Letter Re: Lack of Large Animal Vets Even in Rural Areas–Be Prepared to Do It Yourself

James and Memsahib,
In reference to LL’s letter posted yesterday, you and the Memsahib are right on target again.

My wife, a licensed Vet, says that a recurring theme at Veterinarian Continuing Education Conferences is the call for more Vets to consider specializing in large animal care. At a recent meeting she spoke up giving several reasons why it doesn’t pay to treat large animals, and others agreed with her.

For many Vets treating large animals there’s little money to be earned. The travel time between billable calls in a rural area, the difficulty some owners have locating their sick animals on a sprawling property once the Vet gets there, and the expectation the Vet will “just look at” some other animals and answer questions for free while at the property, are all experiences of the rural vet.

Common occurrence: an animal’s owner might not discover a sick animal until the owner gets home from work in the evening. The owner then wants a Vet to make a farm call. Also, many birthing problems occur late at night, with accompanying increased demands placed on the Vet who treats large animals.

Another problem for the rural, large animal practice Vet is the “territorial” nature of animals. When the Vet is on their turf, animals can become more defensive and aggressive. Vets are injured more in this type of practice, and are sometimes disabled.

Now contrast those demands with the opportunity for the Vet who remains at a clinic in town treating only pets. The Vet can treat several dogs and cats during the day, one after another. The diagnostic equipment is there, the meds are available, the Vet’s assistants are on hand to help, and the animals tend to be less territorial when on the Vet’s turf. And the small practice Vet is typically earning the greater income.

So we agree with you, folks better get the information they need to treat their stock ahead of time. As you said, “When the grid goes down, we will be on our own”. – KA