14 Tips to Make Your Farm Call Smoother

Whether it is an emergency veterinary farm call or a routine wellness visit from your veterinarian, there are a number of ways to make the farm call smoother for both you and your veterinarian.


1.       When you call to make the routine or emergency call, ensure that you are clear in what your horse’s needs or medical issues are. Mobile veterinarian units are generally well stocked. However, if your horse has special medical needs, be sure to address those at the time of the call.

2.       If you are paying with a credit card, it is sometimes beneficial to call in a card number before the appointment. If your veterinarian typically bills you after the call, ensure you contact the office to make a timely payment.

An unfortunate accident my senior mare had in the pasture that warranted an emergency vet call

3.       Have your address clearly marked from the main road, or leave detailed directions with the veterinarian’s office when you make the appointment.

4.       Be prepared. Have the horses needing attention contained and ready to be evaluated.

5.       If possible, provide shelter from the elements, but also keep in mind ventilation might be a factor depending on the situation.

6.       Try to have your horse be accessible in the “cleanest” working area possible, free of hazards and clutter.               

7.       Access to electrical outlets can sometimes be useful as well.

8.       If multiple horses need to be seen, write a list of medical needs or medications/vaccinations needed by each horse.

9.       Know your horse. Know their typical vital sign ranges and normal behaviors. Know how much water and feed they intake during a typical day. Know what medications they are currently receiving and know what (if any) supplements they are currently taking.

All Over Heathen at The University Of Findlay getting his teeth floated

10.     If you are capable, and your horse seems ill, know how to take vital signs and how to monitor and record these until your veterinarian can arrive.

11.     If you have a difficult to handle horse, precautions like twitches or even a light sedation for that horse may be necessary for a full physical exam to be completed. One way to prevent these types of scenarios is to work with your horses on being handled and palpated. By desensitizing your horse to this type of handling it can make emergency type of situations much less stressful, and allows your veterinarian to better treat your horse.

12.  One of the biggest complaints I hear working in the veterinary field is when owners don’t know when to call the vet in time for emergencies. They attempt to wait it out, and in general you see a worsening of the situation. If in doubt, call the office.

13.  Honesty is truly the best policy when reporting on your horse’s health and care. When reporting on how your horse has been doing, or how the emergent situation came about, try to be as accurate as possible to help your veterinarian form the best possible treatment plan. Furthermore, be honest about financial constraints. This will help your veterinarian to know what the best treatment plan for your horse will be, given the budget you have.  

14.  Good communication with your veterinarian is very important in all situations.

Often times we become close with our veterinarians and their staff, it is vital to remember that your veterinarian needs to focus on treating your horse first before reassuring you or getting caught up since the last visit, this is especially true in emergency situations. It is easy to get caught up chatting with your veterinarian while they tend to your horses medical needs. Be mindful that he or she will have other calls and patients to attend to that day and may need to make a quick exit once your horses are cared for. In any situation, especially emergency situations know your financial limitations and abilities and be upfront with your veterinarian about this. We all have a budget to live by and your veterinarian is truly there to care for your horse. However they also have staff to pay, trucks to fill with gas and to maintain, an office to keep up and running. They have to pay these bills in order to be available to serve you in times of sickness and in health with your horses. Being an equine veterinarian, as any other career in the equine industry, is a labor of love.

-Emily Bomgardner