Q: I work full time and it is often hard to set an appointment with the veterinarian. Do you have late hours or Saturday hours available?
A: Yes, we do have both. We have the ability to schedule an appointment as late as 4:30 PM and in some instances we can schedule a Saturday morning appointment. With our latest weekday appointment being at 4:30 we hope to accommodate most situations. Although our staffing is reduced on the weekends we still make appointments between 8AM and 12 Noon on Saturday. The Saturday morning appointments are limited in number and scope, so please call early in the week if you would like to schedule for this time.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: We accept checks, Visa or MasterCard and of course cash. For approved accounts we can offer billing and credit terms. We do have a short credit application that is required when applying for open account billing. Once approved for open billing, our standard terms are net due upon receipt of invoice.
Q: Do you perform surgery at your clinic?
A: We do many types of surgeries right here at the clinic. We have the ability to perform many soft tissue as well as some orthopedic procedures.
Q: We live in the mountains and are a considerable distance from town. Do you service this area?
A: Yes, we do service this area. Emergencies in the mountains, both daytime and after hours, can sometimes become a major issue for people living in the more remote areas. In these cases there are two options available: either you can trailer your horse to our clinic, or we can come up to the mountains on an ambulatory basis.
When we do come up to the mountains on an emergency basis we are usually out of range of communication cell phone and pager, and therefore cannot service any other emergency that might arise with the rest of our clients. The emergency service EMS provides for Client Advantage Members generally falls into two categories – In clinic priority emergency services and Ambulatory, or “farm call” priority emergency services. We provide Advantage Members with priority in clinic emergency services 7 days a week, 24 hours per day, 365 days each year. However, our priority emergency service for ambulatory or “farm call” emergencies is subject to the limitations practice coverage as stated above. We will still prioritize your call by being available on an in-clinic basis.
Q: What is the best way to get in touch with a doctor when I have an emergency?
A: You can always reach us by dialing our main lines 24 hours a day. We have an auto-attendant that will allow you to select from the menu to leave an emergency message, resulting in a page to the doctors on call. Make sure you leave your name, what the emergency is, as well as all phone numbers that you can be reached at. If you have anonymous call rejection, then you must inactivate it in order for us to be able to call you back. If possible, have someone stay by the phone so that we contact you to get any other pertinent information, such as directions.
Q: When do I have to pay an emergency fee?
A: Emergencies, just as the word indicates, require immediate attention. Daytime emergencies usually require either rescheduling another client’s appointment, or extending the doctor’s work day, or both. If any of these situations occur, we charge an emergency fee. Occasionally, one of our doctors can fit an emergency into their schedule without a substantial rearrangement of their day; in these cases we charge a nominal unscheduled visit fee. Both after hours and weekend calls are considered to be emergency calls and require the doctor to attend to your horse on a drop-all basis, and thus are subject to emergency fees as well.
Q: Why was I charged an emergency fee when I called during the daytime?
A: Unlike small animal or human medicine doctors, equine ambulatory clinicians spend their day traveling from farm to farm seeing patients. Efficient scheduling of the doctors travel and appointment time is a challenge, even on a day when things are running smoothly. When an emergency call comes in during the day, one of the doctors must respond to that emergency. The response to that call means that the other scheduled clients for the day must be contacted and pushed to a later time in the day or another day, and that the doctor in all likelihood will be working late that evening to catch up on their scheduled calls. In addition the call may be in a totally different direction and area from that of the doctors scheduled calls and therefore may require significant time out of the doctor’s day for travel. It is not unusual for an emergency call to occupy 2 or more hours from the day when travel time is accounted for. In any case, it creates extended hours for the doctor as well as additional work for the support staff and an inconvenience for other clients. In fact many of the daytime emergencies are harder to respond to than the after hours emergencies. The amount of rearranging and shuffling of resources can be quite exhausting.
Q: If I have an emergency at night or on the weekend how long will it take for a response?
A: Equine Medical Service has what we feel is the most constantly reliable emergency response system in the area. Our doctor is available 24 hours per day 365 days a year. When an afterhours emergency call comes in, our doctor is paged. Although the doctor is dedicated to remaining free and available, at the moment that the pager goes off the doctor may be anywhere: eating dinner, asleep, in a shower, or in the middle of responding to another emergency. Our system is designed to allow the doctor 5-7 minutes to retrieve the emergency message. The great majority, > 80%, of our emergency messages are retrieved within 2-3 minutes, allowing for the lag time to retrieve the message and return your call still translates into only 5-7 minutes until the doctor is on the phone with you. There are certain situations that can or will delay the response. Some reasons include: a message that is hard or impossible to hear (please speak slowly and clearly in a loud voice); a cell phone number that is not in reception range (please use a wire line if possible). For the doctor to call you back, you must call from an open line with no restriction. If they are in the middle of treating a patient, you may wait for an extended period. Remember we strive to provide excellence in emergency coverage for our clients, therefore we must prioritize our regular client’s emergencies over those of non-clients. Should you ever have an emergency and not be satisfied with the response of our service, please call and let us know.
Q: What is floating teeth?
A: The term “floating ” refers to the smoothing or leveling of a surface. With floating teeth, we remove the enamel points on both upper and lower arcades.
Q: Why do horses’ teeth need to be floated more than once?
A: Enamel points occur on the inside of the lower teeth and on the outside on the upper teeth. This is because the lower jaw is narrower than the upper jaw and the two arcades do not match up and because the horses teeth are continually erupting and growing out. The horse has evolved these kind of teeth because of the hard substances it has to chew when eating.
Q: Does it hurt my horse to have their teeth floated?
A: No, the anatomy of the horses tooth is considerably different from ours. They have a very long crown and short root section where the nerve is located. When we float, we take off the enamel points on the crown and do not come close to the nerve.
Q: If dentistry does not hurt why does the horse need to be sedated?
A: Most leaders in the field agree that it is not possible to perform a thorough examination and correction without heavy sedation. While the procedure is not painful, it is cause for apprehension for most horses. The sedation is safe and allows him/her to relax so that the work can be done effectively and without stress to the horse. The object of a dental exam and/or dentistry is to find any abnormalities and correct them. We routinely place a mouth speculum (a device to keep a horses’ mouth open) on the horse to perform a thorough exam and take care of any abnormalities that may be found. The great majority of horses will not allow this sort of procedure to be performed with out some degree of sedation. Most horses will shake their head in avoidance of both the speculum and the floatation instruments and without sedation this can become quite hazardous to the holder, the veterinarian and any spectators.
Q: How often should I have routine dental care done?
A: A dental exam and routine dental care should be done every 6-12 months. This depends on the age and use of your horse.
Q: My horse started to fight the bit, is there a dental problem?
A: There could be a sharp enamel point pinching a cheek in the bit. The best recommendation is to have a complete dental exam performed by us.
Q: What problems can occur if a horse’s teeth are not floated?
A: A horse can suffer from; weight loss, malnourishment, chronic colic, cheek and tongue lacerations, periodontal disease, choke and even an inability to eat. A horse can also have major behavioral problems and training problems stemming from tooth abnormalities.
Q: What age should I begin having regular dental exams?
A: When or soon after the foal is first born, we can determine whether it has an under or overbite or any other initial dental abnormality. The earlier the problem is found the easier the problems can be corrected. After the foal exam, unless there is a dental abnormality suspected, the next dental exam should occur when the horse is going into training, or being ridden with a bit, or when they turn 2.5 to three years old.
Q: Why should I choose a veterinarian who has had special training in dental care?
A: The knowledge, techniques, and equipment required to perform a thorough dental exam, make proper corrections, and balance a horse’s mouth are difficult to acquire and time consuming to master. As specialization is becoming increasingly common in other areas of medicine, so too is the case in veterinary medicine. The improved health and performance that a veterinarian with specialized training can bring your horse through proper, dental care is impressive. You will see and feel the difference as will your horse.
Q: Does every horse need a specially trained veterinarian?
A: Every horse will benefit from the care that a specialized veterinarian can provide. As you know, it is much better to prevent a problem than try to correct it once it’s well established. A horse’s mouth is no exception. Domestic horses by virtue of being domesticated are prone to dental aberrations for a host of reasons. On a basic level: wild horses with dental problems can’t eat and will die. By natural selection, their genes are removed from the pool. We humans don’t usually breed or buy our dream horse for dental soundness. Natural selection is removed from the cycle and dental problems accumulate.
Secondly, domestic horses don’t exactly live as their wild cousins do. Horses evolved over the centuries with access to mainly grass forage 24 hours a day. Most of our horses aren’t so lucky.
Thirdly, domestic horses do things for us that wild horses don’t have to worry about. Remember, we communicate with our horses through their mouths! If things are amiss inside that mouth, how good is the communication likely to be? Lastly, we all want our equine partners to be around for a long time. The truth of the matter is, if the teeth go, the horse isn’t far behind. If the tendency toward a problem is detected early and properly corrected, it may never become a problem at all. It doesn’t make sense to wait until you perceive your horse is having difficulty. With timely evaluations by a skilled professional, most horses can have a healthy, solidly functioning mouth well into their geriatric years.
Q: How do I know what product to use and when to de-worm my horse?
A: Our recommendations on de-worming are published and released both in our newsletters and in a medical bulletin. Please reference our latest de-worming bulletin on the web site or call our office to have a copy mailed or faxed to you.
Prescriptions and Medications
Q: Why do I need a prescription in writing to get medications for my horse?
A: By law we are required to have written prescriptions on file for all prescription medications dispensed and or prescribed. Additionally, pharmacies should not sell prescription meds without a written script, or a log of the doctors phone authorization for the medication. We have encountered and been involved in several instances in which local pharmaceutical suppliers were maintaining erroneous records.
Please keep in mind when needing prescription medications that a written script generally takes 24 hours to get to the pharmacy. Our doctors are out of the office on a regular basis as most appointments are for ambulatory service. Many of the drugs needed are available at our clinic and are accessible during business hours. This can be the easiest and fastest way to obtain what you need. The receptionist can phone your doctor for verbal authorization and make the notation in the medical records as soon as authorized. Our primary goal is to see to the needs of our clients and patients while observing all federal and state regulations. We will always be as prompt as possible.
Q: What other method is there to obtain drug refill and supplements other than driving to the Equine Medical Service Clinic?
A: Yes, log onto our website and request your pharmacy refill or supplement refill and have your order shipped to you.