Your Equine Vet

Before you buy a horse, find a reliable veterinarian. The vet will guide and help you in choosing an appropriate horse for your situation. He will also help you put into perspective your reasons for buying a horse and tell you if they”re valid.

The two types of veterinarians include general practitioners and specialists. For the everyday care of your horse, find a general practitioner who is not only close by, but practices on equines at least fifty percent of the time. When interviewing a potential vet, find out what additional services he offers.

Finding a specialist isn”t necessary. If the need arises, your vet will recommend one or more who can handle the specific medical needs of your horse.

Your vet will become part of you and your horse”s extended family, making house calls and getting to know your horse. A local veterinary association or other local horse owners can help by providing you with referrals to good equine vets in the area. Finding the right one will ensure a happy life for you and your horse.

Taking the Initiative

Set up an appointment with a veterinarian to discuss what you want in a doctor. You”ll want a vet who is patient with your questions and talks to you in terms appropriate to your level of experience. Don”t ever be nervous about asking questions. If the veterinarian appears impatient, you may consider choosing one who has more time to help you with basics.

Another good idea would be to invite the vet to visit the area where you”re planning to keep the horse. Let him have a look around so he can tell you what you”ll need. If a vet isn”t willing to do this, it”s a sign that you might want to look elsewhere.

Be sure that your vet actually likes horses and has an obvious rapport with your horse in particular. This is important for the safety and comfort of both your horse and the vet.

Questions for Your Vet

Once you”ve established a relationship with a local equine veterinarian, you”re sure to have lots of questions about your horse. As a first-time owner, some common concerns to discuss with a vet include:

  • the pre-purchase exam
  • vaccinations
  • deworming
  • general nutrition and your horse”s specific needs
  • breeding, if this interests you.

Working with Your Equine Vet

For routine check-ups and emergencies, most vets will make a house call for large animals such as horses. This saves the owner the inconvenience of having to trailer the horse, which may take longer than the actual appointment.

Getting Ready

When you meet with your vet, whether at the stables or in the office, here are things you can do to make the appointment go more smoothly:

  • Catch and tie the horse in an area away from other horses. The last thing a vet wants to do is spend the first hour running after your horse.
  • Calm the horse down. It doesn”t help the vet if your horse is rearing or bucking wildly during the visit. This is especially important for emergency calls.
  • Provide information! Give the vet as much information as possible about how the horse has been acting, both physically and mentally. Tell the vet how the horse usually acts and how the behavior is different from his usual demeanor. Vets aren”t mind readers.
  • Always be on time and ready for your appointment.
  • Remember that a clean horse is easier for your veterinarian to examine and treat.


Keeping records of all your horse”s vaccinations, deworming, physical exams and injuries will help the veterinarian in diagnosing problems with your horse. By recognizing a recurring problem, the vet may be able to diagnose and treat your horse during the early stages.