Tuesdays with Tony – Why you need a “Regular Vet”
Wow, we sure have been busy around here! This week I supervised the docs as they stuck their arms in many mares’ butts. I watched Dr. Vurgason run a camera up a horse’s nose, and Dr. Lacher put stitches in a mini’s eyelid. Also, I enjoyed plenty of attention from the Alachua County 4-H members at our hands-on Fecal Egg Count Seminar this weekend! With the docs running around like kittens chasing catnip, they barely have time to use the litter box, let alone add emergencies into their busy days. However, if you have been using Springhill Equine as your Regular Vet, the docs are much more inclined to find a way to work you into the schedule.
When our docs get a call from someone they don’t know for an emergency, it is understandable that they like to ask a few questions before cancelling all of their scheduled appointments for that day. Question 1: Is this a horse? (You would be surprised how many times we get called for dog, cat, sheep, even parakeet emergencies.) Question 2: Where do you live? (Just because we are Springhill Equine does not mean we are located in Spring Hill, Florida. FYI, Spring Hill is a lovely little town north of Tampa and just west of Brooksville. However it is 2 HOURS away from here.) Question 3: Who is your Regular Vet?
There are a few common answers to this question. Most often, “I don’t have a regular vet, because I haven’t needed one.” This answer baffles me. Who gives your horses their vaccines? Who floats their teeth? Who oversees your deworming protocol and does your horses’ fecal egg counts? Who do you get medications from when you need them? Who do you call for advice when you have questions about your horses’ skin, feet, diet, allergies, etc? If I didn’t have my Regular Vet, I would be in rough shape. He protects me from diseases with vaccines, prescribes a special diet food for me to eat (although this is NOT appreciated by yours truly), keeps me free from fleas and ticks, and gives me that shot to make me stop itching when my skin is driving me crazy.
The second most common answer to that question is, “My Regular Vet is Dr. SoandSo, but I always use you for emergencies!” Believe it or not, this is NOT a compliment. Emergencies are not very lucrative when you consider that all other productivity has to stop in the meantime. I’m not a business cat, but I do know that the bulk of our income is generated through wellness visits during business hours.
Also, why is Dr. SoandSo not coming to see your emergency? Do you owe him money? Is he out of town with no plan for another vet to cover his clients? Is he unreliable about picking up his phone? Perhaps you should consider another vet that is more reliable and consistently available for your horses (and I happen to know two pretty cool ones).
At Springhill Equine, we promise 24/7 emergency coverage for OUR CLIENTS. When you call you will reach a DOCTOR, anytime, day or night. And if Springhill Equine is your Regular Vet, one of our docs will throw on their boots and hurry over to save your horse! I will stay here and guard the cat food until they get back.
Heck, I might even drive them to you! -Tony