The Horse

MAR 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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14 March 2019 The Horse | First, DVM, of First Equine Veterinary Services, in Mobile, Alabama—how clients can prepare both themselves and their horses for veterinary visits. Read on to learn 10 ways you can help your vet- erinarian maximize time, cut costs, and ensure you get the service you want— and, perhaps, go the extra mile when you need it most. 1 Establish a relationship with your veterinarian—before you face an emergency. "That relationship is so important, es- pecially when it comes to emergency ser- vices," says First, who shares her practice with her husband, Patrick First, DVM. "Some practices may not accept nonclient emergencies, or if they do, their fees may be higher than for an established patient. "From the veterinarian's viewpoint, it can be a safety issue," she adds. "There have been instances where veterinar- ians have been called out for false calls and have been robbed for money or medications. Especially if a client is new to the area, just having a wellness exam done—not only for horses but for other livestock and pets—to establish that relationship helps both the vet and the client feel more familiar and at ease." 2 Tell them what you need. When you call for an appointment, tell your veterinarian (or the office staff) how many horses you'd like them to see and what services each horse needs. "It's very, very common to be told that we're going to see a specific horse with a specific issue, and we allot a specific amount of time for that issue—how long it might take us to perform the service needed and whether that includes diagnostics—and then find that they need additional services or that a barnmate has a horse that needs something, as well," says First. "Of course we want to address all this, but it can put us behind schedule and, especially in the equine world, emer- gencies also come up." So think about that long wait that so often irritates; it could be due to another horse owner saying, "just one more thing," or it might be an emer- gency. While emergencies that delay your veterinarian are inevitable, do your part and call ahead to find out if you can add to the existing appointment; this lets him or her allocate more time, if possible, and stay on schedule. "If we are running behind, we call or text the client and let them know our new ETA," First says. "I always ask if this is okay or if we need to reschedule, because the client might need to be elsewhere at a certain time." IT'S YOUR CALL Ideally, provide your veterinarian with an unobstructed space in which to work that's well-lit and has a power and a water source. ALAYNE BLICKLE

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