Finding a new vet

So I just made a huge moved (US-Canada) with my mare and I need to find a new vet. I’ve been reading about local vets, looking at websites, people’s specialties, etc.

I’d like to get my mare a general wellness exam just to get a baseline on her vitals and health. I’m also thinking of a lameness exam since she is in the early teens and just made a long haul. She is working well, but not moving under herself as I know she can and we are about to start jumping again.

So, what do people recommend when it comes to vetting a vet? I feel like calling a couple up just to chat with them about their philosophies, etc. I’ve asked around and most people just use the vet that normally comes to the barn. Which is ok…I live in a performance horse rich area though, so I know there are some GREAT vets around.

Since it will be a couple hundred with the exam and barn call, I don’t feel like having a bunch of people out.

Any ideas?

Do you know any horse people up there? I would ask someone who has been in the area for a long time. After they make some suggestions, call the vets they recommend and then ask them about their philosophies, strengths etc.

Visit a tack store or feed store and ask the local folk in there. You will get an honest opinion on the local vets.

Visit a tack store or feed store and ask the local folk in there. You will get an honest opinion on the local vets.[/QUOTE]

THIS^! Vets’ unspoken specialties and fields of interest in their practice vary widely. We have some hereabouts who REALLY only want to deal with sporthorses on the AA Circuit. You find that out when they act like they’re slumming should you call them for a backyard or retired horse. Still remember the time one of these was “too busy measuring ponies” at a show two miles away to come take care of a retiree with an abscess turning into a coffin joint infection!

These days I’m using a vet (not the closest one in distance necessarily) who has an expressed interest in geriatric horses and actually encourages owners to use them via a “Senior Wellness” program advertised on their site. Other issues are:
How comfortable are they with leaving supplies for you to self-treat minor issues short of a farm call? What are their criteria for euthanasia and how do they handle it? Find out from other horsepeople who pads the bill, who insists on a farm call for every scratch with multiple followups and who plays straight with owners and lets their finances and preferences dictate the standard of care? If they’re trying to guilt you into bone scans and MRI’s and constant hock injections, they may not be a fit for you if your checkbook is more limited than Peter Leone’s. :wink:

Think about your horse’s needs, and ask both tack store people and anyone hanging about in there which vet would be the best fit–then pursue the “interview” and see if you’re philosophically on the same page.

And you can’t always count on what is on the web to be accurate. A practice I once used hasn’t updated their website in 2+ years. New doctors and staff are not listed, among other things.

OTOH, the practice I use now doesn’t even have a website, just a phone number listed online and in the phone book. If you stopped in the feed store or tack shop near my vet’s practice those folks would point you right to the building.

Word of mouth is the best source, IMO.

While you are running down leads, pick at least two vets you would be comfortable using when your primary is unavailable for whatever reason. These days most are running out of multi vet practices, that’s both good and bad as all are not equal and there is usually a less experienced one in the mix.

Rather than simply call several vets, I’d make an effort to meet a few in person. I know for me, the type of relationship that I have with that person is most important. That along with understanding their treatment approach.

If you are boarding, see if more than one vet comes out there. Ask other boarders who they use. Several people will have used more than one in the area and will have opinions of several. Then, find out when people have appointments scheduled and plan to get to the barn at the same time. You don’t need to formally interview the vet, but simply observe from a distance and introduce yourself if you like what you hear/see.

I’ve also recently made a big move and was spoiled as I managed the practice for my vet, and she was fabulous and I had everything I needed at my fingertips. Now I’m hundreds of miles away and going through your same process. I met the vet that most of the barn uses, and he’s a nice enough guy, but his personality is lacking and having heard his treatment approach on several different conditions, I know he’s not my guy. BUT, I’ve met him, and he gave my mare her fall shots as I’d rather have some relationship with a less than perfect vet that is close by and accessible than no relationship. I continue to meet other vets in the area and I am blessed being not far from several wonderful large clinics that I can haul to if something really serious happens.

What part of the country are you in? If you could mention at least the name of the nearest large city to your location, that would help us help you.

I would contact the AAEP for a list of vets in your area (and also to see if there have been any complaints against them). That’s a good start – as well as the closest university equine hospital and their staff.

Thanks everyone for the responses. I am in Edmonton, AB Canada.

I’ve been asking around the people at the barn, and for the most part they seem pretty hands off of their horses care. Which is weird to me…

Lady Eboshi, thanks for the tip to ask about leaving supplies or even picking them up. My last vet was totally cool about that and I took it for granted.

Thanks again, everyone!

Well, the Edmonton area has the equine vet facilities of Shawn Archibald.

I live in the Calgary area, thus close to the equine practice of Moore and Company

They have several great equine vets, with various specialties. I have used them for PPEs for horses that we sold, and also for more complicated veterinary diagnostics