A killer question for any horse lover – Where do you start your search for a good vet? It is only after successfully qualifying can a veterinary surgeon be registered to practise as a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary surgeons (MRCVS). It is imperative that you always ensure your vet uses these letters after his/her name.
To find out whether your Vet is MRCVS, you may contact the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons who have specialist listings (tel: 0207 222 2001).
Word of mouth
Wherever you stable your horse or pony, there will usually be a number of people who will be able to offer some advice on good local equine vets and before you make any decisions about which practice to register with, spend some time talking to other local horse owners about their vets. If your yard is quite large, there is likely to be several vets in attendance; however, if your yard is quite remote, there may just be one. Traveling to other yards to get recommendations on good locals vets in the area is also a good idea.
When you are talking to other horse owners, ask them some of the following questions:
How long have they been with this vet?
Are they happy with the service provided?
How does he/she compare to other vets they may have used in the past?
Have they ever been let down by their vet?
What do they consider their vet’s strengths and weaknesses to be?
A good vet should communicate the potential problems your horse faces in a manner that
Dealing with your horse when s/he is sick or lame is upsetting and frustrating in equal measure because a horse cannot tell you what is wrong. It is therefore important that your vet communicates well and relays his/her findings in such a way that you understand what the problem is. If a vet speaks in a series of technical phrases that you do not understand, they are not the vet for you! Your vet should be able to explain clearly a) what they think the problem is, b) how it may have been caused, and c) how it should now be treated.
Another area of communication your vet should be responsible for is keeping you informed of any changes to their schedule.
If an emergency comes up, it’s only right that your vet should attend it immediately, but if as a consequence that means they will be running an hour late, you should be told as soon as possible.
It takes a good vet to keep an open mind about what a problem might be and then to admit it if he/she isn’t sure exactly what is wrong.
Pride should never prevent a vet from asking the advice of a colleague or specialist in that field if it serves you, the client, better.
It is also worth considering how amenable your vet would be to you seeking the advice of a reputable alternative therapist – and how comfortable they’d feel working with them in order to ensure your horse is getting all-round care.