how much to have set aside?

Amylaurenx

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It is hard to know what you should put them through and what you wouldn't but only experience and lots of research can help you decide.

Iknow 2 who have had colic surgery, one died during surgery and the other has never fully recovered, he permanently wears a sling to support the abdomen and has a very restricted and controlled diet to ensure he doesn't get any blockage etc, also bear in mind that colic surgery can cost £10 to 20k and most insurance has an annual and lifetime limit of 5k per condition.

Ulcers can cost £7 to 8k to treat if grade 3 during the initial diagnosis and treatment and for grade 2 are likely to use up your full 5k allowance and then you'll be excluded for rest of horses life and they are likely to reoccur so never rely solely on insurance to cover vet costs.

Whether you chose to insure or not always make sure you have a back up plan whether that be calling it a day with treatment or having cash to cover ongoing care and the shortfall between what insurance will pay and what the final bill is

Sorry meant to quote post 28 in this reply but failed 😔
Things such as colic surgery I don’t think I’d put them through that and things like ulcers and recurring laminitis I don’t see the point in treating something that won’t ever get better and will keep coming back and I don’t know if that’s selfish on my part or the best thing for them! I think to begin with insurance and a credit card seems to be the best option for a horse with no current history so suppose it will depend on the horse I end up with, thank you ☺️
 

Bellaboo18

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Things such as colic surgery I don’t think I’d put them through that and things like ulcers and recurring laminitis I don’t see the point in treating something that won’t ever get better and will keep coming back and I don’t know if that’s selfish on my part or the best thing for them! I think to begin with insurance and a credit card seems to be the best option for a horse with no current history so suppose it will depend on the horse I end up with, thank you ☺️
Ulcers can definitely get better and wont keep coming back if you find the reason for them 🙈 pts would be very drastic!
Sounds like you're preparing well for your first horse. We're all learning alot all the time....
 

conniegirl

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oh yeah not worth it in your case then! I think I will definitely have a credit card for any emergencies still not sure about insurance!
I’m just stuck on how do you determine wether the surgery/treatment is worth it or the other option.. I wouldn’t like to put them through anything major and not have 100% guarantee they will be better afterwards which I know can never be the case
you will never get 100% guarantees.

Making the call is about knowing your horse, the advice from the vets, your financial situation, the likelyhood of recover AND the likely quality of life afterwards.

For example, I would not put my 20 yearold pony through major surgery, anesthetics at that age are even more fraught with danger and his quality of life would likely be significantly impacted.
I did however put him through 6 months of box rest and an enormous amount of rehab when he did his hind suspensory branches. That was an injury, he coped well with the box rest, the prognosis from the vet hospital was good, I was told we would likely get him back to ridden work but not jumping which was fine as I don't jump, though prognosis would have been better if he were younger. Vet advised that at his age that stemcell treatment was unlikely to work so didn't even try it, we treated with rest, shock wave and then remedial farriery. still not cheap (final vet bill around £2k, plus remedial farrier fees and all the costs associated with box rest) but the prognosis for him returning to near normal was good.
 

Amylaurenx

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Ulcers can definitely get better and wont keep coming back if you find the reason for them 🙈 pts would be very drastic!
Sounds like you're preparing well for your first horse. We're all learning alot all the time....
Oh that’s good to know I don’t know an awful lot about ulcers I’ve never dealt with them but have tried to do a lot research on most common problems! Yes definitely always learning☺️
 

Amylaurenx

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you will never get 100% guarantees.

Making the call is about knowing your horse, the advice from the vets, your financial situation, the likelyhood of recover AND the likely quality of life afterwards.

For example, I would not put my 20 yearold pony through major surgery, anesthetics at that age are even more fraught with danger and his quality of life would likely be significantly impacted.
I did however put him through 6 months of box rest and an enormous amount of rehab when he did his hind suspensory branches. That was an injury, he coped well with the box rest, the prognosis from the vet hospital was good, I was told we would likely get him back to ridden work but not jumping which was fine as I don't jump, though prognosis would have been better if he were younger. Vet advised that at his age that stemcell treatment was unlikely to work so didn't even try it, we treated with rest, shock wave and then remedial farriery. still not cheap (final vet bill around £2k, plus remedial farrier fees and all the costs associated with box rest) but the prognosis for him returning to near normal was good.
thank you I would definitely mainly consider the after affects on their life and wether it would be worth it I’m looking at ages between roughly 8-13 so still fairly young and would hopefully have a good chance with most things! difficult decision to make though isn’t it☹️ Hopefully I don’t ever have to make the decision!
 

ihatework

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I insure strategically based on the horse.

I have 2 well bred youngsters in the field who I would want to treat if there was a big bill and they could be saved with a view to breeding. They currently have KBIS catastrophe cover which limits my premiums but will pay out on the bigger ticket items. I would just cover routine stuff that falls outside that (with non ridden field kept horses that is hopefully minimal, IHW touches wood).

Whereas when my gelding was young he was not insured because he was no good for breeding and was unproven under saddle. I’d have paid for some stuff and PTS for other stuff. However as soon as he started working I insured him fully, and he will stay insured until/if he has sufficient exclusions to make it not worthwhile.

As soon as they (semi) retire then no insurance, they take their chances and wouldn’t be put through any major operations. I’d cover small bills myself.
 

paddy555

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Things such as colic surgery I don’t think I’d put them through that and things like ulcers and recurring laminitis I don’t see the point in treating something that won’t ever get better and will keep coming back
the problem is you don't know at the start what you have nor what the prognosis is going to be. By the time you establish the exact problem you are financially well into it. PTS for ulcers is a bit drastic. Why have you got recurring laminitis? would you treat for cushings if that was the problem?
there are no simple answers. It is far from black and white. Conniegirl's post above is pretty accurate. It is a case of taking a lot of factors into account at the time when you have the full story (which costs money to get there) and then making a decision along with what is best for THAT particular horse. One horse may cope will with a situation that another will freak out with and have no quality of life.
The other point is that when it is your horse and probably your only horse you may well find you fight very hard to get treatment.

I would get a year's insurance with the best company you can find with a low excess and high payout for vet's fees. After a year you will have a lot more experience and a better idea as to what treatments you would want and then you can reconsider. I would also get a credit card with at least 5k on it to cover for self funding if you go over the limit.

I know petplan deal directly with vet's who make the claim on your behalf for dogs. Don't know if they do the same for horses.
Ask on here for the best insurance companies based on people's experiences.
 

Amylaurenx

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I insure strategically based on the horse.

I have 2 well bred youngsters in the field who I would want to treat if there was a big bill and they could be saved with a view to breeding. They currently have KBIS catastrophe cover which limits my premiums but will pay out on the bigger ticket items. I would just cover routine stuff that falls outside that (with non ridden field kept horses that is hopefully minimal, IHW touches wood).

Whereas when my gelding was young he was not insured because he was no good for breeding and was unproven under saddle. I’d have paid for some stuff and PTS for other stuff. However as soon as he started working I insured him fully, and he will stay insured until/if he has sufficient exclusions to make it not worthwhile.

As soon as they (semi) retire then no insurance, they take their chances and wouldn’t be put through any major operations. I’d cover small bills myself.
thank you! I agree once they got into 20s I think I would stop insurance then and I’m also not bothered about the breeding side, I’m just looking for something that I can have fun with and maybe do some unaffiliated, I’m thinking from what I’ve heard maybe insurance for anything substantial and a credit card/savings to cover things not so major is the best path for me
 

Amylaurenx

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the problem is you don't know at the start what you have nor what the prognosis is going to be. By the time you establish the exact problem you are financially well into it. PTS for ulcers is a bit drastic. Why have you got recurring laminitis? would you treat for cushings if that was the problem?
there are no simple answers. It is far from black and white. Conniegirl's post above is pretty accurate. It is a case of taking a lot of factors into account at the time when you have the full story (which costs money to get there) and then making a decision along with what is best for THAT particular horse. One horse may cope will with a situation that another will freak out with and have no quality of life.
The other point is that when it is your horse and probably your only horse you may well find you fight very hard to get treatment.

I would get a year's insurance with the best company you can find with a low excess and high payout for vet's fees. After a year you will have a lot more experience and a better idea as to what treatments you would want and then you can reconsider. I would also get a credit card with at least 5k on it to cover for self funding if you go over the limit.

I know petplan deal directly with vet's who make the claim on your behalf for dogs. Don't know if they do the same for horses.
Ask on here for the best insurance companies based on people's experiences.
I think this is why this is the main worry for me because I’ve never had to deal with a horse needing a vets attention! Only small things that I have sorted myself so I’m abit of a deer in headlights I think once you know your horse it will become apparent when they need a vet and of course following veterinary advice and what they think and all other mentioned factors!
there’s just so many things that can go wrong I’m trying to be as prepared as possible for the worst scenarios should they happen
 

Parrotperson

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you need as others have said to decide your attitude to risk. You either say "I must be insured (public liability is obviously a must these days anyway) or you put funds aside for vets fees inc emergencies.

That being said £3500 wouldn't touch the sides of a lameness that needed thoroughly investigating. Colic surgery can be £10k plus. MRI or CT scans if req'd are £1500 upwards. Even a nasty wound which required hospitalisation for a week would be £5K.

I'm not a fan of running up debt on credit cards unless you have the means to repay promptly. The interest rate on even the good ones are APR 19% +. And you have to think ahead in regards to your credit score. If that takes a tumble because of debt you won't be able to borrow for mortgages and so on.

I know people who don't insure but come a big expensive emergency would just PTS. And that's fine. It's their risk. So you have to decide what you can afford and what you would want to do for your horse in the event of an emergency. Much depends on age and health of the horse. I didn't insure after the horse's 16 birthday. No point imho. But I had a clear plan about that I would pay for and what constituted PTS. And I saved money away from my salary every month.
 

Amylaurenx

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you need as others have said to decide your attitude to risk. You either say "I must be insured (public liability is obviously a must these days anyway) or you put funds aside for vets fees inc emergencies.

That being said £3500 wouldn't touch the sides of a lameness that needed thoroughly investigating. Colic surgery can be £10k plus. MRI or CT scans if req'd are £1500 upwards. Even a nasty wound which required hospitalisation for a week would be £5K.

I'm not a fan of running up debt on credit cards unless you have the means to repay promptly. The interest rate on even the good ones are APR 19% +. And you have to think ahead in regards to your credit score. If that takes a tumble because of debt you won't be able to borrow for mortgages and so on.

I know people who don't insure but come a big expensive emergency would just PTS. And that's fine. It's their risk. So you have to decide what you can afford and what you would want to do for your horse in the event of an emergency. Much depends on age and health of the horse. I didn't insure after the horse's 16 birthday. No point imho. But I had a clear plan about that I would pay for and what constituted PTS. And I saved money away from my salary every month.
oh wow really, this is where my knowledge lacks pricing of vet bills hence me having so many questions re insurance and things! And ideally I don’t want to be paying off a credit card if anything happened and insurance didn’t pay or it exceeded my insurance because I know I wouldn’t be able to PTS if I knew they could be fixed, there’s a lot to think about !
 

Parrotperson

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sorry! Didn't mean to frighten you but vets are expensive things these days. Partly because they have so much more expensive equipment they can use to diagnose and partly because well as with human medicine equine veterinary science has moved on and so have the costs!

Obviously the costs vary from practice to practice. and whether you use an equine vet or an "GP" one. But yes bills can rack up.

I remember 15 years ago a client racking up a bill of £15k on a stallion (whom for some inexplicable reason she'd turned out with another stallion) that had a horrible injury to his neck caused by second stallion biting him through to his backbone (you could see the bone). Even then he ended up PTS. Sorry frightening you again

But if you go down the insurance route choose a good insurance company (ask on here for recommendations and avoids) and get cover for whatever you're doing (ODE, Hunting etc) and a decent insurance amount. Its easier to pay an excess of £500 than find £5k in a hurry I think.
 

milliepops

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But if you go down the insurance route choose a good insurance company (ask on here for recommendations and avoids) and get cover for whatever you're doing (ODE, Hunting etc) and a decent insurance amount. Its easier to pay an excess of £500 than find £5k in a hurry I think.
this... and then don't be afraid to use it. I noticed upthread the OP said she'd pay the small bills and use insurance for the big ones. If a bill goes over your excess by any meaningful amount then IMO I would claim because the episode will go down on your horse's notes anyway, which will need to be disclosed to the insurance company in the event of a bigger incident/claim. so you may as well get the money from them as you go along. As we have seen on here recently, insurance companies are getting smarter about weedling out insurance fraud so we should all be totally upfront to avoid a problem.
 

Birker2020

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Just wondering how much everyone tends to have set aside for unexpected vet bills??
The insurance I looked at having is pay out of 3500 and the excess is 500, how much do you all tend to have accessible in case of an emergency?
I want to make sure I can afford owning a horse completely before I take the leap but this is the 1 thing I worry about!
I always have at least £5K savings but my savings are more for something drastic like the car dying on me than expensive vet bills for the horse which I tend to pay off weekly. My vets are very good and as long as they can see you making an effort to pay something every week/month don't seem to mind you taking your time - I think they add 1% every month interest.
 

Amylaurenx

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sorry! Didn't mean to frighten you but vets are expensive things these days. Partly because they have so much more expensive equipment they can use to diagnose and partly because well as with human medicine equine veterinary science has moved on and so have the costs!

Obviously the costs vary from practice to practice. and whether you use an equine vet or an "GP" one. But yes bills can rack up.

I remember 15 years ago a client racking up a bill of £15k on a stallion (whom for some inexplicable reason she'd turned out with another stallion) that had a horrible injury to his neck caused by second stallion biting him through to his backbone (you could see the bone). Even then he ended up PTS. Sorry frightening you again

But if you go down the insurance route choose a good insurance company (ask on here for recommendations and avoids) and get cover for whatever you're doing (ODE, Hunting etc) and a decent insurance amount. Its easier to pay an excess of £500 than find £5k in a hurry I think.
Ouch! And no it’s good to know all the ins and outs I appreciate everything everyone is saying!
Thats also true I think I’ll have a read through some other insurance threads and see who the best companies are, thank you☺️
 

Amylaurenx

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this... and then don't be afraid to use it. I noticed upthread the OP said she'd pay the small bills and use insurance for the big ones. If a bill goes over your excess by any meaningful amount then IMO I would claim because the episode will go down on your horse's notes anyway, which will need to be disclosed to the insurance company in the event of a bigger incident/claim. so you may as well get the money from them as you go along. As we have seen on here recently, insurance companies are getting smarter about weedling out insurance fraud so we should all be totally upfront to avoid a problem.
I was thinking if I was to claim on the smaller bills I’d risk my insurance changing and then excluding things I may need for bigger problems if this makes sense?
would definitely be honest from the get go though as I know insurance companies won’t pay if they find any reason not to it’s not worth the risk
Edited - I see what you mean now insurance will know about even the smaller things so won’t matter, that’s a good point thank you!!
 

milliepops

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they might put your premium up a bit i guess, but they will exclude something even if you pay for it, because it's on the horse's history and you will have to disclose it at renewal, at the very least.

So i tend to think i may as well claim even if it's just £100, as whatever i was paying for will probably not be covered any more anyway.
 

Amylaurenx

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I always have at least £5K savings but my savings are more for something drastic like the car dying on me than expensive vet bills for the horse which I tend to pay off weekly. My vets are very good and as long as they can see you making an effort to pay something every week/month don't seem to mind you taking your time - I think they add 1% every month interest.
oh that’s good! I didn’t know if they accepted payment like that (I know it will vary from practice to practice) that’s good to know though thank you
 

Amylaurenx

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they might put your premium up a bit i guess, but they will exclude something even if you pay for it, because it's on the horse's history and you will have to disclose it at renewal, at the very least.

So i tend to think i may as well claim even if it's just £100, as whatever i was paying for will probably not be covered any more anyway.
yeah I see what you mean now! That’s true would be sort of pointless to pay myself really and them to then exclude it regardless who paid, would be shooting myself in the foot wouldn’t of thought of it that way thank you !
 

Red-1

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I tend to insure if they have no exclusions, but as soon as they have exclusions, I stop.

My reasoning being that, if something has gone wrong and been excluded, then it is likely to go wrong again, but not be covered.

If I stop insurance then I can build up (hopefully) a fund to cover whatever goes wrong. If I keep insuring, paying out premiums, then the same thing goes wrong, then I have no fund set aside.

I do have savings that would fund most things, plus a credit card with a hefty limit, that I don't use. So, if something happened before the fund had built up, I would be OK.

I tended to have a high excess of £500, as most things would be settled under that amount, and I hate filling forms! I can cover the £500 without a worry. If it is a big bill, it has meant that I could concentrate on getting the horse better rather than be worrying about the bill. I do still tell the insurance company about any issues. If they slap an exclusion on after 12 months, then I self-insure, as above.

My latest horse was bought with many issues, he has Harry Hall One Club 3rd party insurance. They also offer a catastrophe cover, cheaper than all singing policies. I didn't go for that as, with his medical issues, I doubt I would spend into the thousands. But, as another poster has already said, it is easy to say that now, but in the heat of the moment, with a friendly, furry, suffering face in front of you, I may not feel the same.
 

Amylaurenx

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I tend to insure if they have no exclusions, but as soon as they have exclusions, I stop.

My reasoning being that, if something has gone wrong and been excluded, then it is likely to go wrong again, but not be covered.

If I stop insurance then I can build up (hopefully) a fund to cover whatever goes wrong. If I keep insuring, paying out premiums, then the same thing goes wrong, then I have no fund set aside.

I do have savings that would fund most things, plus a credit card with a hefty limit, that I don't use. So, if something happened before the fund had built up, I would be OK.

I tended to have a high excess of £500, as most things would be settled under that amount, and I hate filling forms! I can cover the £500 without a worry. If it is a big bill, it has meant that I could concentrate on getting the horse better rather than be worrying about the bill. I do still tell the insurance company about any issues. If they slap an exclusion on after 12 months, then I self-insure, as above.

My latest horse was bought with many issues, he has Harry Hall One Club 3rd party insurance. They also offer a catastrophe cover, cheaper than all singing policies. I didn't go for that as, with his medical issues, I doubt I would spend into the thousands. But, as another poster has already said, it is easy to say that now, but in the heat of the moment, with a friendly, furry, suffering face in front of you, I may not feel the same.
thank you for this! Makes complete sense, and also agree on the bottom part now it’s easy to say I wouldn’t put them through something major etc but when they’re your best friend you’d give them the world, I know I could easily cover the 500 which is why I put that as my excess my worry comes that if it was a total amount more than my insurance would cover that’s where I think I need either a credit card or a good amount of savings!
 

Spirit2021

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I think people trust insurance companies to much. My friend put her horse though colic surgery and suddenly after the surgery they refused to pay out. I think just having a credit card is the way to go.
 

Amylaurenx

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I think people trust insurance companies to much. My friend put her horse though colic surgery and suddenly after the surgery they refused to pay out. I think just having a credit card is the way to go.
this is the worry especially things such as colic surgery, in my head now I wouldn’t put them through that but like people say it’s not that easy when you love them! But if I trusted insurance to pay out for this and went through with it then they didn’t I wouldn’t have 10k to just hand over! 😣
 

Smogul

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We had one horse who ran up two bills in one year for two separate unconnected incidents. Both came to over £5000. NFU were brilliant and paid out for both as they were clearly unconnected. Horse returned to full work and was put down some years later through old age. Personally, I wouldn't risk not having insurance until the horse gets to age or state of health that you feel it is unfair to subject them to risk of anaesthetics or treatment is likely to impinge on their quality of life.
 

Amylaurenx

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We had one horse who ran up two bills in one year for two separate unconnected incidents. Both came to over £5000. NFU were brilliant and paid out for both as they were clearly unconnected. Horse returned to full work and was put down some years later through old age. Personally, I wouldn't risk not having insurance until the horse gets to age or state of health that you feel it is unfair to subject them to risk of anaesthetics or treatment is likely to impinge on their quality of life.
Oh no! I’ve seen a few people mention NFU think I will take a look at them thank you!
 
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I have always insured, but I would also have a back up plan as the £3500 limit runs out very very quickly.

I had nerve blocks x 6-ish on my horse over two visits, 3 x workups (vet watched him trot on the lunge), 3 x call outs, approx 11 x plates for x-rays of hocks, back fetlocks and front foot and the invoice is well over £2500. I had my boy PTS as a result of the findings but that was only scratching the surface of the investigations, and that's not even onto the point of treatment!
 

paddy555

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another thing seems to be which part of the country you are in. I have seen some of the prices quoted and they seem horrendous. Perhaps nearer London the prices are higher.
My horse had to have 2 lumps removed on his eyelid. Vet examined, lump pics submitted to Dr K to evaluate, standing sedation and surgery at home to remove the lumps and a margin. A lot of sedative as the horse was a pig to deal with. Tissue sent to lab for analysis. This surgery was very intricate and tricky because of the size and position of the lumps but he is an excellent vet at surgery. A second vet was in attendance. I didn't ask the cost but expected well over 1k. Bill was just over £600. If I had a £500 excess it would hardly have been worth claiming £100.
This is a practice with 5 high quality horse only vets, a brilliant head horse vet and a pretty good selection of equipment both at the practice and to bring out on calls.

One thing, IMHO, even more important than insurance, is choosing your vet practice very carefully. The ability of the vet is the thing that could very well stop your horse ending up in hospital with a large bill. At 3am when most things tend to go seriously wrong (especially on a Sat, Sun or bank holiday evening :rolleyes:) is when you need the excellent horse vet. It is important to make sure the on call vet is going to be a horse expert.
 
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I always have at least £5K savings but my savings are more for something drastic like the car dying on me than expensive vet bills for the horse which I tend to pay off weekly. My vets are very good and as long as they can see you making an effort to pay something every week/month don't seem to mind you taking your time - I think they add 1% every month interest.
You are fortunate in having flexible vets who are solvent enough to allow payments to drag on.

My vet, and most other local equine practices bill weekly.
Mine bill out on a Friday afternoon and payment expected by return, definitely within 4 working days. They then add 5% to anything outstanding by midday the following Friday.
Its pointed out to all clients on registering and tho robust, they have very few defaulters.
 

Amylaurenx

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another thing seems to be which part of the country you are in. I have seen some of the prices quoted and they seem horrendous. Perhaps nearer London the prices are higher.
My horse had to have 2 lumps removed on his eyelid. Vet examined, lump pics submitted to Dr K to evaluate, standing sedation and surgery at home to remove the lumps and a margin. A lot of sedative as the horse was a pig to deal with. Tissue sent to lab for analysis. This surgery was very intricate and tricky because of the size and position of the lumps but he is an excellent vet at surgery. A second vet was in attendance. I didn't ask the cost but expected well over 1k. Bill was just over £600. If I had a £500 excess it would hardly have been worth claiming £100.
This is a practice with 5 high quality horse only vets, a brilliant head horse vet and a pretty good selection of equipment both at the practice and to bring out on calls.

One thing, IMHO, even more important than insurance, is choosing your vet practice very carefully. The ability of the vet is the thing that could very well stop your horse ending up in hospital with a large bill. At 3am when most things tend to go seriously wrong (especially on a Sat, Sun or bank holiday evening :rolleyes:) is when you need the excellent horse vet. It is important to make sure the on call vet is going to be a horse expert.
thank you! Tbh 600 for at home surgery etc is quite good I think, NFU don’t insure for my post code so they’re out the window! The vets I’m looking at have good reviews and I know someone who uses them, they have I think 6 equine vets at their practice so I would hope there is always at least 1 available for a call out and they have an equine hospital at their second practice which is a 20 min drive so they seem to be the biggest contender!
 

Amylaurenx

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I have always insured, but I would also have a back up plan as the £3500 limit runs out very very quickly.

I had nerve blocks x 6-ish on my horse over two visits, 3 x workups (vet watched him trot on the lunge), 3 x call outs, approx 11 x plates for x-rays of hocks, back fetlocks and front foot and the invoice is well over £2500. I had my boy PTS as a result of the findings but that was only scratching the surface of the investigations, and that's not even onto the point of treatment!
It can sure rack up! I think I’ll opt for the 5000 as well as some savings
 
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