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.