10 things your equine veterinarian secretly wishes they could tell you

I’ve seen a few of these articles around the internet, so I thought that it would be appropriate to make a list for horse owners. Here goes!

  1. We are not late because we decided to take a long lunch: Equine vets are notoriously tardy. I know it can be an annoyance to the owner, but understand that like you, horse vets are busy people. Our days are generally jammed packed with routine appointments, not to mention emergencies that must be seen immediately (colic, dystocia, sick foals, etc). So, if/when we are late, please be understanding. We want to be on time as much as you do, but most of the time we are late because we were helping another client who needed us more.
  2. We do not always have everything that you need: I know our truck is a wonderful, seemingly endless stock of veterinary pharmaceuticals, however, sometimes we may not have everything and anything that you need. We try our best to have what you need in stock, but sometimes it just isn’t feasible for us to have everything. With that said, we will often go out of our way to get you what you need, but see #3.
  3. We are not just a messenger man: If we did not have something that you needed, often times we go out of our way to get it to you. We know how important it is for you and your horse.  But, please do not turn us into messengers especially if you are able to obtain an item yourself. Our day is very busy helping horses who need us, so please don’t expect us to deliver things to your farm on a regular basis.
  4. We don’t always know the answer: Just like in any medical field, we are PRACTICING veterinary medicine. Horses can’t speak, let alone tell us their symptoms. We use our education and knowledge to do the best we can to treat your horse. Sometimes mother nature is tricky.
  5. We are not there for you; we are there for YOUR HORSE: I know that vet visits are much more casual than going to a doctors office, but we are professionals and we do like to maintain some air of professionalism. We love hearing about your family and friends, but please keep it “PG” and brief. Please don’t be offended by this, we want to be your friend and we love getting to know our clients, but please do not make us feel uncomfortable with in depth explanations of family problems or barn drama. We need to concentrate on helping your horse.
  6. We have lives (although not much of one). Our job requires on-call time, and a lot of it. We make ourselves very available to take care of your horses, but occasionally we take some time for ourselves. Please respect that we have families and personal needs, and when we take that rare night off (with somebody else covering on-call) understand that without this time we would not be very good veterinarians (or good people for that matter).
  7. We notice and appreciate when you are prepared for an appointment: A well-groomed horse standing on the cross-ties is our favorite thing to see when we pull up to your barn. We appreciate it when the horse is in the barn, hooves are picked, haircoat is generally clean (at least mud-free), and you have all the necessary information to make the appointment more efficient. Know what drugs/supplements/work schedule your horse is on. This will help us be more efficient and spend more time practicing medicine and providing quality care.
  8. We are never going to buy a yacht: I know that huge vet bills can often cause you to feel a little grumpy, and the vet is the easiest person to blame. But we are NOT doing this for the money. Your hard earned money is going towards our overhead costs, student loans, and business expenses. We usually earn enough to squeak by, but we did not go into this field for the money. The average starting salary for a horse vet is similar to college tuition (a.k.a. not much). So please, don’t blame us for money issues. We hate talking about it as much as you do and we usually make personal sacrifices to make sure that we are able to keep our cost of care as low as possible.
  9. Believe it or not we do this job because we love it. We love horses and the people that work with them. Bottom line.
  10. We care: We care a lot. You may not always see it, but we share the same emotions as you do. We are sad when we have to say goodbye to your horse at the end of its life, we are sad when we give you a diagnosis with a poor prognosis. We are happy when you and your horse are successful, or when a healthy foal is born. These are emotions that we experience multiple times a day, everyday.

We care.

horses together