Veterinary Consent: What is it all about?

As an owner you may have been asked to obtain veterinary consent before your horse is treated by a bodyworker, chiropractor, physiotherapist or massage therapist. You maybe wondering why this is so and is it really necessary? While I use the word ‘may’ have been asked it should really be you ‘should’ have been asked. It is a legal requirement for any of the above professions to obtain veterinary consent before treatment commences under the Veterinary Act 1966 in the UK.

This maybe the first time you are hearing about this, or you may be quite familiar with it. Either way it is really important that any new professional bodyworker is asking you the owner to gain consent from your vet. This may require some form filling from the practitioner but often a phone call or email from the owner to the veterinary practice is enough.

Why is this needed?

  • It means there is better communication between professionals allowing better care for your horse
  • Practitioners will be informed if there are any contraindications (issues to be mindful of) when treating. Allowing treatment to be more effective and insure any conditions will not be made worse
  • Practitioners can pick up on any issues that might need veterinary intervention and refer to the vet. This means issues are picked up sooner reducing stress and vet bills in the long run
  • Practitioners can also update vets on current issues that may need monitoring.
  • Overall it helps protect the client, horse and practitioner.

Issues that can arise

  • Vets will not give consent if they have not seen a horse before i.e. the horse is newly brought and only just registered. The best way to solve this is to organise a health check, get them vaccinated if due soon, or get the vets you want your new horse to be registered with to do the vetting before you buy.
  • If your horse is lame it needs to be seen by a vet before treatment. If a horse shows as lame in the walk and trot up during a treatment session then the horse will be referred back to the vet and no treatment administered. While this is frustrating a diagnosis needs to be obtained otherwise treatment could make it worse.
  • Once initial veterinary consent is obtained then maintenance sessions do not require veterinary consent moving forward unless there has been health changes in the horse or lameness. This goes back to the practitioner being fully informed to deliver the best treatment possible for your horse.

While it may be frustrating to have to obtain veterinary consent it does function with the interest of your horse as up most. It allows better care and communication between professionals enabling a more cohesive and tailored treatment plan for your horse.

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