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WWYD - Vet (long and wordy)

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  • #21
    That's a tough spot! I feel for you.

    I am so bad at ending professional relationships...but personally, I would switch to the multi-vet practice. In my personal experience, even though Horse has been treated by multiple vets for the same issue, it wasn't a problem. As long as you are able to fill the on-call vet in on what is going on and what has been done, they are able to pick right up and move forward. You'd have to do this if you used multiple vet practices, anyway. Also, the vets in this practice should be sharing records and communicating with each other, yes? I like the idea someone else suggested of setting up time to meet with them to get your questions answered and your mind put at ease.

    If your current vet is experiencing burnout, which it sounds like to me, I totally sympathize. I am very burnout-prone. That being said, having a long history with you and your horses doesn't beat out keeping up to date with equipment and being AVAILABLE when needed. (At least IMO.) My current vet clinic is easily an hour away, but with someone always on call I at least know that I'll be able to get someone familiar with me, my horse, and my barn out there no matter when.

    It would be cool if you could have a conversation with current vet about your needs, issues with his schedule, and your desire to work with both him and this other practice - and maybe you can! - but it sounds like he's not going to go along with that.

    FWIW, I'm a huge fan of just working with one practice so I don't have to pay more for farm calls as a non-client, and I know I am getting priority when I call. My current practice will of course see patients who are not regular clients, but if it comes down to client vs. non-client, they are going to give priority to client. I don't think that's unreasonable, and I like to be on the client end of that deal as much as possible.


    • #22
      Both of the multi-vet practices that I use allow you to select the vet you want for routine stuff. When making the appointment they always ask if there's a specific vet I'd like to schedule with.

      (Of course for an emergency it's whoever is on call.)

      So it's very possible to have a vet at a large practice become familiar with you and your horses.


      • #23
        I used to work in the medical field, and I will tell you this - good doctors are never offended or upset by a second opinion. Good doctors are also quite willing to refer a patient out if things aren't going well or another area of expertise is needed. Crappy doctors are easily offended by second opinions and do not want to refer out for fear of losing their patients to a better doctor.

        There may be a doctor who is an exception to this theory but I've never seen it. The behavior you have described is a huge red flag to me. Add to that the fact that your vet is gone so often and I would not be able to get out of there fast enough. Have your records sent to the new practice and your new vets will have the information you need to get up to speed quickly.


        • #24
          I agree with the posters upthread who noted the signs of burn-out in your current vet. I can only imagine the stress of being a solo equine practitioner, but 40 seems to be early to be getting to the burn-out phase of a career that required spending quite a bit of time, energy and money to get started. It sounds like he hasn't invested much in his practice with no power float, digital x-rays, or ultrasound - I know these devices are expensive, but it seems like those things have become pretty close to essential to provide care - even in the field - to current standards.

          It sounds like the vet school that he refers clients to is only an hour plus away which is, in the grand scheme of things, is pretty close at hand. I can see why he would be somewhat comfortable being away from his practice without coverage arranged from that standpoint, but it really is rude (and maybe a little passive-aggressive) to go out of town for more than a day and not change your voice mail to let clients know when you will be back.

          OP, maybe think about what might cause you to have regrets about switching if you go ahead and do so... like if you have an older horse with issues, would you possibly miss the counsel and presence of the current vet if difficult decisions had to be made? Or would you be ok as long as the attending vet is competent and compassionate? And even if there are situations where you might prefer the current vet, would that be worth the possibility of not being able to reach him at a time when you need him most?


          • #25
            I would still use your current vet for the routine things and the newer practice for the things your vet is not set up to do. No reason why you have to mention it to him at all. I prefer a smaller practice where the vet actually knows my horses if possible.


            • #26
              While I have some amount of sympathy for your current DVM, (it can be insanely expensive to purchase all the bells and whistles, and it is also nice to have a life of one's own, aside from work) if he's not going to let you know when and how long he's gone, I'd just call the other practice whenever that happens. I'd also call them if you want or need services above what he is willing to provide wrt radiographs, lab work, etc.

              If he gets his knickers in a knot about it, simply let him know that you would have used him if you could have, but he wasn't there/couldn't do it, and that's on him, and if he gets really snitty, switch all your work to the other practice.
              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


              • #27
                Honestly, after reading you later remarks, he seems more concerned about losing clients than making an effort to keep them if that makes sense. If he’s going to be belligerent and let his pride interfere with you getting the best possible treatment for your horse, it’s probably time to change.


                • #28
                  I have used a multi vet practice for years. There have been times when there was a vet I didn't like, and I asked for one of the others, but for the most part I have been happy with all the vets and take whichever one happens to come. If I have a complex, ongoing issue I have arranged for one vet to look after all the visits for that horse, but you'd better believe she's discussing the case with the other vets! There was one series of ongoing issues involving my horse's eye and three out of the four vets saw him at various times. The one who recommended surgery happened to not be the vet who performed the surgery.

                  I am really happy to have a clinic with several vets who I am confident working with.

                  I made the move from single vet to clinic because my single vet was shifting to primarily small animals. I had a good experience with the clinic during a lameness consult and switched at that point.


                  • #29
                    This is just absolutely unacceptable- almost all of it. He goes out of town and doesn't inform you that he'll be gone, when he will be back, and doesn't give a backup? Nothing about that is okay. And he's pissy when clients call another practice?
                    I am SHOCKED he has ANY clients. My vet clinic has multiple vets. They HIRE board certified vets to stand in when they go to vet conferences. They have interns on staff. They have an office staff who can relay questions or concerns during their absence. And believe me, I was talking to MY vet the second he got back on Monday morning. Had it been an emergency he would have been consulted if it was an ongoing issue.
                    We have several local vets (that I don't use- I've used this clinic for 12 years and feel they do an impeccable job, and like- as another poster said- the perk of being a longtime client) that have single vet practices. I have friends who have used them and they all refer to another vet or to the clinic I use when they're gone.

                    This alone is reason enough to fire this vet. He may be closer but he's also a single vet- what if your horse is badly colicking or fractures his skull and he's in the middle of sewing up a laceration or some other lengthy vet procedure? Or he's mysteriously out of town with no warning? Now you're calling the multiple vet clinic that's further away because they can get to you more quickly because even if one vet is busy, SOMEONE can come!!! But if you're using them as a backup only you likely won't be first priority and you'll be guaranteed that they won't know anything about your horses.

                    One of the things I like about my vet practice is that even if I don't get my vet for the emergency the other vets or interns are familiar with my horse and can look up his history quickly on their computer.

                    ditch this vet for the sake of your horses.
                    You don't throw a whole life away just because its a little banged up - Tom Smith


                    • #30
                      I would target the major issue: Have a discussion with your vet about lining up another vet to be his on-call (emergencies only) backup when he is out of town. If he isn't amenable to that, switch.
                      "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


                      • #31
                        We use two vets. Very similar situation, both the larger clinic and the local older vet know of the situation. I call out the local vet for routine stuff as he's right down the road. When we're talking in-depth lameness, radiographs, etc, I call out the larger clinic. Both have been fine with the arrangement. I love both, and will continue using both.


                        • #32
                          This is a no-brainer for me. Switch! He can't provide the basic services you need, and has a bad attitude about reasonable requests. You've outlined a ton of red flags and practices that are completely unacceptable IMO. Loyalty doesn't come in to play when someone is not putting forth their best effort to meet clients' needs. Loyalty is a two-way street, and he is not fulfilling his side! And I wouldn't nickel-and-dime the multi-vet practice by only using them for certain things. They need to have a full picture of your horses' health in order to provide the best care. Plus those basic services like vaccines are often the way that vet practices stay afloat during lean times.

                          At the end of the day you are responsible for your horses' well-being, not keeping someone's mismanaged business going.
                          "Sometimes the fear won't go away... so you just have to do it afraid."

                          Trolls be trollin'! -DH


                          • #33
                            Using a vet hospital as a back-up is a seriously selfish and inconsiderate way to run a vet practice. Not everyone has a trailer and not all horses have illness or injury that allow them to be trailered. What a jerk
                            "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                            "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


                            • #34
                              This is so bizarre. I have used three different vets in the last six months. Never gave a thought about offending primary vet. My primary vet is great. I can talk to him about any issue and can text him pictures or videos of anything that is amiss (My farrier is that way too). He also gives me an open script for any meds I need. I used another vet for an extensive float on my horses teeth that my primary vet did not have the tools for. The 3rd vet was used for routine vaccinations and a colic episode as he was at the barn looking at another horse. Primary is cool with me using whomever I want if the situation arises and was grateful there was another vet at the barn when my horse coliced. SoCal traffic is horrendous and vets location has no bearing on how long it takes to get to the barn.


                              • #35
                                When I had multiple horses I had 4 different practices I used based on which one had the most experience and knowledge on what I needed. They all knew each other and worked together, sharing records and consulting on x-rays, imaging if needed. It was awesome and we had a grand old time when multiple vets got together sharing info.
                                "Anyone who tries to make brownies without butter should be arrested." Ina Garten


                                • #36
                                  Somehow I didn't clock or didn't read carefully enough that the vet is only in his 40's. That's an even bigger concern. If he isn't keeping up in knowledge or equipment during this mid-career point, he just isn't a very good vet. No rationale or excuses will overcome that.

                                  This vet speaking against other vets is a sign of his knowledge and insecurity that he doesn't stack up well against his vet peers.

                                  Plus I would wonder if he doesn't have some other personal issues that could be interfering with his professional progress. Once knew a talented vet who destroyed his career with substance abuse, and also the hock xrays he assured me would always be on file. He came across well in person, though, I had no idea until he was summarily fired from the practice, and a lot of info came out. Including my horse's missing xrays (he destroyed everything he had done there).

                                  You are getting big red flags from this guy. If later on a serious issue comes up with one of your horses, what will you wish you had already done now?

                                  A new practice will quickly come up to speed with your horses. They will have the records you provide from the old vet, and the sooner you switch, the more history they will have gathered in house.

                                  Personally I would not split business between two practices as a standing practice. If knowing the horses is important, how is either practice going to be up to speed if they don't have all the records? Including the simple stuff like vaccinations. The owner will be the only repository of their horse's complete records, which need to stay with the owner at all times in case of emergency.