Cost of a sick horse

We all understand it is expensive to treat a sick horse. Everything relating to horses is costly. Sometimes the problem is small and treatment costs less. Sometimes what seems small may require expensive medication. Sometimes you hear horrorstories of surgeries costing tens of thousands of dollars / euros / what ever moves your boat.

A matter you should take into consideration rather sooner than later. It might be you and your horse facing the bill for who knows how much in the near future. If not in a day, week or in a 10 year time, but when it happens, it's better to be prepared. Even euthanasia can be costly.

Our customers have to fill in an emergency form where they draw lines on their horse's treatment if they cannot be reached. The form states who makes decisions and within what limits the decisions can be made. Limits can be anything from cost to expected treatment response. Anything the owner wants it to be basically.

As a stable manager I can make decisions within limits of management agreement but there can be situations where nor I or the owner are reached. The forms are at the stables, where anyone can find them. The point is, who ever notices the horse in distress can call a vet and give them direction on how to treat the horse. But only if the situation requires immediate action and both owner and I are out of reach. Even I use this form as a quideline with what ever is stated in the management agreement.

Filling the form is a long way from actually being in the situation where you need to make those decisions and eventually pay for decisions you made. There's no running away from responsibilities..or money. If the bill is five numbered and you're on your way to having another bill just as big, you need to think if it's all worth it. And can you afford it.

I almost lost my mare to bad case of hepatitis earlier this summer. Cost was almost losing my beloved mare, a mother of few weeks old foal and almost ten thousand euros. I didn't need to think about emergency form since I was there making all the decisions since beginning.

First she was treated at home. It seemed to be a minor colic but it got very bad quickly.

I was shocked when doctors at the Hyvinkää equine hospital asked if they could call me at any time. WHAT!? Who's not ok with doctor's calling them at any time if their horse is in intensive care fighting for it's life? I quess this is why emergency forms are needed. Some people just shouldn't have animals!

It's not long ago I was asking a similar question in Tampere equine clinic x-ray. We were waiting in the x-ray with Viikari, wondering who's the person that answered his phone in the middle of x-ray examination. Someone had to be that stupid because there was a sign saying it's forbidden.

Few minutes later it was my phone that rang. And I answered. In my defence, Vipsu had her battle at that time and Viikari's examination had not started.

When I left Vipsu in the Hyvinkää equine hospital, I made it clear, if I did not answer my phone (battery dead, phone in pieces, no reception) do what ever you the doctor's see nessessary. If the horse needs operation, you operate. Anything, but keep her alive.

I'd like to think I've been far wise. I've saved. I've eated breadcrumbs when money has been tight. The goal has been to have reserved money enough not to go begging if anything should happen to one of my horses.

This money has been put aside just for the horses if disaster strikes. You don't use that money to travel or eat out. You don't do anything with it. If it's impossible (usually isn't, just a question of priorities) to save at least make sure you have one or two credit cards with enough credit not to panic when all else fails.

Some campaign for their horses when they get sick. They beg for a penny in social media. I was told to do that. Didn't dare. Maybe I should have. For some it seems to work. I guess it's nice to know there's still people in this world who do good unconditionally. But what if begging doesn't do the trick, nobody auctions anything for you? It's just you, the sick horse and a gigantic bill.

What's your plan?

For me last two months have cost 8000 euros in vetenarian bill's. After insurance. Viikari 181€ and Venda the foal about 1000 euros.

I also had to pay the stud little over 1000 euros for Venda's birth and all those other expenses you have every month (hay, bedding, forage and so on) plus a tire for the tractor.

Venda needs to run quite fast for me to ever get my investment back.

- J

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Thanks for your toughts!