There are lots of ways to find an equine vet. Some states maintain licensing directories that you can use to verify that a local vet is qualified and properly credentialed. You can talk to other horse owners. Find Horse Help is trying to make things even easier. One of the obvious ways in which you’ll narrow your search is by location. Sure, there are specialists and world-renowned veterinarians that can be flown in for special cases, but for the most part, easy and reliable access from a vet who can see your horse in person means looking to your local communities. Our state directories make it easy to identify and contact local vets.
That said, if your stables are in a city, state, or region with a healthy equine industry, there’s a good chance you’ll have multiple vet clinics to choose from. Across the country, there are thousands of vet clinics and 100,000 licensed and practicing veterinarians. With this in mind, here are some informal tips and guidelines that you can use to choose the right equine vet to help care for your horses.
- Collaborative Practices vs. Individual Practitioners: Here’s a great example of personal preference more so than an inherently better choice. There are definitive pros to knowing that the same experienced vet will see your horse every time. There are also definitive advantages that come with larger vet clinics and the organizational resources they can provide, even if it means your horse is seen by whatever vet is on-staff that day.
- Experience vs. Education: As something of a corollary to this preference for a group clinic or personal equine vet, there’s also something to be said for both lifelong experience and the contemporary curriculum of today’s vet schools. There’s something of an analogy with medical doctors, in fact. You can’t teach decades of bedside manner and diagnostic sensitivities. At the same time, a more experienced doctor won’t have the same immersion into the latest research and methodologies that comes with veterinarian schools.
- Find Someone You can Talk To: Here’s another great analogy for choosing a primary care physician for yourself. Finding someone you can talk to comfortably will help reduce the chance of miscommunication or of missing that crucial detail. An open dialogue can help get to the right diagnosis and treatment more quickly. Feeling comfortable with your equine vet should also help you remember and follow the expert advice that’s offered during the visit.
- Equine Focus and Horsemanship Skills: Some vets do nothing but equine care and services. Some practices offer equine care as one of their major areas of focus. Other clinics offer equine services only as a peripheral part of their practice. Naturally, there’s an advantage to those vet clinics that emphasize their equine services, but you also want to be mindful of the horsemanship skills of both the vet and general staff. This is also a generally good indicator of the care standards at that practice.