Time-Saving Tips: Equine Veterinary and Farrier Visits

Have your horse in the barn and ready to be examined upon your veterinarian or farrier's arrival.

Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse

While you can’t control the veterinarian or farrier who’s hours late to your appointment because of emergency calls, there are some ways you can expedite their visits once they arrive. 

Have Your Horse Ready

Have your horse in the barn and ready to be examined upon your veterinarian or farrier’s arrival. “A professional should not have to wait while you struggle to catch your horse,” says Doug Thal, DVM, Dipl. ABVP, owner of Thal Equine, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “And the professional should not have to catch the horse.” If your horse is particularly dirty or shedding, give him a quick grooming before the appointment so your veterinarian can evaluate him more easily.

Erica Larson, news editor for The Horse, asks her veterinarian and farrier to call or text when they’re on their way, so she can have her horse ready and waiting when they arrive. 

Make sure grooming areas or aisleways are brightly lit from both sides and from above so veterinarians and farriers can perform quality work

Photo: iStock

Make sure grooming areas or aisleways are brightly lit from both sides and from above so veterinarians and farriers can perform quality work, says Blickle.

Ground Manners are Important

Teach good ground manners, suggests Alexandra Beckstett, managing editor of The Horse, and don’t feed treats while your horse is being worked on. “A well-mannered horse will make farrier appointments, vet visits, and even tasks like grooming run much faster,” she says.

Specifically, adds Thal, “Your horse should accept injections and oral examination and medications. It should be good about its feet and legs. Allow trained veterinary staff to handle your horse if the vet feels this is appropriate.”

Provide your veterinarian with important information about your horse’s condition, such as temperature, pulse, and respiration rate.

Photo: Kevin Thompson/TheHorse

TPR

Collect and provide your veterinarian with important information about your horse’s condition, such as temperature, pulse, and respiration rate. “This is valuable so that veterinarian can better understand the urgency of your call or know how a horse is doing (e.g., responding to treatment) after the visit,” says Thal.

Accessibility

Make sure you have ample turnaround or pull-through areas for large vehicles and horse trailers, Blickle says. You don’t want to spend 10 minutes trying to get out of your farm’s driveway when you have a colicking horse or ready-to-foal mare on board.

If you have regular products you use on your horse (fly spray, thrush or scratches medications, etc.), make sure they are handy in your grooming kit or stored in an easy-to-reach place.

Photo: Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor

If you have regular products you use on your horse (fly spray, thrush or scratches medications, etc.), make sure they are handy in your grooming kit or stored in an easy-to-reach place, not hiding in the back of your tack room somewhere, Beckstett suggests. Also keep all the tools (e.g., brushes, gloves, gauze) you need to apply any of these things right there with them.

Keep a separate first-aid kit in each barn and horse trailer. This will help you be prepared for emergencies wherever you and your horse are, says Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com web producer.

Be Aware 

Perhaps most importantly, don’t wait until a small problem becomes a big one, says Thal. Call your veterinarian as soon as anything develops, and use your smartphone camera to send quality photos and/or videos. By the time your veterinarian arrives, he or she might already know what’s afoot.

This article was originally published in the June 2015 issue of The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care. 

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