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Old 04-26-2007, 07:57 AM   #1
Halter broke
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Location: Southern California
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Vet refusing to service area

Recently a boarder of mine called the vet to have him come out and geld her stallion colt, he told her that he didn't service that area. She has had to hire a tranporter to take this colt to him, a 45 minute drive. Well okay, but I then decided to call and find out what was up.

The girl who answered the phone told me that the vet no longer goes to the small community that I live in. I asked why, she said that he'd waste a whole day and couldn't service any one else. Well about that time, I started getting mad.So, I asked, what about in an emergency, she put me on hold and then came back and said "You will have to trailor the horse in to the office" the vet will not even go out there for an emergency". I asked her what if you don't own a trailer, she said you don't own a trailer but you own a horse? What a snob!!!!! Any way, I said no, she then told me , well the vet does not go to that area and you'll have to figure it out some how. So I said well, I guess I'll get insurance on my horse, if I can for death benefits, cause we don't have a vet who will service this area. She told me, to do whatever I had to do.

Now keep in mind this is the only equine vet for about 150 miles one way! So if my horse can't get into a trailer when he's sick or she is having trouble foaling, then I'm in trouble.

Is there anything that I can do? Any ideas? HELP I've already talked to the vet personally. still a no go.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:11 AM   #2
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I would think the vet clinic should look at it from the compassion to the animal side & just charge more to make up for the time lost elsewhere rather then just straight out not come.
I know alot of folks who don't have trailers but have horses, that is not that unusual. If I were in your shoes, I'd check other vet clinics out that may not specialize in horses, but are familiar with them just the same and could help if needed? Around my area, the vets are mostly for cows/pigs and no horse specific vets, I do drive to one that is 2 hrs away but in an emergency, I'd call the nearby vet as they have some knowledge of horses, just not by first choice.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:14 AM   #3
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i feel for ya, but you gotta look at the vet's view

if he spends 2 hours traveling....his other clients suffer.....his wallet suffers.

Busy vets just flat do not have time to waste 2 hours of their time traveling to do routine calls.

Now on an emergency.....2 hours travel time at 100 per hours plus 100 miles at .50 a call....50 bucks.....emergency call.....100 bucks you could offer him an extra 400 bucks to make an after hours emergency call.

economics dear, economics
Well now boogie little baby, boogie woogie all night long.

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Old 04-26-2007, 08:22 AM   #4
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Thats just terrible, Sounds like you need to track down other vets in your area,(small animal or whatever) maybe get some names from them. Even go ask other farms in the area, who they use. Just a terrible fix to be in,if you have an emergency.

Good luck and keep us posted as to what you find out.
Offering for your pleasure and enjoyment,exceptional AQHA and APHA Palomino horses.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:23 AM   #5
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Well I know that sounded worse than you meant it Ron.
I do agree that many Vets just literally cannot afford to be gone from the office for that long at a time-with a full client load..they just really can't. i used to be in the same position as you. that was when I got my first stock trailer-for those emergency times. So I could lay down a horse inside if needs be.
BUT most will do emergencies if you cannot locate another Vet. THAT is what is the odd part.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:30 AM   #6
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The more I hear about vets, the luckier I feel. Our equine vet travels all day, every day. It's more than an hour one way to our place, so he schedules a bunch of routine calls in the same area on the same day. And, he always carries his cell phone for emergencies.

Ask around, bstappys, you may be able to find a similar vet in your area. I found our vet strictly by word of mouth.

Careful what you wish; Careful what you say; Careful what you wish; You may regret it; Careful what you wish; You just might get it. ~ Metallica, King Nothing
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:40 AM   #7
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Sounds like that vet needs to add a partner or two to his practice, and raise his fees for farm calls so that he can afford to go that far.

I wonder if the area is growing quickly enough to support that kind of business move?

Really, most vets are quite compassionate folks, most of them are also small business owners trying to make ends meet on a shoe string to keep their fees in a range that the population near them can afford. It is *very* expensive time and gasoline-wise to make a farm call 100 miles away. If the vet is also the only one in his office, that does leave everyone else without emergency service or regular veterinary service for the 4 hrs of drive time it takes to make the round trip plus the hour or more that he has to spend doing the actual work.

It is a reasonable business decision. I would wish that he would make exceptions for emergencies, but even veterinarians need to sleep. Would you want him doing surgery, even routine surgery, on your dog after he's been up all night 2 or 3 nights in a row with emergency calls half way across the state? Would you want to be the other guy on a narrow 2 lane road on that 2nd or 3rd 3 am on call night, when he's falling asleep at the wheel?

It's a really tough situation for you. But I think the ultimate answer really will be when another veterinarian sees an opportunity in the area and opens a clinic closer to you.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:56 AM   #8
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catriona has a very good point.
We lost our gelding and had to shoot him to put him down as the Vet on call for our alternate Vet- was going to be gone at least for 3 hours on an emergency call far away. NO other Vets were available[day after Christmas] and I had called them all. Our regular Vet would have come in a heartbeat but he was out on another call-70 miles away.
Unfortunately the horse needed to be put down NOW.
I have not felt "safe" since then
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Old 04-26-2007, 09:12 AM   #9
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I really feel for you, and feel especially fortunate to live in an area with lots of choices for vets. But, that said, even taking the money out of the equation, I don't fault the vet for making that decision. He can spend 8 hours seeing 10 clients or 8 hours seeing 4. I think in his mind it's better to treat more animals than less. So I think even if you offered him the same amount of money that he would be getting from other clients, that may not really be the point. And also, vets deserve a life and sleep, too. You have to draw the line somewhere. Unfortunately you are on the wrong side of the line.
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Old 04-26-2007, 09:27 AM   #10
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Bstappys, do you have neighbors with horses? Can you ask around what other horse owners in your area are doing? Maybe ask at your feed store. You can't be the only one around your community in this situation. Maybe try to find out what others are doing.

What will they think of next?
Nothing. There is nothing left to think of.
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Old 04-26-2007, 09:40 AM   #11
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If you are in a rural type community, perhaps a livestock vet can be called, they all study horses in their school days, maybe they can do shots for you, and be on hand for emergencies.
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Old 04-26-2007, 09:46 AM   #12
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Our vet's office has one vet that would really like to retire. They hired a new vet in and he lasted 7 months. (Too many hours for him with a small family.) We are very lucky in our area we have 2 vets offices that we can call. (We have about 8 equine vets but not all would I want them working on my horse.)

We have called our vet when a horse was colicking and he was in the middle of supper with his family. Horse was not terrible just needed some mineral oil. We even told him he could finish his supper but he came out anyway.

There is a shortage of good vets. We have talked about moving to a different area but I don't want to leave our vet or our farrier.
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:24 AM   #13
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I also agree with talking to other horse people in your area. The
networkings of horse owners is usually pretty powerful.

Also, I would try to have on hand as many of your own emergency
supplies as possible. Bute, Banamine, wraps, just a whole emergency
kit prepared for all things you would feel comfortable doing in an
emergency. I am fortunate to have vets close by, but you never know
all of them could be on other emergency calls and be unavailable
to I have my E-Kit ready to go just in case.
Good Luck to you.
Never trust someone who doesn't have a love of animals.
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:31 AM   #14
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I am lucky, I have 6+ Vets in my area I can call.
My Vet has hired an assistant, plus there is a traveling Vet that works out of his truck, no office, then I am close to Valdosta, GA., then there are others in surrounding counties.

I feel for you. Have You tried doing a web search in your area and surrounding areas for Vets?

Maybe you and the other horse owners as suggested get together and come up with something. Maybe advertise for a Vet to come to your area and surrounding areas!

Actually going on 6 years
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:40 PM   #15
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Well as I said, he's the ony equine vet in the area for about 150 miles one way, the small animal vet in town won't touch a horse, much less very many cats or dogs.

I've asked different horses owners in this area, and the opinions are so different. 50% of the horse owners can not stand this vet, (he's not a great horse vet, more like a band aid station) and the others just love him. We have offered to pay the extra money for him to come out and he still refuses. I'm the type person, that if the vet charged me $500.00 to come out here and take care of my horses when they need it, then so be it, I'll pay the ranch call, just help my babies!

We try to keep a E-kit on hand at all times, but you are so limited in California as to what you can buy, I can't buy bute, bantamine and other stuff, it's by prescription only after the same vet above has seen your horse. I have just now started to be able to buy shots, but not West Nile or the Strangles, those are still held by the vet here, and he has to see the horse first. For that matter, no one but a vet can do filing of the teeth, oh a animal dentist can if you can afford one and if he comes out to this area.

On a lighter note, we are looking for a good used stock trailer, I don't think I'll be using this vet again. Him and his staff, know they have all the horse owners by the short hairs, and I can't stand a lack of customer service, I should go back to school and put him out of business! HA HA
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:03 AM   #16
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vets no longer make farm calls in Paris TX either

The veterninarians in Paris Tx in Lamar County no longer make farms calls, except maybe for a favored few. I have used all of them over the years with no problems. So if someone has a large animal in distress that cannot be brought to the clinic and needs to be doctored on site or put to sleep THEY WILL NOT COME OUT! I live from 2 to 10 miles away from all the vets but the poor critter has to suffer or wait for a vet from out of the county (30-45 miles away) who will make a farm call-I have been here over 30 years, always paid my vet bills and for some reason about 5 years ago they all decided to no longer make farm calls, even in an emergency! That was when a young lady vet fresh out of vet college moved to the area saying how she could make many more times the amount on small animals that wasting her time and life on big animals and that these folks here love their little crittes so much they would pay anything! And all the vets in the area raised their fees. She was half right! There are some here who will not pay that much for pet care and let the animal die or suffer and just get a new one.

This is a rural area with cattle and horses all over the area. How do these professionals live with themselves?..what is bad they will not let another vet establish a practice here who will make farm calls!!!! I have horses and am worried about emergencies and one mare I have had for nearly 30 years may need help one dayand have even been through a tornado with her! Stuff happens and you like to know your animals can be cared for in dire situations! I was told that my horse insurance may not cover my horses since I already know these vets will not be on call and that could make the difference between life and death in a medical emergency! I feel trapped because the health care my horses need might not be there in a dire situation!
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:25 AM   #17
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My vet charges depending on the area you are. So when I was boarding my horse and he was a good 45 minutes away my call charge or trip charge was more. That is insane that this vet does this. Why be a vet if your not going to help the animals....this is crazy! I would check with your local vet school or one nearby and talk to them about seeing if any of there up and coming vet's want to start a practice in your area. Let them know what is going on with your current vet!

Also what about getting together with neighbors that have livestock and sending the vet a petition of sorts letting him know you all are outraged by this and see what happens. Being 45 minutes away from the vet's office is pretty normal I would think especially when your dealing with a rural area. Being a large animal vet that kind of comes with the territory I would think!

Last edited by cindyf; 07-21-2011 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:27 AM   #18
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Don't mean this as a hi-jack of the thread....
Have you talked to Dr. Gray in Trenton? I think she has taken on Doc Witcher's practice in Honey Grove 2 days a week. I know it would be a good distance for her from Trenton to go to Paris, but it would be worth calling her to see if she would be willing to make emergency calls. pm me if you need Dr. Gray's phone number.
I, also am lucky. I have several vets in my area that I can call in an emergency situation, and, there is an equine vet located within 35 miles of me.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:10 AM   #19
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Vet in a Van

First of the year my vet started a concierge practice. You pay a certain amount per horse, per year and the vet is at your beck and call anytime. The practice is limited to a certain number of clients. I've had three middle of the night calls and he was there in minutes.

Everything is covered under that fee-foaling, gelding, accidents, colic, shots. It seems expensive but when I look back at how much my yearly vet bills are it makes sense. The peace of mind if you have a severely injured horse and know the vet is on the way is worth the cost.

There is no charge if he brings his trailer to haul a horse to his clinic. He has a small clinic on his farm. He has an assistant and a retired vet is on call if there are two emergencies at the same time. His costs are lower and he doesn't have deadbeat clients who won't pay.

He is in the process of franchising Vet in a Van.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:19 AM   #20
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You must be up in the High Desert in SoCal? That's the only place I can think of that is so remote

I guess I would like to know why the vet doesn't have an intern vet working with him. Interns need the hours and could make the outlying rounds, and take care of those emergencies.

It's all about the money --- which is really why he's so worried about not being able to take care of his closer customers.

I happen to have a horse trailer but it tisses me off that the someone at the vet's office thinks everyone with a horse should own a trailer.

Further to that, what IF the horse is down and you can't get it up to get into the trailer that you're lucky enough to have?

I would also give serious thought to turning him into whatever Board might exist for veterinarians, much like what exists for human doctors. Perhaps it might get something done about another vet coming into your area.
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