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Using multiple veterinarians

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  • Using multiple veterinarians

    I have seen a lot of posters on here who say they use 2,3,4 different veterinarians. How do you manage that?

    At the boarding barn where I keep my guy we only have 1 vet, for all 15 horses. But, I'm moving Beau home soon and I want to have multiple vets I can call in an emergency... I've been hearing to many stories about horses dying because vets wouldn't come out at night, on weekends, etc.

    So, wouldn't a vet wonder why you call them out for lamenesses but they never give your horse their vaccinations? Or do they just not care, as long as they are getting paid?

  • #2
    I have a good half-dozen vets that I use, and, for the most part, their specialties do not overlap. The vet I use for routine vaccines and suturing, for example, does not have any imaging equipment like radiograph or ultrasound--it is not reasonable to use him for lameness.

    It's never been an issue for me to use different vets for different things. My horse is seen enough by several people (I have bad luck and she has issues) that I know I have several options in case of emergency--and I know who is better at what, and who I call first is dependent on what's going on.

    It would be more difficult to maintain relationships with several practitioners if my horse only saw the vet for vaccines.


    • #3
      We use two vets. One is the local animal hospital that also does some horses and other livestock. One of the vets there also has a degree in equine nutrition which comes in handy with some of the senior horses here. We use them for minor emergencies or to stablize a horse in order to transport to our other vet's clinic (equine practice) which is located 45 minutes away. Diagnostics and any lameness issues are done through the equine practice. The equine practice also does our vaccines and annual wellness exams.
      Ridge Farm Inc.-full care retirement


      • #4
        My vet says "If you don't see me during the day, you won't see me at night"
        meaning he won't come out for emergencies if someone is not a regular client.
        There are 4 vets in his practice, and their practice and two others share weekends and nights on call.
        I don't think it's fair to do all your own shots etc etc which are the vets bread and butter but expect him to drop the world in the middle of the night because pooky has a colic.
        THey also prefer to see the horse at least once a year to do a "wellness check" which may well help prevent the emergency calls.
        We have to take care of them if we want them to take care of us.
        "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


        • #5
          I'm right there with Simkie. I have 4-5 vets I use. I use them for different things. One is better at floating teeth. I use her for my annual stuff and if I need her for something she's the first person I call. For emergencies and everything, she's my 'first line of defense'. But she doesn't have xray machines or anything like that. That I use another vet for. Then there's another vet I use that's close by but he's the most hateful man I've ever met and is rough on the horses so I only use him if it's an emergency and nobody else will come out. Then I have a vet I've used for 20 something years. He only does barn calls on Wednesdays and frankly doesn't care for dealing with large animals anymore and does mainly small animals. However, I trust him, he's a good vet and if I need him on a Wednesday then I call him. But I talked to him once about floating my horse's teeth and he said they would need their heads tied up so he could float properly. Ummm...the other vet I have that does it just holds their head or has me hold it up. No biggie. So some vets are better for some things than others in my book.


          • #6
            I have a whole team of vets for my 4 legged disaster.
            : )

            I do my own shots. Even better, my vet sells them to me.

            they get my money in every other horsey way.
            Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Simkie View Post
              It would be more difficult to maintain relationships with several practitioners if my horse only saw the vet for vaccines.
              True.... my horse is only seen by the vet for vaccines and if he comes up lame (and I know it's not due to stone bruise, absess, etc.). For teeth I use a horse dentist, but I don't know if he'll come all the way to my house for 1, eventually 2 horses. If not I can get another vet, and have 2 for emergencies


              • #8
                Currently my main vet works for a large equine hospital, she is one of the 25 ambulatory vets on staff. If I have an emergency while she is not on duty, I will get one of the other vets to come out, without any problems.

                There is one other vet that I use about once a year, he is part of the dental team that I use to do my horses teeth.

                When I lived in CT, the regular vet had two doctors, and they rotated the on-call duties, so we always had one to rely on for emergencies. However, I also had one other vet that I used in conjuction with them, the other vet was a chiropractor, lameness specialist, kinesologist, accupuncturist, alternate therapies that my regular vets knew about and had no problems with. The alternate vet had been a regular vet, but enjoyed the alternate therapies, and got tired of the middle of the night emergencies, which is why he changed to his specialty. What was nice was that he could also do nerve blocks, xrays, whatever was needed for lameness exams.

                The regular vets did all the shots, yearly exams, emergency calls, the normal vet stuff.
                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                • #9
                  I have 8 horses at 3 locations - I use at least 3 vets... One strictly for reproductive work, one for emergencies and at the non-home locations, and the vet I use at the farm. But, if my favorite farm vet is not available - I will call the other one I use. Since I'm a client, the vets don't have a problem seeing any of my horses - even if it's one they haven't seen before, and I'm open and honest about using the other vets. Perhaps the vets would prefer I use just them - but I also think they understand that it makes sense to have a back up.


                  • #10
                    I am in a remote area and there are only 2 vets that are mixed practice - there is not a "equine only" here. So I use which ever I can get to come out if it's an emergency. My only other emergency option is loading up and taking the horses to the local vet school.

                    So I don't have a problem using different vets.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jaegermonster View Post
                      I don't think it's fair to do all your own shots etc etc which are the vets bread and butter but expect him to drop the world in the middle of the night because pooky has a colic.
                      ...We have to take care of them if we want them to take care of us.
                      "Bread and butter" hell -- at today's prices it's more like fancy crackers and caviar or pate (or however you spell that smeared goose liver stuff).

                      I'm not sure "taking care of them" should entail single-handedly putting their kids through college!


                      • #12
                        I use 2 vets on a regular basis. Our local guy is great for emergencies and routine stuff, but he doesn't have radiograph equipment, ultrasounds, and doesn't stock much more than your standard bute, ace, banamine, and SMZ's.

                        We have another vet in the area that has everything he doesn't. I stay in regular touch with both of them, and have had them consult each other for tricky things. The more technologically advanced vet is a good hour form us... so while he will come out for emergencies... there are some emergencies that don't have an hour. The local guy lives 10 minutes away, and usually gets there in 5.

                        It's a little easier to use just one practice when you're at a boarding farm than when your horse is in the middle of nowhere...
                        Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.


                        • #13
                          Well one guy is the general vet for most vaccines and boo boos, one is a repro vet and one is a lameness guy/only does PPEs so they have different jobs.
                          Providence Farm


                          • #14
                            I feel strongly that as a loyal client my vets give me good service and often a break on prices. I do use two vets, each one knows that. One is for repro work and the other for lamenesses/surgery etc. Both back each other up when one has to be away. I like to have a team I can rely on and trust and who will work with my farrier. Everyone is cool with that. Both are specialists and have the specialist equipment to go with it. Not only that, both are personable and professional. I cannot flip and flop - it just feels wrong.
                            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                            • #15
                              Growing up my mom used 1 vet most of the time, and use 3 different ones while the horses were at home, because the first 2 either limited their schedule to the point it didn't work or quit the practice they were out. There were a few times for emergencies that we had a different vet out but they were from the same practice. The practice that I use for my horse has 3 or 4 vets, but did have to call another vet last summer for a minor emergency of really bad hives and our main vet was on another emergency and couldn't get there since ours was not life threatening, and gave us a number for another vet. He was close by so it was not a problem for him to stop by.
                              If I had a specific problem, ei eyes or something like that I think we would be off to the NCSU vet school, but have not come across a problem our vet can not handle, other than shes not the best at floating teeth, but not horrible either.
                              I don't think vets who are known as specialists in an area mind you using them for that area but not routine stuff. I am lucky that my practice has all the equipment needed for lameness exams and I am sure if I had a major problem that they would refer me to the vet school. Although I think now they have their own equine hospital, but I have been lucky enough not to have gone there!


                              • #16
                                I'd never ever do that. Veterinary medicine is regulated over here and vets have to provide an out of hours and call out service by law.

                                In any case I don't think it's wise to use different vets for different things without going through some sort of referral process as we do here.

                                Over here you register with a vet and I'm fortunate in that our practice has both an equestrian specialist facility and a small animal facility. So we get different vets but from the same practice and with full and proper access to all your animal's records.

                                So can't make any mistakes or not appreciate case history.

                                If I require specific expertise then it works by my own veterinary practice offering a referral to a specialist for 2nd opinion or additional expertise. That way you don't lose case history and case notes and do something daft in ignorance or anger.

                                Here though every single prescribed potion/lotion etc has to be recorded on the veterinary notes and also on the equine passport.


                                • #17
                                  If you have only a couple of horses at the barn, it would be hard to have a client relationship with more than one vet service, unless you have some specialty needs - repro for example. Even so, the specialty vet is not likely to come out for a colic in the middle of the night! If you are in a large barn that allows different vets, you have a better chance of getting one of them out because they know the barn.
                                  IMO, the best option, if available, is to find an equine vet that is part of a muliple vet practice. Then you can usually get someone from the practice in an emergency.
                                  Right now I am a bit nervous since my barn switched "barn vets" to one that is currently working solo. To keep a relationship with the other vet practice, I would have to make all the arrangements, not be able to split call costs, and take time off of work to be there for routine stuff (I would be there for important stuff anyway), I like the vets involved and I take my horse to Big Clinic for the lameness issues. I am still pondering what to do...


                                  • #18
                                    Thomas brings up a good point. Having a well informed team to work with is really a good way to go. Professionally, I work with a bunch of different vets, so I've developed a good sense of who specializes in what. But I always call my number one first. She and I have an understanding that if the situation is bigger than either one of us want to handle, we have other options for back up and I'll have her make the referral call. No one gets their noses bent and we're all on track. The NoVa, MD area is blessed with an abundance of vets. There are lots of options depending on the situation and it's always a good idea to anticipate your game plan before Pookie tries to cut his leg off Sunday morning at 3 am.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by greysandbays View Post
                                      "Bread and butter" hell -- at today's prices it's more like fancy crackers and caviar or pate (or however you spell that smeared goose liver stuff).

                                      I'm not sure "taking care of them" should entail single-handedly putting their kids through college!
                                      Harsh !!! Bet you sing a different tune when your horses are sick or hurt... or do you call the vet that's on unemployment insurance and happy to come out whenever?
                                      * <-- RR Certified Gold Star {) <-- RR Golden Croissant Award
                                      Training Tip of the Day: If you can’t beat your best competitor, buy his horse.
                                      NO! What was the question?


                                      • #20
                                        I have too

                                        I'm in an area where the 2 local vets who do not see the amount of horses or type of injuries that many vets out of my area do. One local vet only wants to do repro work, the other, whom I use for GP type of things, is now moving out of the state. For any type of specialty work I haul out. I see 3 specialists at 3 separate practices. I am grateful to be able to get in with such top vets. I just wish they were closer!
                                        "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."