have a way of distracting the vet from doing their job. Even if you are a "good" owner, more often than not, owners can be more of a liability than a benefit. There are times when you just don't want them present.

                Sedation can be a necessary evil for the safety of everyone involved. If an animal is acting up, a vet should have the prerogative to sedate the animal as needed. Some times it isn't safe for humans or horses to wait around for the owners' permission.

                If you trust this vet and like the work being done, neither of these things should be a deal-breaker.

                With that said, as a client, I don't like being taken advantage of or being saddled with unnecessary charges. For example, once a veterinarian charged me a hefty sedation fee in conjunction with an appointment for vaccinations/Coggins (a farm call which I could not attend in person due to work). My horses are so well behaved for injections that I've used them as teaching animals for veterinary students, so when I got the bill, I called and asked the vet what on earth happened that warranted both of my horses needing sedation. He told me it was just his standard procedure to sedate all animals for injections, and that response miffed me. My horses got an unnecessary extra injection and I had to pay ridiculous markup on sedation that was not needed whatsoever.
                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                • #9
                  Occasionally it can be called for, like for Nuclear scintigraphy.

                  other than that, I prefer to be there.