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Vet hitting horse

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  • Vet hitting horse

    Hi guys, I had a very upsetting experience today, and would like thoughts and opinions.
    I am usually the FIRST person to discipline on the ground as needed for rude behavior. I don't tolerate being run over, pushed into, etc, and expect all my horses to be very polite, ground tie, lead softly, you get the picture.

    So here's he question:
    How would you respond to a vet tech being extremely rough with your horse for no good reason?

    Today I had a tech start wailing on my very well mannered OTTB mare because she wasn't standing the way he wanted for an Xray. She kept resting the foot of the leg he was was trying to shoot, and that was his immediate response. The hits were hard enough that she got really scared- shes sensitive. From there, the whole thing went south obviously. He said "stop being a brat" because she was tentative about him approaching her afterwards, to which I replied "you hit her, what do you expect"? The VET then replied "she deserved to be hit". At one point after he hit her a second time her shoe got stuck on the mat, and as she tried to move away from him, her hind leg bent out at what looked like a 90 degree angle. I don't even know how the bone didn't just snap, it was gnarly.

    To be clear, these were not taps to ask her to move her hid end. These were angry, HARD, and aggressive whacks. The tech was some kid in his twenties.

    Vet is very reputable in the area, and knows what he's doing.

    What would you have done? I'm pissed, and I am NOT a sensitive person.

    TIA

  • #2
    Find another vet. I won't deal with angry, mean, violent men. And I certainly won't want them around my animals.

    too many other choices in life to put up with this. And I would tell the vet this when I notify them that I'm gone.
    "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

    Comment


    • #3
      Sadly my understanding is that the younger large animal vets have little to no experience with horses. Their ability to deal with them is very limited. I'm not sure why, but a friend who had to take her horse to Tufts recently told me some very bizarre stories in terms of how they were handling the horses. Find another (older) vet.
      "Do what you can't do"

      Comment


      • #4
        While I don't mind a vet reprimanding a horse that's out of line, and have seen some seriously scary things when a vet is afraid to be firm, what you're describing sounds totally different and inappropriate.

        If the vet is part of a larger clinic, it could be worth taking to higher ups. If it's an independent practice, you've got little recourse, but I sure wouldn't use him again.

        Agree that vets (and techs) coming out of school now often have little actual horse experience

        Comment


        • #5
          Well that was pretty stupid anyway - how is hitting her going to work???? How about picking up the opposite leg so she will weight the leg you want to shoot. DUH!!! We are supposed to be smarter than the horse. Depending on your alternatives I would look into switching vets.

          Years ago I had to switch vets because my wonderful large animal vet decided to go to human medical school. Back then we had to tube horses for worms and he would just go in the stall by himself, throw the lead rope over the horse's neck and run the stomach tube. Easy peasy. No twitch, no fight.

          So when the new vet came she was scared of my horse. "He's so BIG!!!". Horse was 16.1 hand WB, not an Arab like she was used to. So she had to get her huge husband to help and they had problems - horse didn't trust these TWO new nervous people. Then I moved on and started hauling to an equine vet clinic. No problems. New vet " I love treating these _____horses. They are so easy to deal with." And he was. Some people are not a good fit for some horses.

          Comment


          • #6
            If it was just a vet tech that your actual vet sent out, I'd definitely ask the vet not to send that tech out again - that you want someone else next time. If that's not an option, then, yes, I'd be searching for a new vet.

            I had a farrier like that eons ago. My pony disliked/distrusted him and the farrier would pop him on the side/under his barrel with his rasp to make him behave. When I objected, he said it was the only way with ponies... we replaced the farrier as quickly as we could. Pony has behaved perfectly with the farrier ever since.
            ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

            Comment


            • #7
              Hmm that’s a tough one. Everyone has bad days, however that’s also not a reason to take it out on an animal, especially someone else’s animal. I also don’t like that the vet sided the tech and not the owner if it clearly caused the situation to get worse.

              I typically wouldn’t care if someone smacked my gelding, he’s lazy and stubborn so he sometimes needs to be asked twice.
              My 2yo filly though? She likely would have hit the ceiling.

              Anyone that works with animals needs unwavering patience.

              Comment


              • #8
                Long ago we had a two week old TB foal that had bit too much of a leg deviation.
                It needed x-rays and a brace for a bit.
                Our old vet had retired and we were using this new vet for about two years and seemed like a good vet.

                We had his dam there, was holding the foal under the neck and tail.
                Foal had been worked with, was kind of halter broke already and standing there nicely for all the prodding and setting the foot on the block and x-rays, which the vet was taking his time with.

                Finally we were ready to add the brace and vet reached suddenly for the leg and pulled on it, surprising the foal, that was getting tired.
                Foal pulled leg back and vet then hit him hard on the shoulder, yelling at him.
                Foal then would not stand there.
                Every time vet got close he was scrambling trying to get away.
                Vet was getting more mad and yelling, so I told him, "hey, you hit and yell at him and he got the message to stay away from you".
                What I really wanted to say would not have been polite.

                We finally got the brace on and left, never to set foot there again.
                Foal's leg straightened and he was fine and still liked people afterwards.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'd be furious. I dislike people hitting horses without a clear reason (like horse tried to bite) and won't tolerate it.

                  I'd start with a strongly worded complaint to the vet practice and see what they had to say but the tech would never touch horse again.
                  Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have never had my male vet nor any of his techs hit or discipline my horses....in fact the techs immediately ask me if they need a horse moved, leg picked up, needs to stand differently etc....I know the horses the best, they are there to do the job required.
                    Especially doesn’t make sense to beat on one you want to get films of. X Ray equipment is 100’s of thousands of dollars and a nervous scared horse isn’t going to be an easy patient.....in the case of a leg not staying in place, I normally just gown up and hold the opposite leg so they stand and we can get done quickly....if the horse was nervous or upset by the films, my vet would snooze him or her so it’s a painless process for everyone.
                    Time to find a new vet....anyone that raises a hand to my horses before I do can take a hike.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Time for a new vet. I would file a complaint with the state Board of Veterinary Medicine. If they get multiple complaints, they will likely make the vet get some education in how to handle horses and clients, as well as in anger management. Most Boards investigate all complaints very seriously.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd tell this vet to take a hike.
                        As another poster said, just pick up the opposing foot. If things get too hairy, a little tranq will solve the problem.
                        I'll whack a horse with it's lead rope if it rudely gets in my space or stands on my foot or bites me but there are far better ways to deal with fidgeting horses who are in uncomfortable situations.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          When I was attending college, i was really upset with how their equine program was run. It is a good thing my scholarship covered my tuition because I would have sworn I knew more about horses then my instructors. For the equine dental program, they took a hammer to tap out a wolf tooth, with no sedation. It would not surprise me if that horse had serious trust issues after that and probably some permanent mouth pain.

                          For the vet school, i thought they treated the horses like lab rats.

                          I would call and complain to the vet and i might even want some of my money back...At least ask them to waive the visitation fee. If the vet is unreasonable, post a review online while being as factual as possible.

                          I had a vet up for my horse with colic. She put a metal twitch on my young horse, which terrified my horse. Her respiratory rate went through the roof, she nearly went over backwards and was trying to get away. It was the type of twitch- I've never had that reaction with a rope twitch.

                          I never let her back on the property after that. We could have lightly sedated, if necessary. A metal twitch pinches hard, and you can't adjust it like a rope one. That mare has never needed to be twitched for anything...

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Thanks for the replies everyone. The fact that it was a first resort (instead of you know, asking her to move her hind end over, pulling her tail, or asking me to back her up a step) is mind boggling and messed up.

                            I just sent a message to the vet, relaying all this info, and telling him that this kid is in for a long career if he can't get a handle on the very basics of handling animals.

                            People make me so mad sometimes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Torre View Post
                              Hi guys, I had a very upsetting experience today, and would like thoughts and opinions.
                              I am usually the FIRST person to discipline on the ground as needed for rude behavior. I don't tolerate being run over, pushed into, etc, and expect all my horses to be very polite, ground tie, lead softly, you get the picture.

                              So here's he question:
                              How would you respond to a vet tech being extremely rough with your horse for no good reason?

                              Today I had a tech start wailing on my very well mannered OTTB mare because she wasn't standing the way he wanted for an Xray. She kept resting the foot of the leg he was was trying to shoot, and that was his immediate response. The hits were hard enough that she got really scared- shes sensitive. From there, the whole thing went south obviously. He said "stop being a brat" because she was tentative about him approaching her afterwards, to which I replied "you hit her, what do you expect"? The VET then replied "she deserved to be hit". At one point after he hit her a second time her shoe got stuck on the mat, and as she tried to move away from him, her hind leg bent out at what looked like a 90 degree angle. I don't even know how the bone didn't just snap, it was gnarly.

                              To be clear, these were not taps to ask her to move her hid end. These were angry, HARD, and aggressive whacks. The tech was some kid in his twenties.

                              Vet is very reputable in the area, and knows what he's doing.

                              What would you have done? I'm pissed, and I am NOT a sensitive person.

                              TIA
                              I would have stepped in and separated the tech from the horse, and called it a day for that tech, the first time he got tough with the horse. I would have stated as matter of factly as possible "That's enough of that. Let's call it a day, you can go on to your next appointment." I'm sure the tech would try to 'discuss' the issue, but I'd stand firm and probably walk the horse back to his stall while the tech was 'discussing'. If getting him to leave meant I had to say "I'm sorry but I just don't allow my horses to be treated like that" then I would say so. I would assume that the tech would behave as if I were the idiot, the one who allowed their animal to step on people, and that's ok.

                              The tech obviously didn't have enough patience with horses, and my problem is that I don't have patience for people like the tech. If they are out there as a large animal tech, it's their job to know better. If they cared , they would have learned better methods.

                              Definitely would report to the vet after the tech was off the property. I have no doubt that any vet would want to know and would send out someone else who was competent.

                              Years ago I might not have been as assertive, as my default is to respect the professional that I have called to come out, and give the benefit of the doubt that they know how to make things work out. But these days I know that there are too many who don't have a clue. No idea how they graduate and get jobs, but they do. And there are enough good pros out there in any discipline that my horse doesn't have to endure the idiots.

                              Over time I've become much more forward as my horse's advocate. The horse really doesn't have anyone else, and they have no voice and no standing without a human to back them up.

                              So all that said - I also think that the owner has some responsibility to help make the tech's job possible if the animal is not cooperating. Before it got to the meltdown stage for the tech, I would have intervened to better control the horse's movement and make it possible. If the tech was obnoxious about my help, and then began behaving abusively toward the horse, then I would have called off the appointment.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                As I've said on COTH before, I'm a yoga teacher crunchy granola ahimsa personality. But I also do joy jisu and might just rip the larynx of vet tech treating my horse that way out with my bare hands.

                                Call the vet's office and complain. Hard and noisy.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Appointment would have IMMEDIATELY been stopped by me in no uncertain terms. They would've been immediately told to leave and then I would be all over their higher-ups.
                                  "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You are saying the VET was present and supported the techs actions?

                                    I have had techs that were more business-like than I am handling the horses, who were generally quiet and polite for me to hold, but I also understand they may want horses that stand stock still and feel that a twitch is the first thing to use.

                                    I did stop using the vet who wanted to go straight to the twitch, the pony was a jerk all the time but the old guy was terrifically sensitive and fearful of the whole operation as soon as the twitch or the chain under the lip was applied. He was much less stressed IME if we just gave him his sedation for teeth without freaking him out first, and also for shots in general.

                                    I guess I am saying that I found a new practice.
                                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                    Incredible Invisible

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                                      You are saying the VET was present and supported the techs actions?

                                      I have had techs that were more business-like than I am handling the horses, who were generally quiet and polite for me to hold, but I also understand they may want horses that stand stock still and feel that a twitch is the first thing to use.

                                      I did stop using the vet who wanted to go straight to the twitch, the pony was a jerk all the time but the old guy was terrifically sensitive and fearful of the whole operation as soon as the twitch or the chain under the lip was applied. He was much less stressed IME if we just gave him his sedation for teeth without freaking him out first, and also for shots in general.

                                      I guess I am saying that I found a new practice.
                                      Yes, the vet, who I really like in terms of diagnosing and treating, backed his tech up, which is a huge bummer. I have seen this particular vet lose his temper twice before and kick a horse who was spooking, but I assumed that was an isolated incident.

                                      Not sure why you get into the field of helping animals and then act like that.

                                      Anyways, I sent the vet a long but respectful message with my concerns, and his response was "Thanks, I will have a talk with him".
                                      Doesn't quite cover it. How about "sorry you just shelled out 800$ for injections and xrays, and had your animal traumatized at the same time".

                                      To a previous poster, I absolutely should have stopped it. This vet is OLD- at the end of his career and respected. I guess that made me nervous about saying something. If the tech was alone, I would have told him to get lost.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I would not and do not allow my horse to be treated this way. Neither does she, and my good as gold chestnut mare would likely have knocked his block off for it, before I could even step in.

                                        It is hard, especially as a woman (because we are conditioned to avoid conflict to not be seen as a b!*&h), to step up and go against someone who is "above" us in knowledge or power. But you are the client, you are paying for a service, you hold the cards. AND you are the one who will have to deal with the aftermath of your horse being smacked around.

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