A good relationship with your large animal veterinarian makes for a better veterinary experience for you and your livestock. That’s the message Beth Blevins, DVM, and Katie Rein, DVM, gave to livestock owners during a workshop Nov. 8 at the Montana Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Billings.

“Having a good working relationship with your veterinarian takes time, talent and knowledge,” said Blevins who owns All Creatures Mobile Vet Clinic in Ronan. “Look at it as two professionals working together—you and your vet—who want the best for the patient. If you have a veterinarian you use regularly, it’s especially helpful when you have an emergency or need a prescription for your animals. The vet will know your animals and keep records of vaccinations and medications. Plus, veterinarians keep informed about the latest regulations concerning certain drugs.”

The Ronan vet listed what can place you on the vet’s “never work for” list including a lack of communication, unsafe working conditions and not paying your bill.

“I prefer to invoice my customers so I don’t miss listing something and I don’t need to deal with paperwork on a farm call,” said Rein, who owns Crazy Mountain Vet Service in Big Timber “We do appreciate if you pay your bill promptly. We realize sometimes you might have to wait until your calves sell, but if it’s been five months since you paid us, we might not be in such a hurry to rush to your ranch when you call at 11 p.m. with an emergency.”

Rein said to be prepared before the vet arrives and don’t keep them waiting. “Everyone is busy, so keep that in mind when you’re scheduling. It helps to schedule in the morning. When you call the vet, get to the point of your call quickly. If your animal has an injury, it can really help to text a photo of the wound when you call the vet.”

Having safe and well-designed facilities can make the vet’s farm call efficient and helpful. “Provide sufficient lighting, encourage safe practices, provide shelter from the elements if possible and make sure you have an adequate crew for whatever procedure you’re having your vet perform,” said Rein. “If you’re unsure about how to design or improve efficient livestock-handling facilities, find out the pros and cons from other ranchers you know.”

The final tip from the two vets is to make sure there really is an emergency before you call your vet. “Calling us with an emergency that turns out the horse is growing proud flesh on a cut from two weeks ago is a waste of time and money. Make sure an emergency call really is urgent.”

The Montana Farm Bureau 99th Annual Convention runs from Nov. 7-11, 2018.