Questions to Ask Your Large Animal Veterinarian

Large animal surgery has two major components: equine/horse surgery and farm animal surgery. Important questions may differ between these two groups. Your animals depend on you to find a veterinarian with the experience and training necessary to perform their surgery; some important questions to ask your veterinarian are listed below for horses and farm animals.

Many surgeries that horses and farm animals undergo would benefit from the attention of a veterinary surgical specialist. These specialists are the veterinary surgeons that have been board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). Read the Large Animal Health Articles for more information.

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian Before Your Horse Has Surgery

  • How often have you performed this surgery?
  • Does the surgery require special equipment? Is the equipment available at your clinic?
  • Will my horse require anesthesia? Is your staff trained specifically to do anesthesia on horses?  How often do you anesthetize horses at your clinic?
  • What are the risks and possible complications of anesthesia and surgery? How would you handle these complications if they occur?
  • Are there alternative procedures available?
  • What type of care will my horse require after surgery? Is this something I can do, or do they need to stay in the hospital?
  • Will my horse need to be on stall rest after surgery? If so for how long?
  • Can I expect my horse to return to its previous level of performance?
  • How long before my horse can return to regular work and turnout?
  • What sort of rehabilitation program will my horse need before returning to regular work?
  • Would it be better if a board-certified veterinary surgeon performed this procedure?

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian Before Your Farm Animal Has Surgery

  • How will this surgery or any drugs used affect the meat, milk, fiber quality or reproductive status of my animal?
  • Can my animal be used for meat, milk, fiber or breeding purposes after this procedure is performed?
  • Can the procedure(s) you’re recommending be performed at the farm?
  • What are the possible risks and complications?
  • Are alternative procedures available?
  • How often have you performed this surgery?
  • Does the surgery require special equipment? Is the equipment available at your clinic?
  • Will my animal require anesthesia? Is your staff trained specifically to do anesthesia on farm animals? How often do you anesthetize farm animals at your clinic?
  • What type of care will my farm animal require after surgery? Is this something I can do on the farm, or do they need to stay in the hospital?
  • Will my farm animal need to be confined after surgery? If so for how long?
  • How long before my animal can return to its regular routine?
  • Would it be better if a board-certified veterinary surgeon performed this procedure?

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