Veterinarian (How to choose, What to expect)

ALEX: Deciding who your veterinarian should be is really about what region you’re in. If you’re in a highly dense population of horses, it’s going to be easier to find veterinarians. A lot of veterinarians are mobile — they come right to your barn. So it’s a matter of knowing where you live, what’s available and also by recommendation.

I think asking people, “what veterinarian do you use?” Asking people in your equestrian community, “who do you recommend?” That’s probably the best way to really find somebody to care for your horse.

STEVE: Word of mouth is a great way, because you’re going to get feedback from people that have had an ongoing experience or a long-term relationship.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners has an online service that will help you select a veterinarian. And it will also help you decide if you need a clinic or something that’s in your vicinity.

So you can go online with the American Association of Equine Practitioners website, and it has an area that you can go to that will help you select a veterinarian that’s experienced in your particular discipline, that would be most applicable to what you need, your desires and what you’re going to use your horse for.

ALEX: And it’s important to know, if you’re going to be having a breeding operation, you need a reproductive veterinarian. If you’re going to have some racehorses, you need a really good diagnostic lameness veterinarian, which Steve is. If you’re in Wellington, Florida and you ride show horses or jumpers, you need a person that’s really familiar with sports-related injuries.

Also it’s important to know that a professional of that stature, what their background is. Obviously they had a lot of schooling going into becoming educated to be a veterinarian.

I like to find out what that person did before they became a veterinarian. If they’re a large-animal veterinarian, were they in the horse business? Did they have a recreational horse before they went to vet school? Because I think that background is really important, because they did it, they learned the anatomies and all the different things that go on about taking care of a horse and different illnesses. So I think those two things are very important. That’s what I would recommend.