Your vet is an essential partner in keeping your horse healthy, and choosing the right vet can be a challenging decision, especially when you have lots of options. This is a choice you need to make carefully. If you’re looking for a new vet, consider these factors when making your decision.
Weigh the Benefits of Independent Vets Against Big Practices
One of the first decisions you’ll face is whether to go with a vet who practices independently, or whether a larger multi-vet practice might be right for you. Both options have their advantages.
Vets who practice independently often handle much of their scheduling themselves. You’ll develop a relationship with that one vet and, in most cases, will know that your vet will be the one to respond to your calls. When you work with the same vet all the time, that vet tends to get to know your horse well, which can be a benefit.
Multi-vet practices also offer plenty of benefits. A multi-vet practice may be able to respond to your calls sooner than a heavily booked single-vet practice can. A multi-vet practice sometimes has more diagnostic tools and offers more services than an independently practicing vet. Emergency coverage can also be better in a larger practice.
Keep in mind that these are generalizations, and the specific benefits you’ll see will depend on the practices you’re considering.
Get Details About Emergency Coverage
You’re almost certain to need emergency vet services at some point for your horse, so ask any vet about how their emergency services work. Verify whether emergency coverage is always available, or if a vet refers you out to a neighboring practice at times.
Consider the Types of Services You Need
Depending on your involvement with horses, you may have need for specific services. Practices offering specialized lameness and rehabilitation services, specialty treatments like PRP, breeding services, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, and more may be appealing to you. If you know or suspect that your horse will rely on certain treatments and therapies, ask about whether they’re offered when you’re interviewing vets. The availability of an online pharmacy is another convenience that some horse owners appreciate.
If you’re looking into a larger practice with a physical clinic location, you might want to consider the different services available at the clinic. Services like rehabilitation board, broodmare board, surgical procedures, and more can be valuable, especially if they save you from traveling large distances to other facilities or large animal hospitals.
Look into How the Vet is Continuing Education
A vet who is actively pursuing continuing education opportunities may be aware of new treatments and diagnostics that other vets aren’t aware of. This may be referenced on a vet’s website, but you might also find posts on a vet’s social media page highlighting the additional training and education opportunities that the vet is pursuing.
Check a vet’s references, but more importantly, try to find other horse owners who currently or have previously used the vet. Asking around and getting horse owners’ impressions can give you valuable insight into what working with a certain vet is really like.
Carefully choosing a vet can ensure that you have a great partner who will work with you to keep your horse feeling his best in the coming years. Be sure to do your research before making this decision – it can help you to feel confident in the decision that you make.