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Admission and Appointment Arrangement
How can I get an appointment?
You may set up an appointment by calling 612-625-6700. You may either ask to talk to a veterinarian at the time of your initial call or one will call you back to determine if any special preparation might be needed before your visit and to prepare for your visit. The call center will work with you to find a time that works for you and collect necessary preadmission information.
Do I need a referring veterinarian to get an appointment?
We do accept appointments without a referring veterinarian. However, if you have worked with a veterinarian on your horse's problem, we would very much appreciate their input before your appointment date. The information that they can provide helps us focus our examination more effectively. We can also work with your veterinarian to ensure optimum care after discharge.
How long will an appointment take? I've heard that it takes longer than my usual vet visit?
The length of the appointment will depend on the reason for your visit. Some problems can be addressed quickly. However, owners and referring veterinarians most commonly seek appointments with us for problems that are more complex and require an in-depth examination, special equipment, or special expertise. These appointments will take longer than your typical veterinary visit and may involve a full day visit (typical for complex lameness or performance evaluation) or require that you leave your horse overnight (common for many but not all surgical procedures). The UMN veterinarian that speaks to you before your visit can give you an idea about the probable length of your visit to help you determine how to best set up your travel plans. You are welcome to stay for part or all of your horse's visit, but if your schedule will not allow that, we will work with you to set up a drop off appointment (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or arrange your appointment time so that you can be here during the parts of your horse's work-up and treatment that are of greatest interest to you.
Do I have to come during regular week day hours? I work and can't get away.
We are equipped and staffed to take emergency cases at any time of the day or night. We can also arrange a drop-off or discharge time outside of regular hours at any time. However, we will wait to perform non-emergency examinations and major procedures until regular working hours when we can bring a broader range of resources to bear on your horse's problem.
Will I have to stay overnight?
This will depend on the reason for your visit. Many problems are straightforward and you will be able to leave with a diagnosis and set of recommendations on the same day. However, if you are bringing your horse in for evaluation of a complex problem your horse might need to stay overnight or plan to leave your horse for evaluation Many surgeries require at least one overnight stay and may require a longer stay. If your schedule does not allow you to stay for the entire time that your horse is in the hospital, we will continue regular communication with you by phone, email or fax. The UMN veterinarian that speaks to you before your visit can give you a better idea of the time that your horse is likely to stay based on your reason for presentation.
Can't you come out to my place?
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The faculty and staff on service at the Veterinary Medical can occasionally make field trips, but are pretty heavily scheduled with hospital cases.. However, if you are in the region of Maple Plain, you are in luck. The UMN has expanded to include an ambulatory practice in this area. You can contact them directly at 763-479-2932 to schedule a visit. We can also schedule regional lameness clinics at the request of referring veterinarians.
Directions and Parking
Where are you?
We are located on the south end of the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus, just west of the State Fairgrounds and east of Highway 35W. We are also easily accessed from Highways 36 (north of the campus) or 94 (south of the campus). Directions are available on our website.
I hate driving in the cities. Is there an easy way to get there?
Yes. We are easily accessible from Highways 35W, 36 or 94. Directions are available on our website and include routes that are trailer friendly. Our staff are very good at helping you time your visit to miss the heavier traffic periods and even the temporary inconveniences of Minnesota road repair.
Can I leave my trailer?
Yes. We have a secure area (fenced and locked after hours) that you can use to leave trailer for an extended period if your horse is hospitalized, or just to park it for while so that you can visit some of the local attractions while we are working on your horse.
Where is the Leatherdale Equine Center?
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It't located at the other end of campus. Click here for a map and directions to the Leatherdale Equine Center and Piper Performance Clinic.
What should I expect during my appointment?
A more complete description is available on the What to Expect page, but here is quick description of typical events for a non-emergency case. Once you have checked in at the admission office, you will be greeted by one or more of our staff who will help you unload and gather any additional information that might not have been provided on the pre-admission form Each case has a service team that includes a senior veterinarian, a house officer (graduate veterinarians who are participating in an internship or residency program), a veterinary technician or handler, and often a veterinary student (don't worry, we are color-coded to help you determine who is who). Once we have your history, we can give you a more tentative timeline for evaluation and/or treatment. We will want you to stay for the examination of some problems and you are always welcome to stay if your schedule allows. However, if your horse requires a more prolonged work-up or treatment and you want to leave, we can arrange to continue communications by phone. We will provide an estimate of expenses for initial evaluation and, if possible, for treatment before you leave based on the available information. As we learn more from our evaluation we can refine our diagnoses which may change diagnostic and treatment options. We will communicate these changes with you directly or by phone and determine how you would like to proceed. Once your horse's evaluation and/or treatment have been completed, we will provide a detailed discharge letter for you and your veterinarian that explains our findings and our recommendations for care at home. If you were referred we will also call your veterinarian to discuss our findings and let them know that you are on your way home. We encourage you to call us at any time after discharge if you have questions and we will work with you and your veterinarian to ensure that treatment and recovery proceed as smoothly as possible.
Do I have to come with my horse or can I send it with a friend or a trucker?
You can certainly send your horse with a friend or a trucker. We will want to be sure that we have gotten a complete history from you before your horse arrives and that we have a way to contact you if we need additional information or to discuss plans for evaluation and treatment if appropriate. It is possible for you to give the responsibility for financial and/or medical decisions to someone else who is coming with your horse, but we would like to confirm this with you before the horse arrives. If you can complete and return the Client Pre-admission Form by email or fax before your horse's appointment we can ensure that all of the necessary information is in place and make your horse's visit more efficient
What do I need to bring with me?
A more complete description is available on the How to Prepare page, but here is a quick answer. Regardless of the reason for your visit, please bring as complete a history of your horse as possible. This includes information about the duration and nature of your horse's presenting problem and information from any previous evaluations and treatments, as well as general health and management information (feed, vaccinations, housing, reproductive history, etc.). The Patient Pre-admission Form will prompt you to gather the important information and, if you can complete the form and send it in (email or fax) before your appointment, we can save some time and move directly to evaluation when you arrive. If your horse has been seen for its current problem by a veterinarian, any records from that visit (labwork, radiographs, etc.) would be very helpful. In many cases your veterinarian can send the information to us directly, but it may be helpful for you to prompt them or even pick the material up on your way in. If your horse is coming for a performance or lameness evaluation, it may be helpful if you can bring tack and a rider. If your horse's problem is situational and only occurs in certain locations or situations that we might not be able to duplicate, a video can be extremely helpful.
Should I bring my tack?
Most lameness and performance problems can be evaluated without a rider. However, if the problem is subtle and particularly if the problem is more noticeable when the horse is ridden, observation under saddle may help us diagnose the problem more quickly and accurately. In these cases we would encourage you to bring your tack and a rider.
Do I need to do anything before my appointment?
There are several steps that you can take before your appointment to make your visit efficient and to give us the best opportunity to give you all of the answers that you need. Information on the Admissions” page can help guide you through the process and give you a better idea of what to expect during your visit. As a first step, visit the How to Prepare page to learn more about steps that you can take to prepare for your visit. Next, complete a pre-admission form for your horse (Patient form) and for yourself (Client form) and return it by email or fax to the Large Animal Hospital before your appointment. Finally, call us if you have any additional questions about steps to take before your visit. By bringing the right information and preparing your horse for your visit, you can help us give you the most complete and accurate answers.
Who are all of these people?
Our goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive and qualified care possible. As a hospital we are staffed with a wide range of certified specialists, veterinarians in advanced training programs (intern or resident), certified technicians, animal handlers, and veterinary students. You will be greeted by an initial care team based on your presenting problem that includes a senior veterinary clinician (specialist), a house officer (intern or resident), a technician or handler, and often one or more veterinary students. Team members will introduce themselves and explain their position, but their shirts are also color coded to help you keep track. This team will oversee your horse's initial examination and ensure that your horse is cared for by the people with the skills and knowledge that best fit your horse's problem. In some cases, this will involve transfer to another team if your horse's problem is not quite what expected. If your horse's stay is extended, it may be necessary to transfer care to a new team, but rest assured that your original team clinicians will transfer their knowledge of your case and continue monitoring progress. There are a lot of people to meet, but that allows us to get the people with the best skills for your horse's needs to you throughout your stay.
Will students be working on my horse?
We are a teaching hospital and are training the next generation of veterinarians. Unlike many veterinary schools, MN veterinary students have been allowed to focus their clinical rotations on their species of interest for the last 10 years. This means that the MN students completing rotations in equine clinical services are usually interested in equine or general large animal practice and most come to veterinary school after experience as horse owners, trainers, or technicians. Students do serve a part of the care team and assist in collecting information about the case as well as in monitoring case progress. As their veterinary skills progress, they may participate in basic procedures such as bandaging, nerve blocks, and technical procedures Students work under the direct supervision of certified technicians and clinicians. The addition of these well-trained and motivated students to our care teams increases the eyes and hands available to help monitor and care for your horse and increases the quality of care that we can offer on a 24-hour a day basis.
Will my horse be used for research?
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Not unless we explicitly ask you for permission. The primary goal of the Veterinary Hospital is to provide state of the art clinical care for our cases based on the best available scientific evidence. Faculty do participate in research projects to advance the quality of clinical care and to improved our understanding of disease processes. Recent studies by our Equine Faculty have made major strides for horse health in areas such as muscle disease, colic and skin tumors among others. Clinical cases may be able to participate in these studies, but only after the parameters of the study are fully explained to you and you have given permission.
How much of the bill do I need to pay before I leave?
All bills must be paid in full at the time of discharge. If you will be leaving your horse for evaluation and/or treatment, you will be given an estimate for the initial evaluation/treatment. You will be expected to pay for 75% of the initial estimate before leaving your horse. If additional tests or treatment are required during hospitalization, you will be contacted by your veterinary care team to explain the additional procedures and costs, and obtain your permission to proceed. At that point you will be expected to pay any difference between the 75% of your original estimate and of the updated estimate. Payment in full will be required at the time of discharge. Payment options include cash, check, credit cards, Care Credit, or Wells Fargo loan. If you are interested in Care Credit, you are encouraged to notify the office before your visit and they can help you contact Care Credit for pre-approval.
What if my final bill is higher than my estimate? Do I have to pay the difference?
Yes. We will provide you with an initial estimate based on expected tests, procedures and treatments. As more information becomes available, plans (and costs) will be refined. We will make every effort to update you on changes in plans with a revised estimate and obtain your approval before proceeding. While we try to be as accurate as possible, the estimate is only a guide to the expected cost and the final bill may differ from the estimate provided.
Can I be billed?
We do not have a billing system but will accept payments by cash, check, credit cards, Care Credit, or Wells Fargo loan.
Is a payment policy available?
Care Credit is available for those who qualify. Our office staff can explain the policy to you and help you contact Care Credit for pre-approval.
Can I use a check or a credit card for payment?
Yes. Other options include cash, Care Credit, or Wells Fargo loan.
I have insurance. How does that work?
The two main types of insurance are mortality (this type of insurance policy reimburses you for the value of the policy if the horse dies or is euthanized for humane reasons because a treatment is not available that can restore the horse to a reasonable quality of life) and major medical (you are reimbursed for hospital bills up to a preset amount). In either case, it is your (the client's) choice as to whether to contact your agent to file a claim. Be sure to bring your policy information and agent contact information. Our clinicians can help you determine if the situation qualifies for insurance assistance and will be available to discuss the case with your insurance agent and/or fill out the necessary veterinary paperwork if you decide to file a claim. You will be responsible for paying the UMN and the insurance company will then reimburse you.
Will I get a discount if students work on my horse?
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Our goal is to provide the best possible care for your horse. Students are a part of your care team and participate in many aspects of case care. However, student activities are carefully supervised by clinicians and certified technicians. All decisions and major procedures are performed by clinicians that have demonstrated competency in the specific procedure. We do not have a discount policy for student work and do not allow students.
Other Options for Care
Are there other referral centers that are closer to me?
There are a few clinics in the upper Midwest that can perform some referral services and our office can help you identify options that might be closer to you if travel is a problem. However, we are the only fully equipped referral center in Minnesota that has Board Certified Specialists in all major areas of case care.
Why should I care if I see a board-certified specialist?
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It is one way to ensure that the veterinarian providing care to your horse has obtained the training necessary to perform high end diagnostics and treatment. In order to specialize, graduate veterinarians must complete a minimum of 3 additional years of intensive training over that required for practice and they must pass an extensive examination that tests their basic and clinical knowledge as well as their ability to apply knowledge to solve clinical problems and apply appropriate treatments. Fewer than 20% of graduating veterinarians in the country seek this level of training, fewer than 10% of those that apply are accepted, and even fewer of those that complete their advanced training program successfully pass the examination for board certification and earn the status of Diplomate in their area of specialty. Each of the major disciplines (surgery, internal medicine, theriogenology, etc.) is organized nationally as a College and is governed by a Board that is in turn responsible for setting the requirements for training and certification. Hence the term “Board Certified.” Individuals who have completed the necessary training program and are waiting to take the certification examination are considered “Board Eligible.” All of the Equine Clinical Services faculty at the UMN are either board certified or board eligible.