Who should pay the vet bill? - Page 4

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Who should pay the vet bill?

This is a discussion on Who should pay the vet bill? within the Horse Law forums, part of the Horse Resources category
  • Horse owner pays vet bills if not called vet
  • How to get a horse vet to trust you to pay

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    05-13-2011, 09:17 AM
Maura, Your point is well taken. If I am at fault, it is because I didn't do my job properly as a responsible mare owner should examine the afterbirth with a critical eye and determine that the placenta is still in her.
Howclever, I don't follow your logic. IMHO the very fact that I didn't call another vet proves that I completely trusted in the care of my vet. Inherent in their decision to not come is the concept that it is not necessary for anyone to come. I didn't call them with a demand for them to come. I called them asking if they should come? The office lady said it isn't necessary to come. I trusted that advice. If I had called other vets it would prove that I was not relying on their advice.
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    05-13-2011, 09:22 AM
Maybe my story is not clear but that morning we made three calls to the vet. My wife made two calls to the on-call vet in the early morning where she asked the vet to come and told her about her concerns
Then I made a call later that morning and I asked the office lady what was the policy.
    05-13-2011, 09:25 AM
Green Broke
Who cares whether you were relying on their advice or not?

You obviously at some point thought, "hmmm might need a vet for this one". When you called the vet and the office lady said that you didn't need a vet and you accepted that, you, as you continue to say, trusted in their advice.

That to me, says that they quelled any concerns that you had. The fact that an emergency arose later is entirely on you for not pushing the matter.

It's great that you trust your vet so much, but I guarantee you that they are capable of being wrong. Being wrong does not make them bad vets, nor does it make them liable for your vet bills.

You took on the responsibility of a horse. That includes taking on that horse's vet bills. I can not even imagine trying to palm this off on the vet.
    05-13-2011, 09:32 AM
What HC is saying is that you know the horse the vet's secretary does not. It is your job to express a situation to let the secretary know what is going on.

It sounds like when you called you simply stated, 'We had a mare give birth, she had problems in the past but seems to be doing fine now. Do you have a practice of doing post birth exams?'.

When the secretary said an exam was not needed you should have insisted, even saying, 'I realize it is not the norm but I, as the owner of this horse, would prefer to pay for an exam, can you please schedule me in for a same day emergency visit from Dr. Vet That I like?'.

If you felt it was important enough to call three times (which you are now saying you did), then it was important enough to put your foot down and say that it is your check book and though your worries might be unfounded you are truly worried and can you please pay for a same day emergency check.

Being the receptionist at a vets office is a fine line. There are people who feel that they sent the vet out only to make money and there are people who freak about a tiny little cut that just needed a little triple antibiotic. There is no real way for the vet receptionist to know who you are in the grand scheme of things. You only know if you truly need the vet.

Saying you depend on them to decide is a cop out. From what you posted it sounds like you have breeding experience, I am guessing the vet assumed that you had checked the placenta, etc.
    05-13-2011, 09:34 AM
Green Broke
Thanks AB, you did a better job of explaining that than I did.
    05-13-2011, 09:38 AM
His wife spoke to the vet on-call TWICE so what does the receptionist have to do with anything? The conversation should have happened with THE VET.
    05-13-2011, 09:41 AM
Originally Posted by Sahara    
His wife spoke to the vet on-call TWICE so what does the receptionist have to do with anything? The conversation should have happened with THE VET.
Wife talked to the on call vet and then he called the office and got the receptionist and all he did was ask what the policy was.

That is why it matters.

Had he insisted on a vet visit that morning, which is what he wanted best I can tell from his original post, instead of saying 'um ok', then things would not have progressed.

I think Maura makes a GREAT point above that does have to be taken into consideration.
    05-13-2011, 09:44 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by HowClever    
Who cares whether you were relying on their advice or not?
I have to disagree here. While it is the owners responsibility to seek medical care for his/her mare, a person SHOULD be able to trust the advice or the expertise of their vet.

My person reaction to this is to find a new vet because this vet has lost "trust"....
    05-13-2011, 09:47 AM
Originally Posted by farmpony84    
My person reaction to this is to find a new vet because this vet has lost "trust"....
In relation to this statement.

Was the on call vet part of this practice or does this practice share on call services with other practices?
    05-13-2011, 10:56 AM
Because I work in a vets office and have for many many years, I am going to give both sides of this.I do front office and also a vet assistant for both large and small animals.
We always discuss the after hours calls each morning before we open the office so we know what to expect if that person calls from last night, if the vet went out, if so what happened or if the vet did not go out and why.
Here is the the gist of most calls after hours:" hello, my animal is having an issue. Not sure if its an emergency, but it is doing this and that, or just had a baby, or is having babies, etc. Been doing this for a week, or two days or just started with these symptoms".. The vet listens and then says" okay it sounds as if you need me to come out because this is what is happening". Or he might say" if this has been going on for two days and everything seems to be okay, you might want to wait until morning during office hours so you won't have the emergency call and your animal seems to be okay from what you are telling me, however, I will happily come out now if you will feel better, or bring the animal into the office and I will meet you there".
If it is truly an emergency, then most often the person will meet the vet at the office or have a ranch call right then: dog having puppies, cow or mare having foaling issues, stuck foal or calf, obviously sick dog/horse, etc.. BUT, some folks will say" well, it is probably just fine and will wait till tomorrow, just needed to talk to you(the vet) before I made a decision. So, will call the office in the morning, thanks Doc".
Then the person will either call the vet for an appointment that morning or the animal will be okay.Since we know about the call, we expect to hear from the person and if they call will schedule them in at that time, whether the vet goes out or the animal comes in.(we have a large animal clinic behind our small animal clinic with operating stall, stocks, etc)
As the front office personal also, it is our duty to talk on the phone, get symptoms and then have the vet talk to them right then, or schedule an appointment, depending what the client wants. It depends on what the client says as to whether we need to schedule a ranch call or not. Whether its an emergency or not.
After reading a bit more on this thread, I am going to take back what I said about talking to the owner of the clinic and getting possibly a reduction on the bill. It is really great that you, the owner of the mare has total trust in the vet, HOWEVER the vet can only go by what you are saying to them. You can't expect them to say" my mare just had a foal, it is okay? They are not there, they don't know if it had problems in the past, at the time of the phone call, I imagine they don't even know the history of the animal in question since they don't have the previous information on the horse in front of them. You can't expect a vet to know what is going on, especially after hours. THEN the next morning you call and say" my mare foaled, what is the office protocal on being there to attend the birth". The person on the phone probably said what she has been told to say. Since YOU did not specify an emergency or even expressed some concern about your mare and foal, the office person probably did not figure you needed a vet.
If you had called me on the phone and said" what is the protocal of the office and foaling, I would have said something along the lines of" we will happily attend the birth if you want, or if you are concerned about the mare foaling or problems after the foaling, we will be happy to send a vet out to exam the mare before the foaling or exam both of them after the foaling". Would you like that? Are you having an emergency situation right now? Has the mare foaled okay and cleaned out? Would you like a vet to come out as soon as possible?
We can only do so much on the phone. We are not vets at the front office. Sure, I have worked for vets for over 30 years, and know alot and can give minor advice such as" my dog threw up a bunch of white things, what should I do".. my dog just ate decon, what do I do? My horse just went through a fence, what do I do. Any of these are fairly easy: come get worm medicine, get the dog in here right now, how bad is the horse cut? But, if a client calls and says" my mare just foaled and everything looks okay, do you need to come out and never mention the retained placenta, how am I to know you feel its important enough to get the vet out right then as opposed to later that day or the next?
YOU have to quit expecting the vet to take care of your animals over the phone since you don't seem to actually want to tell them what is going on. They can't guess anything, YOU are responsibile for letting them know what is going on, why you are concerned, etc. A vet can only do what he can do with what is given to him , he can't guess.
You owe the entire bill. You can't expect a vet to "take care of my animals with my full trust" when you don't tell them what is going on. Pay it and next time, explain WHAT is going on and WHY you want a vet out, don't trust them to know what is happening when they are not standing there or don't know all the particulars of the case.

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