If you’ve never worked with me before, this is something that you might need to know: I will not see your horse without a “vet approval”. If most people don’t really question it, some find it strange and don’t really understand what it is, or why practitioners need it. Seeing it’s quite an important piece of information for owners to know, I thought I would write a little something on it!
What is “vet approval”?
“Vet approval” means every practitioner needs to speak to your vet before doing any work on your horse. It’s actually a law included the Veterinary surgeons act of 1966, which is an act that regulates what is allowed, and by whom, when it comes to animal health. This act goes in details such as how to deal with alternative therapies.
So “vet approval” is actually a legal requirement for practitioners. There’s a few different ways to obtain this approval: your practitioner might give a call to your clinic, others (like myself) prefer emails to have a written record of it.
The idea behind all of this is that it will be a lot safer for your horse to be seen by a practitioner: your vet, whilst giving the approval, will be able to give useful information such as past or ongoing injuries, medications and so on. This way, if there’s any concerns, your practitioner is aware of them and will be able to adapt their work to it. It also means that your vet can check your practitioner’s qualifications if they’re unsure or haven’t worked with them before.
My first thoughts about it and my opinion on it now
The veterinary act is an English law and it doesn’t exist in France, which is where I’m from, so when I first heard about this as a legal requirement before seeing any horse, I was pretty confused.
But after a few years of working over here in the UK, I not only understand it, I actually think it’s a great way for vets and practitioners to have a good communication and work together for what really matters: the welfare of your horse! When your practitioner asks for vet approval, it doesn’t just ensure your horse’s safety, it also opens the conversation for ongoing and future issues. This means that taking decisions like “what is the best route to recovery” will be a lot easier for everyone involved.
Who needs it?
As far as I know, all physical practitioners need to speak to the vet beforehand. It doesn’t matter if it’s osteo, chiro, physio, massage, Masterson or McTimoney, everyone needs it. The law itself only speaks of manipulative therapies such as chiro and osteo, but all governing bodies in the UK require their members to seek vet approval. And to legally work in the UK, you have to have a governing body. So yes, everybody needs it.
What usually happens
Getting the approval is pretty straight forward and usually is a formality. Depending on the situation your practitioner might call your vet, although as I said before, I personally much prefer emailing. Most clinic reply within a day or two to say yes, others take the opportunity to ask for details such as qualifications and insurance before agreeing. Once approval is obtained, the horse can be seen regularly by your practitioner of choice without needing to ask before each session. It normally is a one-off thing.
What happens if the vet says “no”
I’ve had very few “no” since I started, and all of them where due to the fact that the vet hadn’t seen the horse for a while and therefore couldn’t give consent. Some clinic like to see horses every 6 months, others at least once a year, it really depends on who you vet with. What happens then is that the vet needs to come in for a routine check before being able to say yes. It’s quite a normal thing seeing it’s their responsibility to overview the situation! I know that some people don’t really like having to call the vet out to be able to have their horse seen by a practitioner, but it’s unfortunately not down to your practitioner.
I hope this gives more details regarding the situation and the actual benefits of vet approval, and that it helps some of you to understand why your practitioner insists on having your vet’s details. We’re not crazy, we just need them 🙂
As always, feel free to comment any personal experiences that you think would add to the discussion, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call!