Five Tips for Preparing for a Farm Call from Your Horse Vet

Nutrition : Tools

Care : Preventative Maintenance

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In my years as an equine practitioner, I have found that knowing the number of horses I would be seeing, the procedures I would be carrying out, and having the client be well prepared for our appointment, was invaluable in making the farm call run smoothly, efficiently and cost effectively. Here are a few tips for how you can prepare for your veterinarian’s visit.

1. Prepare a list of all horses that need to be seen by the veterinarian. 
Include any concerns or observations you may have about their health that you would like the veterinarian to pay attention to. Next, make your appointment and notify the office as to the number of horses that need to be seen and for what. This will ensure that the appointment slot allows plenty of time to address all issues and the veterinarian brings the right supplies, equipment, medications etc. This kind of preparation will often times remove the need for further visits to finish up all the work. You may also want to have your horses’ medical records handy in case information about past veterinary visits is needed.

2. Catch all the horses scheduled to be seen that day and have them ready for the exam before your veterinarian arrives. 
Make sure the horses are relatively clean and free from large amounts of mud, which might hide conditions such as skin issues or swollen limbs from your vet. Also, if vaccinations or other injections are to be given that day, starting with clean coats will save time and reduce the chance for infection at the injection site.
3. Try to anticipate what your veterinarian might need to get the job done. 
Here are a few examples of how you can anticipate your vets needs.

  • If the visit is likely to include radiography or ultrasound exams, so an accessible power supply will be needed.
  • If breeding work is on the agenda, warm water will be required.
  • When a lameness exam is needed, an area free of obstacles with good footing should be available.
4. If you (the owner) are not going to be present for the visit, make sure the horse vet knows how to reach you in case something comes up. 
For example, during a routine wellness exam your vet might find that your horses’ teeth need to be floated. Being able to reach you to verify that you would like this procedure to be performed right away could save you the expense of a second farm call.

5. Be prepared to pay for the veterinarian’s services. 
Most veterinarians require payment at the time of service, unless other arrangements have previously been made. Have your checkbook or credit card handy so your vet can be on his or her way to their next appointment on time. (Hint:  Some veterinarians or practices may offer discounts for payment at the time of service or for non-credit transactions.)