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Vet practice can't keep vets

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    Vet practice can't keep vets

    Do you prefer a one vet practice or one that has multiple vets? I like the idea of having one that knows my horse and how he is but I'm not sure if that's the most important thing.

    I know records are kept but to me it's not quite the same as seeing same vet regularly.

    Just curious. The vet practice I use is a multi vet practice and they do a good job, are available in emergencies but seem to have a short retention period. I've owned my horse three years and they're on their fourth vet.

    #2
    Originally posted by rubygirl1968 View Post
    Do you prefer a one vet practice or one that has multiple vets? I like the idea of having one that knows my horse and how he is but I'm not sure if that's the most important thing.

    I know records are kept but to me it's not quite the same as seeing same vet regularly.

    Just curious. The vet practice I use is a multi vet practice and they do a good job, are available in emergencies but seem to have a short retention period. I've owned my horse three years and they're on their fourth vet.
    The vet practice that I use has several vets. When I schedule an appointment I can request the vet I want. If I do not care what vet (for scheduled appointments) they will give me whatever vet has time in their schedule that works for me. When I call with an emergency I get whatever vet is on call. I think this is the best of both worlds.

    Many vet practices take in a yearly intern vet, that will move on to other things once their internship is up. Could that be the turn over that you are seeing. I know the practice I use does this. They send out emails welcoming the new intern and then one saying goodbye to the old intern. Sometimes we get a 'where are they now' update on a past years intern.

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      #3
      In both Ohio and here in Florida I've used practices with multiple vets. At all of them, I always had a regular vet, and only ever used a different vet from the practice if it was an after-hours emergency or my regular vet was on vacation. All of them, I've typically scheduled directly with the vet, not the office. In Florida, my regular vet actually comes and does my emergencies as much as possible, even if she isn't one of the four vets they have on call during off hours. I will only schedule with my regular vet for non-emergencies, but I really like the fact that there's like four or more vets on-call at all times for emergencies.
      Last edited by mmeqcenter; Sep. 21, 2020, 07:38 PM.

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        #4
        Originally posted by trubandloki View Post

        The vet practice that I use has several vets. When I schedule an appointment I can request the vet I want. If I do not care what vet (for scheduled appointments) they will give me whatever vet has time in their schedule that works for me. When I call with an emergency I get whatever vet is on call. I think this is the best of both worlds.

        Many vet practices take in a yearly intern vet, that will move on to other things once their internship is up. Could that be the turn over that you are seeing. I know the practice I use does this. They send out emails welcoming the new intern and then one saying goodbye to the old intern. Sometimes we get a 'where are they now' update on a past years intern.
        Yep, this was always my experience as well. OP, if you have never specifically requested a vet, and/or you’re mostly referring to emergency calls, then it may be just luck of the draw, interns, etc. I don’t think you can know or draw any conclusions unless you inquire (tactfully) about the situation, or start requesting your favorite(s) and seeing who stays and who goes. If you’re happy with the overall service you’ve received, I’m not sure how much matters if they have a lot of turnover (because the owner is difficult, etc.). Though I could certainly see not wanting to support a practice that pays terribly or otherwise isn’t good to their workers if you have other options, or if you really would prefer more consistency.

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          #5
          I have always preferred multi-vet practices for the greater assurance of coverage in case of emergency. There has always been one of the vets that is "my" vet, does all the routine work, knows the horses well, etc. But with a multi-vet practice, in case of emergency, there will be other vets available to attend, and sometimes that is an important advantage. As others have already said, there are many reasons there may seem to be unusual amounts of turnover if you are not specifically requesting an individual.
          Equinox Equine Services

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            Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Redlei44 View Post

            Yep, this was always my experience as well. OP, if you have never specifically requested a vet, and/or you’re mostly referring to emergency calls, then it may be just luck of the draw, interns, etc. I don’t think you can know or draw any conclusions unless you inquire (tactfully) about the situation, or start requesting your favorite(s) and seeing who stays and who goes. If you’re happy with the overall service you’ve received, I’m not sure how much matters if they have a lot of turnover (because the owner is difficult, etc.). Though I could certainly see not wanting to support a practice that pays terribly or otherwise isn’t good to their workers if you have other options, or if you really would prefer more consistency.
            I used to request a vet but he left late 2018. The new guy did my horse's dental and fall 2019/spring 2020 shots last year but has already left and there are two new vets.

            I guess I'll see how the one I get is and go from there. I don't care who comes out for emergencies as long as they are qualified but it would be nice to have the same one for routine things.

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              #7
              Yup! I use a multi-vet practice, but I have a primary vet. I schedule with her (or her assistant) directly. I only see the other vets for emergencies (whoever is on call), teeth (the practice only has one specialist that does dentals), second/joint opinions on tough cases, or intake at the clinic (whoever is in-clinic that day).

              They also have a few interns every year, but they are typically traveling with another vet from the practice - not alone.

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                #8
                The practice I use is a large, multi-vet practice. They have some turnover, but there is a core of maybe 6-7 vets who have been with them for the more than 10 years I've been using them. As others have said, I like the idea that I have my "regular" vet who knows my horse. I've chosen him over the years because he's one of the best overall sporthorse vets in the practice, while others have different specialties. And now that I've used him for a decade, he knows my horses incredibly well.

                But I also chose this practice because they are full service. If my horse needs surgery, they have an operating room and a surgeon on staff. And there is always someone from the practice on call, from the main partners down through the newer vets. Also, when my horses have had puzzling problems, they have a regular staff meetings to discuss difficult cases, so I get the benefit of the full practice.
                Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

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                  #9
                  I have the same issue: the clinic we have been using has a lot of turnover: we just get to know a vet and they are gone. it is frustrating, but I do like the continuity of care by using the same clinic, particularly in an emergency, where having past notes might be important. One positive of the turn over, is that the new vets tend to come with new ideas and views that I have found valuable as well. I think it is important to know why they have high turnover though: if it was potentially because of shady business practices i would not use them.
                  Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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                    Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by CHT View Post
                    I have the same issue: the clinic we have been using has a lot of turnover: we just get to know a vet and they are gone. it is frustrating, but I do like the continuity of care by using the same clinic, particularly in an emergency, where having past notes might be important. One positive of the turn over, is that the new vets tend to come with new ideas and views that I have found valuable as well. I think it is important to know why they have high turnover though: if it was potentially because of shady business practices i would not use them.
                    That sounds like my situation. I have heard that practice owner can be difficult to work for. No idea if truth or rumor.

                    I miss the vet that left in 2018. He was awesome and he was the one I saw the most. He left to start his own practice but I'm not in his travel range.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I've used the same one-vet practice since 1985. He has always been able to get here for an emergency. I have never considered converting to a multi-vet practce, though there is a good one in the area.
                      Janet

                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

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                        #12
                        I use a multi vet practice. I don't worry about which vet is coming unless we're dealing with an ongoing issue - then I request the same vet. Over the years they've had a small number of vets I didn't like and made sure I didn't get, but they didn't last very long.

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                          #13
                          Huge vet practice for me. Here it seems like they mostly send the same person to the neighborhoods, so for normal work you usually get the same person, especially if you're flexible about what day. And you can *always* get someone in a hurry in an emergency. After reading about people on here who work with a single vet and the vet is on vacation when they have an emergency and no other vet will come because they're not existing clients...

                          Another benefit is that they have a wider range of specialties. When I was dealing with an eye issue that wasn't healing up as fast as expected they were able to send out an eye specialist for the same price as any other visit. And after it started healing she didn't need to be there in person, the other vets could send her pictures so she could still be involved--still for the same price I was paying already.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Many vet practices are having trouble with turnover. Equine practice is physically demanding. The hours are long. The pay seems good until you realize that is often for an 80 hour week. Monday, my daughter started work at 8am and finished at 1a. She worked from 8:30am until 7pm Tuesday. The rest of the week was 8 hour days. She is off this weekend, but yesterday a client brought a cat to her house for euthanasia. My daughter loves her job, but it is hard to work those hours year after year. Many people quit and go into small animal practice.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              When I used a large practice they had two main vets who were, I think, owners of the practice. Then there were one or two additional vets. They were usually younger vets not yet ready (probably financially) to establish their own practice. The young vets tended to change as they moved on in their careers. The older vets remained. You could ask for a specific vet if you were willing to wait. That worked out pretty well.

                              I currently used a two vet practice. They have been good in emergencies and do have arrangements with other vets when they are unavailable.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Our practice has many vets. Most clients schedule directly with their veterinarian of choice; some call the office, but it is generally noted on their account who they prefer. In an off-hours emergency, you get whoever is on call, unless your choice of vet happens to still be out/is willing to come out when they’re not on call. I have never had to wait more than 40min for an emergency call, from initial call placed to the answering service to arrival of a doctor.

                                Personally, I like this model. I still choose who does my work, but I know there are other competent people ready and able to step in if needed. If a horse needs to be admitted or have surgery, they already have his records, and access to his normal doctor. They have my address, my billing info, etc- no questions about whether I am a bad payer or if I’m in their service range.

                                A while back, I was farm sitting for someone, and one of their horses got kicked badly and needed an emergency call late on a Friday night. This person used a single-vet practice, and the vet was away. He had people lined up to cover for him, but it took about an hour and a half of phone calls (while trying to keep the horse stable) to find someone willing and able, and then another ~40 until arrival. I also know many vets (understandably, and rightfully!) are reluctant to take emergency calls from non-clients, especially late at night. Being a client at a large practice alleviates this concern.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I have had experience with both single vet and multiple vet practices. The pros and cons I have seen have been in line with other comments. Multi vet practices provide better coverage, especially in emergencies. With a single vet, you get to know him/her and he/she gets to know you and your horses. The single vet that I used for a number of years was really wonderful about calling me to talk about anything I needed help with, and would be very candid about whether or not he needed to see the horse. I learned a lot working with him. In most multi vet practices vets tend to have some specialization, which can be an advantage. I am currently using a multi vet practice, but if a vet that I really like goes out on their own, I would consider giving him/her my business.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I also have been using a multi-vet practice in the last 2 towns I've lived in. There are the conveniences that have been mentioned, plus a vet has others to call out to for another opinion at any time. The largest practice I worked with had specialists so that you knew you were getting one the best lameness vets, or neuro vets, and so on. Single-vet practices also help each other out this way, but all in one practice seems to allow that more quickly and efficiently.

                                    In your place I would probably start asking around as to why the high turnover. As you point out, it doesn't help the continuity of care, and it could indicate problems in the practice that can affect the care. Vets leaving after 5+ years wouldn't concern me, but vets leaving after 2 years or less on a regular basis would definitely concern me. A constant roster of new names without the old names would concern me.

                                    Are the new vets mostly fresh out of school or mid-career? Sometimes a practice in a less-populated, less busy area will be a place where new vets start their career, but also want to move on from for a busier, broader-scope and more lucrative practice.

                                    Is this a common issue among other practices in the area? How about small animal practices? That would indicate that it is a geographic area that is not lucrative enough for most vets. Doesn't fulfill their ambitions.

                                    Management issues could be interpersonal, or they could also be quality of care issues that the vet staff don't care for. Lack of resources; or perhaps pressure to make what the vet considers a sub-optimal decisions (high emphasis on surgeries, or discouraging surgeries, for instance). It could also be that the vets feel they can earn more elsewhere, which will make turnover constant. And if that is the case I'd be more concerned about a vet who stayed. Maybe they love the area, but maybe they can't get hired anywhere else.

                                    Ask around and try to snoop out opinions of those in the know if there are any concerns over the quality of care in the practice. Are they known for making mistakes in diagnosis and/or treatment, for instance.

                                    I'd probably look for a more stable practice, even if it was a little farther away. But if you are in a smaller-population area it could be that this is just the way it is in most vet practices in that area.

                                    Comment

                                      Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      OverandOnward I guess I'll see who I get for fall shots and dentals and how it goes this winter. I've heard good things about one of the new vets so hopefully I'll have a good experience too.

                                      I've asked around and looked on the local equestrian facebook group and people always recommend the practice I'm with or the other 3 solo equine practices in my area, so it may bother no one but me.

                                      The three solo vets share emergency calls after hours. I have checked on that before.

                                      Fingers crossed I'll get a good one and they stick around!

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        I use one local vet practice for my dogs and goats and another practice a bit farther away for my horses. In the more local practice I prefer 1 vet for my goats because he is just better. They are equally good with the dogs.

                                        The vet I use for my horses is one I have used for 25 years and he has had other associates in the past, but he usually comes when I need a vet. He has a hard time keeping competent vets . They either mess up or leave to do small animals. Nobody wants to work on large animals anymore. That is what he says. We have a vet school 90 minutes from here, so it shouldn't be difficult to find a large animal vet out of school, but it is.

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