Equine veterinarians play a key role in providing medical care for horses at all times. They are licensed animal doctors who are qualified to diagnose and treat horses and specialize in the management of horse health. Most horse vets in Australia have studied at university for a minimum of 5 years.
In their role, an equine veterinarian performs, but is not limited to, the following duties:
- Basic examination
- Prescribing medicine
- Evaluating and suturing wounds
- Performing surgeries
- Post-surgical examinations
- Monitoring the reproductive health of stallions and broodmares
- X-rays and Ultrasounds
- Correction of limb deformities
- Pre-purchase examinations
- Solving lameness issues
Choosing the right veterinarian is not just a personal choice but also a complex one. It is important to take into consideration what is most important to you and the management of your horse’s health. The following are some things to consider:
- Communication: How the veterinarian communicates with you. This involves communication methods, understanding technical language and discussion of condition, treatment options, and cost.
- Character and personality: Most commonly the most important factor. An individual’s character and personality are made up of a combination of intangible factors as well as intelligence, integrity, motivation and passion. It is important that the veterinarian’s personality aligns with one you feel comfortable with.
- Horsemanship: Watch how the veterinarian handles the horse; good horsemanship should be part of the package. Of course, not every horse is easy to handle, but it is important to ensure they are capable and aware of basic handling of horses.
- Education and Experience: All veterinarians complete the same degree, however, are exposed to different practical placements. Experience allows veterinarians to develop their skills. New graduates may lack some experience, however, require exposure to develop and are usually working alongside an experienced clinician.
- Availability: Quite self-explanatory, the veterinarian’s availability will influence if they can be your vet. This may include location, working schedule and facilities. It’s a good idea to have a backup veterinarian you can call, just in case they are caught up in an emergency.
All veterinarians treating your horse have a duty of care and they all want the best possible outcome for each case they are involved in. Horse Vets have specialized their career to focus on horses and they too share your passion for them.
To find your local Horse Vet, visit the Australian Veterinary Association: http://www.ava.com.au/equine.