Your vet is not Superhuman.
Did you hear me?
I said, “your vet does not have superpowers”
So often we hear, before you go to training on that horse hard, for doing something wrong, take it to the vet. Which is great advice. Don’t get me wrong.
I believe in going to the vet. Actually, I’m there at a minimum about once a month (performance stuff) and I only have two horses. But the thing is, that people go to the vet, walk in the door hand over the lead rope and say, “find the problem and then fix it.”
…and this is where I feel so bad for vets, I can’t even imagine the stress they feel or how they handle it.
They are expected to take an animal, an animal that can’t talk, a species that the vet (as a human) has no first hand experience of being (well because they aren’t a horse) and find a problem that may be causing illness, lameness or some minor discomfort that may be causing a lack of performance.
AND… That is assuming that there is only one problem.
Let me promise you… there is never just one “problem.”
That is because animals, all animals, humans, horses, dogs, cats, turtles, you name it, are complicated biological beings that work off millions of different biochemical and physiological processes that all work together. One decision that the body makes, compounds another decision that the body makes. That is why it is so important to take care of problems before they become huge problems. For the love of God… take your horse to the vet.
Ok, now that we have that covered, let’s talk about the “find the problem and then fix it” approach.
Your vet can do this, he can find a problem and then do what he can to fix it… Unfortunately, it may not be the problem nor the solution to what brought you to the vet in the first place.
…and guess what
…that is not your vet’s fault.
Do you know why?
Because your vet is not Superhuman.
Finding problems and solving them takes time and your vet can’t do it alone. It’s a process.
They depend on you to follow the directions they give you; they depend on you as the person who knows the animal better than anyone to pay attention to details. They depend on your knowledge of your horse’s daily activities to be communicated to them.
It’s your responsibility, if you want to get your monies worth out of your vet bills to know your horse better than anyone. When do they lay down during the day? How do they move? Which hip do they have cocked? How do the muscles on their back feel? Are they cranky? How does their coat look?
I could go on for days, but just know that it is your responsibility to know these things and it is your responsibility to tell your vet about these things.
They may think you’re a little crazy.
That’s ok, it better to have too much information, then not enough.
Einstein was a little crazy too…. However, I’m no Einstein, so that may not even be relevant.
Communication and relationship building is so important when it comes to your vet.
After years and years of working together on different horses, you will start to learn each other’s styles and what each of you is looking for. What your concerns are? What you want to accomplish? How much you can afford for treatment?
It will change the way you see veterinary medicine. You will grow to appreciate the knowledge your vet has and the countless hours and sacrifices they have made to learn a trade to not just keep animals alive, but to help them be the best versions of themselves as possible.
After a while, your vet will become so intertwined in your life, it won’t feel like going to the vet.
It will be more like consulting with one of the key players on your team. A mentor. An Adviser. A Coach.
Your vet is not Superhuman.
And that’s ok.