Choosing the right vet for your horse can be a big decision. It is important to make sure you are completely happy with them and their methods. Like doctors, equestrian vets will differ in methodology and manner and you need to be able trust them and the recommendations they make.
Word of mouth is a great way to find a reputable vet in your area. Ask around at your local stables and speak to other horse owners. You may find in quite easy to put together a short list of potential vets for your horse based on the experience of others. If possible, research these veterinarians, it is likely that they will have a web site you can refer to. Call them for a chat or visit to discuss your horse’s possible registration to see what their premises are like and if you like the feel of the place.
It is also worth checking with other horse owners if they have had any negative experiences with vets in the area and write down the names of these clinics which may be best avoided. Choosing a vet is a personal thing, bear this in mind when receiving negative reviews. If the horse owner you are speaking with feels the vet was unpleasant or had other personal issues with them, ask more questions. It may be that the vet and owner were simply not compatible on a personal level, and that you may get on with them better. If there is a more serious allegation it may be wise to stay away or at least investigate further.
Communication is key at times when a veterinarian service is required. You should be able to explain the problem to the vet and feel that they understand you. Equally you must feel you understand what they have said and what they are going to do to help. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask, you need to have full peace of mind that this is the right vet for you and your horse.
Be sure to check the availability of each vet, can they cover night/weekends/have cover of they are unable to attend? If they have cover it may be a good idea to speak to this vet too, this will help you feel more comfortable with them should you ever need their expertise. Unfortunately at times when a vet is required you are likely to be under stress, and a familiar face will be preferable to a stranger arriving to treat your horse.
Check your horse’s vet’s charges for call-outs, and routine treatments. Compare these prices to others in your local area to make sure they are reasonably priced for the services they provide. Even if your horse stays fit and healthy there will always be annual checks and other items to pay for. There may be a slight discrepancy between hospitals and surgeries in the area, you will need to find a balance between price and peace of mind when you have narrowed your list down to one or two potential horse vets.
When you think you have decided on the vet you wish to register with it is advisable to take your horse for a check up, just to be sure they perform as you would hope. If you have any concerns you can always change to another vet that made it to your short list.