Negligant vet? Advice please

I love my Spanish horse

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Am posting on behalf of a friend who isn't a member on here but is very much in need of some advice.
Said friend bought current horse approx 9 months ago, wasn't a cheap horse due to her past showing achievements (won at the RI, went to hoys) and also young age at 6. Due to cost and bad experience with previous horse going lame and being retired very early in its competitive life friend obviously had this mare 5 stage vetted with xrays. Mare flew through vetting no problem, xrays uncovered a couple of small abnormalities which included the pedal bones looking less dense than they should and had some bone loss in the toe region. I think there's a name for it but can't remember what, friend said vet wasn't concerned in slightest as it was bilateral and although he's written it in the report he's also put 'no clinical concerns' which was very much the feeling friend got that he wasn't worried about it in slightest, certainly not pedal osteitus etc.
Anyway fast forward to now friend had a long spate of bad luck and with health problems and a few other issues decided a couple of months ago to put this lovely mare up for sale. Found a potential buyer very quickly which wasn't a big surprise as its a fantastic young horse, but even though we had this previous 5 stage vetting and xrays new buyer wanted there own done, which is fair enough for insurance purposes of nothing else. Vetting carried out end of last week, mare again flew through 5 stage vetting without a hint of lameness. Vet only wanted to xray back and feet this time, back fine no problems but when she did the feet she picked up on the pedal bone density again. Friend didn't think would be a problem as it was mentioned at first vetting but apparently buyer been warned off buying horse and this bone issue is potentially far more of a concern than friend believed. Friend is now gutted as not only has she lost a sale and the money is desperately needed atm, but also concerned about mares future and that this 2nd vet has uncovered an issue which she was led to think was only a minor abnormality. She's going to try and get latest xrays from ex buyer to compare but obviously there's no guarantee and she can't really afford to have a whole new set done st the moment.
So anyway my question was do you think the original vet could be liable depending on if the latest xrays show a deterioration in the bone or not. Does she have any comeback and what should she do next as she feels as if everything has fallen down around her and doesn't know what to do. Thanks in advance
 

Micropony

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You will probably get much more knowledgeable people replying on this, but my view would be that I don't think your friend has a particularly valid complaint against her vet. An issue was identified at the vetting, which it doesn't sound as though your friend really understood particularly well. Vet advised no clinical problem- which there wasn't, and still isn't as you say the horse is sound. Your friend decided to go ahead with the purchase knowing about the issue, presumably after having asked whatever questions she deemed relevant about the implications of the x-ray results for the job she wanted the horse to do. Which it sounds like it's doing satisfactorily?

I thought the thing with a vetting is all about whether the horse is medically fit for the job you want it to do, it's possibly not totally fair to expect it to also provide reassurance about the potential resale value of the horse at some future date.

In her position I wouldn't really have understood what those x-ray results meant without asking advice. However if you're buying a horse in the sort of price bracket where people routinely x-ray, and something is showing up, then I think you have to expect the possibility of there being an issue in the event you come to sell.

Doesn't sound as though your friend was up front with the potential buyer about what was going to show on the x-ray, which may also have been a bit offputting for them.

Without understanding what those x-ray results mean, I would have thought the best thing your friend can do is keep looking for a buyer, be open about the situation, and accept she might not get back what she paid for the horse.

Bummer, and a potentially expensive lesson, but that's how it goes sometimes?
 

AmyMay

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What is a concern to one vet, is not a concern to another.

I'm not sure any claim can be made that the first vet was negligent.
 

JillA

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I had a similar issue except it was that an over zealous vet flagged up possible cataracts in the mare's eyes. At my expense I got a specialist opinion from an equine opthalmologist - could your friend get an equine orthopaedic vet to give an opinion, since "general" vets have differences?
 

Goldenstar

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I too can't see any negligence in the first vets behaviour .
He gave a professional judgement and the horse has done it's job .
He was not giving a judgement on what another vet might think at some point down the road .
 

be positive

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I would be interested whether the horse is insured, if the xrays were originally sent in when taking out insurance, if the answer is yes then there is no case as the insurance co would have excluded the feet if there was any chance of a problem.

The xrays in themselves show some degree of abnormality, that abnormality may be normal for that horse and with no clinical signs of a problem, at vetting 1, at vetting 2 or inbetween, assuming the horse has remained sound, then I don't think there is reason to claim the vet was negligent as in his opinion the horse was fit for purpose and in reality has proved to be.

Interpreting xrays is subjective, it may be that once the more recent ones are compared with the first there has been a deterioration but until the owner is able to have a vet, ideally one who is a specialist, give an opinion she will have to wait to decide what she does next, if there is no deterioration she may be able to sell with a written warranty and vets report on the feet.
 

FfionWinnie

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I'm afraid your friend has been a bit naive to think that this issue wouldn't result in exactly this scenario when she came to sell.

If I were her I would offer to pay the X-ray portion of the vetting to get the plates so they can be compared by a specialist.
 

JanetGeorge

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I had a similar issue except it was that an over zealous vet flagged up possible cataracts in the mare's eyes. At my expense I got a specialist opinion from an equine opthalmologist -

I had that last year with the vetting at the grading of one of my nicest pure ID mares -and same result(at no small cost- the ophthalmologist- and then vetting again at the next inspections.)

I had one fail the vetting for the police 3 years ago - an x-ray showed a bone cyst and the police vet thought its position would never cause problems -butthe police ran away. A year later, we x-rayed -no cyst. Who knows.

I don't think the first vet was negligent- he expressed an opinion(which is all a vetting is.) Buyer bought knowing that. The second vet might have been over-zealous (some are ridiculously so.) And a third vet might agree with either!

I would re-advertise horse and explain it to to buyer fully before another vetting. If mare has been sound for nearly 12 months, there's a good chance the first vet was right!
 

Illusion100

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TBH, there are a few factors to consider here.

Firstly, Vet opinion/interpretation of x-rays. What may slightly concern one Vet may not another.

Secondly, without a comparision of the initial x-rays against the second set it would be impossible to tell if the density issue has become more developed, hence the 2nd Vets advice/opinion.

Thirdly, perhaps the potential buyer had a different purpose for the horse in mind that this issue would have a higher risk of affecting.

As as example, I wanted to purchase a stunning 4 yr old. Due to the asking price, front feet x-rays were performed. Vet decided that the x-rays showed narrowing of the blood vessels which would pre-dispose to Navicular at least and I was dissuaded from the purchase. Someone else bought the horse and it went on to compete Internationally with no issue.

The bone density issue was raised by first Vet and 2nd Vet, it is up to the buyer to go ahead with or walk away from the purchase in every instance. Whether or not this bone density issue is 'actually' an issue remains to be seen.

I do not see that your friend has any comeback give the information provided.
 

oldie48

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I would advise your friend to just go ahead and re-advertise the horse.For a good horse there will be other buyers and other vets who will take another view. why risk money and time over something your friend might or might not win. I lost the sale of an extremely talented pony because the vet found something that might have been an issue, actually it was nothing! He sold almost immediately to a much nicer home
 

Puzzled

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I sold a mare to America, X-rays weren't perfect on one hock, initial vet wasn't over concerned, another vet in the same practice made it sound like we should shoot the horse there and then!! Client then sent X-rays to her vet in America and he was happy enough...3 vets and two different decisions. I guess it's down to experience and the personal opinion of the vet.
 

sarahann1

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The outcome of a 5 stage vetting depends partly on what a purchaser wants to do with the horse. My mare passed a 5 stage for lower level RC stuff, she'd have failed on conformation for someone who wanted to do much higher level work with her.

I don't think the 1st vet did anything wrong.
 

smellsofhorse

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I think the two sets of xrays need to be compare to see is there is deterioration.

It could just be the second vet was a lot more cautious.

If the two sets are basically the same, then its a case of vet opinion and which one you believe!

Maybe a third vet could look and compare.

There is no come back on the first vet.
They did their job and gave their opinion.
 
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be positive

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The outcome of a 5 stage vetting depends partly on what a purchaser wants to do with the horse. My mare passed a 5 stage for lower level RC stuff, she'd have failed on conformation for someone who wanted to do much higher level work with her.

I don't think the 1st vet did anything wrong.

They don't pass or fail on a conformation fault, or on most things unless they are clearly unfit to continue the vetting, the vet will advise on whether it is fit for purpose, it is then down to the purchaser to decide whether to go ahead or not, sometimes they will strongly recommend you do not go ahead but you can still buy if you want to or pull out if they find something minor that you are not happy to live with.
 

popsdosh

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There are lots of variables here. Vets invariably interpret Xrays differently. Then you also need to factor in the quality of the images taken at the time. She is still sound.
Your friend is now in an unenviable position, part of me says carry on selling as if nothing has happened. The other side says be straight with potential buyers and maybe get her re xrayed first and offer the purchaser the chance to have their vet check out the images upfront of any vetting to save any time wasting on both sides. I think some potential buyers may value that level of honesty. I wouldnt be upfront at the start with that offer but when you get down to the buisness end of a deal! Be prepared to explain what had happened any body worth having the horse wont walk away with that offered.
 
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Orangehorse

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The first vet didn't do anything wrong, no one can predict the future with horses. You can buy a perfect horse with perfect X rays to have it gallop round the field and damage itself. Maybe the potential purchasers have just had a horse with feet problems and it has made them extra cautious. It would be interesting to compare the x rays, but I think the best option would be to re-advertise the horse.
 

southerncomfort

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It's an unfortunate situation for your friend but I can't see any benefit in playing the blame game.

The first vet identified an issue and informed your friend but gave the opinion that it would not hinder the horse doing the job your friend wanted it to do, which it hasn't.

The vet has no case to answer. While I'm sure their are some genuinely negligent vets out there, it kind of troubles me that some people can be very quick to vilify them.
 
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