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Equine Clinical Wall

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    Just wondering if any equine vets have policies around horses that are poorly trained/handled and therefore are difficult/nearly impossible for equine vets to treat?

    For example at 6yo horse you need to sedate for a procedure but are unable to needle even after oral sedation.

    Do you spend the time training and desensitising the horse? Is that something insurance companies would cover if something went wrong while you were working with the horse?

    What do you charge the client for this? It takes a lot of time out of your busy day?

    Do you charge extra for sedation as these horses often require additional drugs?

    How do you keep the client on board through this? Clients are quick to judge and blame the vet for their horse’s bad behaviour.




    Hi Megan,

    Thanks for posting your question. I don’t at this time have an answer as I’m a smallies vet, but I did just want to say how much harder you have it when it comes to patients being somewhat disagreeable! Much respect.

    As this is our first week since launching, the walls will be a little quiet, so  do follow the thread to see when there is an answer. Also, little request, if you tell a friend or two about the site and what we’ve got going on here then it’ll get busier faster. Again, thanks for being an early adopter!



    Hey Megan,

    I haven’t seen a clinic policy about this in 3 different practices, but I have some personal rules. If they’re beligerent or I’m acually at risk – abort mission. Your insurance will cover it, but then you might not be able to work. Is that really worth it?

    There are a few different oral sedations I’ll try before quitting entirely, but I always tell them that I can’t safely do x, y or z and it will be safer & cost less to find a trainer to work with them and their horse. I try to suggest a few people who are good with difficult horses, although in some areas, this has been very hard because the locals have poor reputations. I don’t offer to do any training, but I will go touch some horses every time I’m at certain barns. The BEVS “don’t hurt your vet” youtube videos are where I send everyone with needle shy horses. I also have a pole injector on my truck for IM dosing over a wall or through a fence (but I’m not very good at it).

    I always charge for the dose of sedation I actually use, don’t loose money on someone else’s poor training, just point them in the right direction. I haven’t had owners judge, but we talk about how I can’t get hurt and keep treating horses, and my oncall group will be down a vet. I tell them that if this horse gets hurt or sick, nobody will be able to help them because we can’t take a temperature, get blood or stitch it up. If the horse is only reactive around the vet, I recommend they bring in other horsey people and trainers so there are just more hands on the horse over time. I’ve had horses go unvaccinated and I’m ok with that. I’ve euthanised horses when they’re sick enough to touch.

    Eventually, its up to the owner to do what’s best, and “you can’t care more than the owner”.



    Thanks for responding Christy. I appreciate your contribution to our community. 🙂 Hope that was helpful Megan.

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