The Horse Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Every summer a horse at my barn starts to colic due to dehydration. I don't know all the details except that she obviously does not drink enough water. The vet comes out and decides she needs to go to the emergency hospital for IV fluids. To walk in the charge starts at $1500. They give her fluids and she is fine. Just wondering if it is asking to much for the vet to give her fluids at the barn. Seems like the stress would be much less as well as the vet bill. This has happened every year for 4 years. To add to the stress it seems to always be when the owner has just left for vacation, seriously...every time. Should she look for a vet that will do the fluids at our barn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
They need try to find a vet who would figure out why the horse isn't drinking enough water in the first place. Or if it's something else like Anhidrosis.

Horses don't usually just not drink. there's something the matter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
801 Posts
I agree with the above post. Not normal for an otherwise healthy horse to be dehydrated with access to shade and water.

I work at a vet hospital (though it is small animal and not equine) and I would say it's pretty ridiculous to be sent out to emergency with a $1500+ bill just to get fluids. The only reason I can see a vet being hesitant to do it themselves at the barn might be the time it takes to get all the fluids into the horse's system, since it can be a while, but I bet the extra charge for their time still wouldn't come anywhere near the price and hassle of going to emergency.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,951 Posts
Uhhh the vets here give IV on the spot (UK for reference). But they still would recommend to come in if they felt it but they wouldn't wait until the hospital visit to begin/attempt it? Not in my limited experience anyway.

I agree with finding out why though. Dirty trough? Old yard didn't really clean the trough much and while she'd drink from it my mare would always drink two buckets worth of fresh water I'd put in front of her every time I was down. In fact no matter what I'm doing she has a bucket of fresh water put there as I like me some well hydrated horse I do. Getting bullied maybe? Too close to an electric line (I cant remember who mentioned it but their horse got shocked accidentally once and wouldn't go near the bucket for a while)? Tastes yucky coz of the heat and plastic? Too far away from shelter? Seems cheaper to find this answer or figure out a watering routine (offering a fresh drink daily - chop some apples in a bucket or after a feed?).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
951 Posts
It happens when owner goes on vacation?
Is the owner doing something different than what the staff is?

There's no reason for a horse vet to refuse to give fluids at the barn. Has anyone ever stood up to the vet and ask for the work to be done at the barn instead?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
I honestly think every horse owner should be able to give IV meds. I don't condone self diagnosis without at least a vet consultation, but every owner should be able to get a needle in the neck vein. It could be a matter of life and death for your horse at some point. That's a pretty steep price just for saline. I agree with above that there is a reason the horse stops drinking when owner goes out of town. To plan ahead for trouble, I would soak all feed in plenty of water and make sure trough or bucket is clean and full of fresh cool water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is no change due to the owner being away. She is with a smallish herd so I think it might be hard to know what she is drinking. I will assume that the problem has been addressed with the vet since this has happened so many times. I will suggest she keep her private in the summer months. The barn manager is very knowledgeable and certainly could give fluids himself. I think she needs to change vets but was really curious if not giving them is the norm. Can't help but feel they are in somehow with the emergency clinic.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
12,909 Posts
Not all vets offer mobile service. Those that do cannot always guarantee the vet on mobile duty will be available as he may be on another call. Safest is to haul and depending on the amount of fluids, the amount of time spent in the clinic utilizing their space for keeping the animal there and whether there are any other needs that you are not aware of I can certainly that price.



Another consideration is insurance. If there is a policy on the horse then there is a standard of care that must be met before a payout in the event the horse dies. The BO giving IV fluids would likely not meet the standard of care.



I have one that colics. We know her triggers and plan in advance and always have electrolytes and salt on hand to add to her feed to keep her drinking through them. That means any drastic change in temp or pressure. Cold, wet rains. Change in herd dynamics.



If this is something that has happened regularly then it is the owners responsibility to figure out why it occurs and make arrangements that would help prevent an episode. There is a trigger. The BO should also be able to pinpoint change and help determine potential causes. If the owner has no problem paying the bill and expects this every time those circumstances line up then it is her responsibility to also be prepared financially.


ETA Sorry just read the vet comes out and then sends horse to the clinic. That is also not out of the norm. Depends on the vets schedule and facilities that may be lacking at the barn and again insurance. Cost will also depend on the time of day called out and horse arrives at the clinic. Could be the $1500 is combined vet call to the farm plus the clinic charges? The only emergency service I have used has a walk in charge and then added care fees. That is how they keep staff around the clock. It isn't cheap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,680 Posts
I am going to disagree with the poster that said all owners should know how to give IV fluids. Most IV's are given in a vein. In most states it is illegal for anyone but a vet to administer any medications (especially IV's) to an animal. You can blow a vein and cause irreparable damage and death if you hit a major vein.

Or vet gives IV's at the owner location in emergency situations. This horse may have a prior medical issue that you are not aware of so going to the hospital is the safest plan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,585 Posts
I am going to disagree with the poster that said all owners should know how to give IV fluids. Most IV's are given in a vein. In most states it is illegal for anyone but a vet to administer any medications (especially IV's) to an animal. You can blow a vein and cause irreparable damage and death if you hit a major vein.
It is perfectly legal to give your own animal medications, IV or otherwise (though certainly smarter to do so under the supervision of a vet). The issue is when someone treats an animal not their own - that is considered practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

The whole point of IV medication is to get it into a vein, and the jugular is the vein of choice because of its size and location. It's when the injection is mistakenly put into an artery that problems arise.


So in this specific case, the BO would not be able to give fluids because it's not her animal and of course the owner can't do it herself because she is on vacation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,255 Posts
The thing that bugs me is that it has been happening for four years and nobody seems to have a guess as to what's going on. If it's just from the horse overheating and not drinking then electrolytes/ being put in a stall with fans during the day could possibly fix the issue? If it's only because of the heat.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
12,909 Posts
Metabolic issues come to mind. Does the horse have Cushings and sweats horribly due to a heavy coat that hasn't shed? Electrolytes, clip the coat, provide a fan...
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top