Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Teach Me Tuesday: When Do You Call the Vet?

I'm a pretty low-maintenance person, medically.

Like... uh... how do I say this. As an example, I have a close family member who nearly lost a limb because they neglected to put a bandaid on a wound which then got infected and scared doctors. And that close family member and I share a lot of philosophies.
and then we went to a football game
Which is to say, while I'm very proactive about Courage's management and training and feeding, I tend to take a lackadaisical approach to vet care. Courage gets vaccinations and teeth done on a regular basis. He also likes to blow his legs up on a regular basis and my response is always "ehhhhh it'll probably go down with work".
unrelated wildly attractive photo
And it does.

So I'm unlikely to change.

But I'm not all people and I know other people have different ideas. Tell me, blogland, what does your horse have to do to get you to make a non-routine call to the vet?
are you creepy BFFs?


  1. I will call the vet if there is a demonstrable risk to life. Those occasions are few. Everything else I basically spray some Scarlex/antibacterial ointment on it and call it good.
    Usual examples include:
    - Neck/jaw swollen so as to worry about horse's ability to breathe
    - Leg falling off, literally, hanging off
    - A wound that needs stitches (meaning large enough that I may actually lose my cell phone in it, anything smaller will heal without just fine)
    - A mild lameness that is not associated with a wound, and has gone on for more than a few days
    - A severe lameness that is not related to the hoof
    - Eye stuff, excepting minor leakiness and cuts near the eye
    - Anything my husband looks at the photo of and goes "Woooooooooaaah that's interesting" usually requires an emergency call.

    If this horse has taught me anything it's: Panic is useless, time heals best, and blood doesn't get you out of work.

  2. If it makes me uncomfortable, I will at least text the vet, send a picture, and ask his opinion. My vet thinks I'm crazy. I'm ok with that. There is only one Henry and I cannot replace him.

  3. I lean toward treatment and palliative care asap ... colic symptoms, hot & localized swelling anywhere, stinky nasal drainage, fever, weird breathing, inexplicable lameness, explicable lameness, changes in diet or manner of going under saddle ... stuff like that.

  4. I'm totally a wait and see kind of person, unless, like Austen said, there's a risk to life.

    My husband's dog tweaked something in her hind leg while rough housing in the backyard a month or so ago. She'd be fine on it some days and gimpy others. I decided the vet was going to tell me she needed rest, so I kept the 2 dogs separated as much as possible and didn't let my dog force her into playing. A few weeks later, she's good as new. But, that also came with most days showing some sort of improvement. If she'd gotten worse at any point while on "bed rest," I would have taken her in.

    My dog, on the other hand, has a bump on her chest that has been there since before we left for our wedding and honeymoon, and I am going to take her in this week to have it checked. It hasn't changed at all, not better or worse, but I want to make sure it's not cancer or something else to be worried about.

  5. I have a similar philosophy. The vet gets called IMMEDIATELY for: colic, large wounds needing stitches, eye stuff (unless it's just D's allergies acting up in the spring), or other severe life threatening injuries/diseases. Vet gets called after I wait it out a bit for persistent lameness not caused by an abscess or something else I can easily identify, persistent skin problems that are not responding to treatment that I need drugs for, or diagnostics/blood testing for any NQR'ness that's making my spidey senses go off. But for most things, a little basic first aid, turnout, and time usually sorts them out.

  6. I vary. I've found that being proactive with the most extreme treatment plan can actually cut down costs in the long run. However, I only apply this method to more extreme instances - like bigger cuts, mysterious lameness, colic (any sign of colic I now call the vet immediately), anything near the eyes, etc. Small cuts, some leg swelling, and even splints I may not call the vet for, as they all tend to resolve on their own with time. Fiction is, luckily, a pretty hardy horse.

  7. I immediarely call for:
    -pitting edema
    -I would for colic, but never had too.

    Pretty much anything else I give a wait and see approach.

  8. My horses love our vet and so make sure that I have some reason to call them more or less monthly. Between Brego's teeth and foot, Paddy's hocks, and them needing shots every 6 months... yeah, our vet loves us.

  9. I call the vet whenever she's necessary; for colic, when they need stitches, when there's something wrong with my horse and I don't know what, etc. But if nothing happens and I don't need her, she pretty much only comes out for the usual vaccines, to do coggins, teeth floating and all that jazz.

    I've called her a couple times when my boy has hurt his eye (he likes messing up his eye, figures) and I won't hesitate to call over eyes. If he's lame for more than a couple days and it's not hoof related, etc. But really..I call her very rarely.

  10. i text the vet for everything. bc i love my vet and she is awesome and i want to be her bff. if she sounds alarmed it turns into a call and then inevitably a million dollar panic vet visit.

  11. I used to be more wait and see but post EPM any off step without an obvious cause I want to call the vet. I usually mange not to immediately call and give things awhile. As far as everything else as long as it doesn't need stitches, doesn't show signs of infection, and/or lameness with an obvious cause is improving I take care of it and don't call the vet.

  12. Sydney sees the vet for shots and dental work, but beyond that I am a "wait and see" type of person. I don't like running to the vet unless it is something that either doesn't resolve itself in a couple of days (such as a lameness), or that clearly requires stitches (such as a certain horse putting her leg through the fence). Any minor lumps, bumps, and scrapes I take care of myself.

  13. Knock on wood, Katai is pretty hardy and takes good care of herself. I pretty much do the same as most people above, any sort of odd behavior that I can't explain, stitches, colic that's not responding to simple walking and a little time, lameness that lasts past a certain point or is more severe than a slight head bob at the trot.

    1. And of course the regular stuff like vaccines and floating teeth :)

  14. I side with you and have gotten much flak for it form the old lady panickers at every barn I've ever been to ever....

    BUT. Unless it needs stitches or is colic (or some other insane injury/illness) I don't even bother. My vet is outrageously expensive too so that doesn't help. I've found that time heals most wounds and colds will go away with care, no need to freak out and call the vet for every little thing.

    Sadly, Yankee is vet prone having had cancer and colic surgery and B tends to slash himself in weird places, requiring stitches... so theres that.

  15. Pongo and I were BFF with the vet. He lived large and when he hurt himself it was always pretty dramatic/impressive...torn glute, broken splint, broken pastern (wtf), torn lip, the list goes on and on...For limb injuries I usually call, not wanting a small issue to turn into a huge one from waiting and seeing. I usually give it a day or two and one ride to see if that makes it better/same/worse and then make the call.

  16. I seem to have a close personal relationship with my vet, whether I like it or not. I started out very much low maintenance, but it took us so dang long to diagnose the kissing spine, that I sorta ended up relying pretty heavily on my vet. But for lumps/bumps/bruises and the like, I don't call.

    I definitely waited on this last round of NQR, as I was not looking forward to another round of vet bills, yet here we are.

  17. I am fortunate to be friends with my vet. That being said I can call her and she will say if I come out this is what I will do and we determine if it is something I can handle. If it gets worse she comes out. I keep her posted. With texting and pictures I can share what I'm dealing with. A colicky horse can be a difficult call and determining at what point I need help and you don't want to call them at 4am. So for me it is a case by case call with each of mine.

  18. I don't consider body work vet work otherwise I'd probably be one of THOSE people. A non-routine vet call only comes if there's a bad colic or my horse is on three legs. Other than that, I'm pretty meh as well mostly because I feel confident handling low key vet things by myself.

  19. I'm fortunate to have two horses who are super low-maintenance, so they really only see the vet for their annual vaccinations and Coggins tests. I had the vet run some bloodwork on Moe while she was out this year because he was acting so weird; turns out he's fine, just bored. So for his weird hives and sudden skin fungus and for Gina's consistently fat hind legs, I shrug my shoulders and figure they'll be fine. (And if they aren't, let's be real- I am not spending a fortune on two elderly TBs.)

  20. Unexplained lameness or increasing lameness for more than a few days. If they seem to be getting better, i leave it to a muscle strain or stepping on a rock sort of thing. Wounds that need stitches... colic... i vaccinate them myself... vet checks their teeth once a year... hmmm... I'm pretty low key and need a real reason to get the vet out.

  21. High fever, unexpected or severe lameness, stitches, anything with the eyes, rattling breathing or breathing difficulty, suspected moderate to severe colic (mild I'll walk and banamine first), anything neurological, anything I can't explain that makes me think lyme since that's so endemic out here. I guess I'm more vet happy than most, which is a surprise. I felt guilty about not calling the vet when Theo's leg blew up due to a minor scrape since it's on his hock. Infection that close to the hock . . . . but I guess I'm a paranoid mom.

  22. I've seen a lot and like others here, its case by case, wait and see.... colic I will give them something to help them relax and wait, but also call the vet and give them a heads up so if things don't get any better or get any worse, my second call will be me a bit more stressed and maybe jacked up.

    Prolonged lameness, swelling that doesn't repsond to hosing, walking, maybe even wrapping (lower legs) they will warrant a call to assess and decide on treatment. Stitches and anything with massive blood loss or things sticking/hanging out where they shouldn't be will have me going for Speed Dial!

  23. After Foster, I feel like I am now BFF with my vet... so I'm in the habit of sending photos of anything suspicious or anything that lasts more than 4 days if swollen/heat/etc.

  24. I'm definitely a "time heals all" kind of girl. I'll call for a phone consultation if I'm on the fence about things, but other than that I have to feel like there will be serious harm in the absence of professional care to call. My vet says that he has full trust in my ability to properly care for anything that does not require specialized training or prescription medicine, and doesn't see the point in taking my money if all he's going to do is show up and say "just keep doing what you're doing."

    It also helps, I think, that my horse is generally smart enough to keep herself out of trouble.

  25. I call when I'm unsure. After talking with the vet we decide if she/he needs to come out. I generally only call if I don't know what to do or don't know what's going on. Irish colics frequently enough that I don't call if it's mild.

  26. i'm somewhat of a panicky hypochondriac... kinda. except for when i'm not? idk. it's kinda weird lol. wounds don't bother me, stuff i can understand doesn't bother me. but the no-see-'ems? idk, they freak me out.

    but...... the reality is whenever i get vet happy and ask the horse's owner to have the vet out, it's a crap shoot on whether she'll even answer me, let alone agree. so. the end result is probably somewhere very middle of the road.

  27. Anything where I don't know exactly what it is and what to do about it! Large cuts, deep punctures, severe bleeding, mild colic that isn't 100% gone after 12 hours, severe colic, mild lameness that shows no improvement after 7 days' total rest, any severe lameness, foreign objects in the foot, fever that does not abate 3-4 hours after treatment, symptoms of any deadly virus (Africa has a whole selection of those), or anything I don't recognise. Yard owners in South Africa are legally allowed and generally trained to inject most medicines, so we can handle most diseases by ourselves.

  28. If it looked immediately life-threatening, I'd call the vet. Anything else, wait and see. I called the vet for the one colic episode a few years back, but the advice I got from him went along with "give it more time", so! Scrapes heal easily enough, lamenesses get a few days, I gave her cough a week to get better - and by then it was improving so I quit worrying too much and never did have the vet out. I've only had my mare a few years, but I have a wealth of knowledge in other ladies at the barn that I can call on for advice and assistance when need be, so I'm comfortable not going to the vets for help very often.

  29. We typically own anywhere from 20-30 horses at a time, so, I've gotten my fair share of experience dealing with all sorts of medical issues. This experience is invaluable and I have learned enough to treat a large number of issues. However, there are some things that have me dialing the vet ASAP. The include (but are not limited to): colic symptoms that are not resolved 1 hour after giving 10cc of banamine, puncture wounds, severe lameness that isn't related to an abscess, lameness that isn't resolved from a couple days of icing, wounds requiring stitches, fevers, etc.. Most importantly, I follow my gut. If I feel the need to call the vet, I call.

  30. *KNOCKS ON ALL THE WOOD* In 7 years Pearl has never given me an ER vet call, only $$$$$ mystery lameness visits. She has an old scar on a hind leg that was obviously sticked years ago, but I mean literally has never done anything besides mildly dinged herself. Oh and one mild gas colic than resolved in 20 minutes with NSAIDs. So I've never really had to play the "hmm, does this warrant a vet call" game.

    She did recently blow up with a nasty case of scratches that I haven't been able to get out often enough to treat, so it's blowing up. That would've warranted a vet call, except I work for my vet, so it was more of a "text vet a picture and pick up antibiotics on my way to the barn" situation.

    Things that would make me call the vet: colic that doesn't resolve with banamine, non weight bearing lameness that doesn't look like an abscess, something needing stitches (secretly hoping she needs stitches at some point so I can learn how to suture), body parts hanging off, etc. I'm so glad I can play the text a vet/how serious is this game though, because I am the worst at phone calls.


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