University veterinary teaching hospitals can serve two fundamental purposes: providing much-needed health care for your animals while advancing veterinary education in the process. Some facilities might even have access to research, treatments, and modalities that a small clinic or private practice do not have.  

In last week’s online poll, we asked our readers if they have ever taken their horse to a university veterinary teaching hospital for diagnosis and/or treatment. More than 500 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!  

Of the 516 respondents, 302 (59%) responded yes, they have taken their horse to a university veterinary teaching hospital for diagnosis and/or treatment. The remaining 214 respondents (41%) had not.  

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Additionally, more than 150 people commented about their experiences with university veterinary teaching hospitals:

Many people shared comments about why they took their horse to a university veterinary teaching hospital and the experiences they had:

  • “We took a horse to Tufts for out-patient kissing spine treatment.”
  • “Reoccurring colic. Horse was there for one week. Every day I received a call from the attending vet.”
  • “Colic surgery needed. Experience positive, mostly.”
  • “Positive experiences at both New Bolton & Marion duPont Scott.”
  • “EXCELLENT experience at Texas A&M – great staff & state of the art equip that other vets don’t have.”
  • “I am only 1 hour away from Cornell University Vet College. I often take my horses to get an expert.”
  • “I took him for diagnosis of a lameness issue that couldn’t be done locally. Very positive experience!”
  • “New Bolton is close and has the diagnostic equipment when my vet is unable to treat.”
  • “Yes, for a serious colic that resulted in a fatal likely rupture. Probable tapeworm scarring of ileocecal.”
  • “UW vet school madison 2x, referred by our vet”
  • “I took my mare to the RVC for an MRI re lameness and was very impressed.”
  • “Yes for lameness and breathing. One had surgery. Everything was top notch!”
  • “To rule out uveitis at U of I . We did rule it out.”
  • “I’ve used two. One was excellent. The other was hugely unsatisfactory. Probably uncharacteristic.”
  • “UC Davis, Love all that work at the facility.”
  • “Saved beloved pony’s eye, most eyesight.”
  • “They have the best equipment in our area for most problems. I use them for emergencies.”
  • “Orthopedic surgery at Cornell, always the best!”
  • “Diagnosed with Colitis. Spent 9 days. Full recovery! Very pleased with service and outcome.”
  • “They had diagnostic equipment and specialists that my vet’s clinic didn’t have.”
  • “I have taken my 11 yr. old OTTB to Auburn University for treatment of an eye ulcer. AWESOME!”
  • “Use a vet teaching hospital/clinic as regular vet for years. Always get the best care & latest info.”
  • “So glad I did! Superior advice, fantastic staff. Confirmed diagnosis.”
  • “WSU removed cataracts from foal’s eyes!”
  • “Several times to Cornell. Very cost-effective and excellent results”
  • “They were the only ones near us with an MRI for diagnosis.”
  • “My horse needed surgery for colic which was only available at the university hospital.”
  • “It was the best thing we ever did. Now use them as our regular vet.”
  • “Quicker diagnosis/treatment; more opinions, better equipment.”

Several more respondents commented on why they had not:

  • “Thank goodness, they have never had the need.”
  • “None close by, and thankfully our vet has been able to take care of any issues so far.”
  • “Nothing like that for miles and miles”
  • “None near by and probably too expensive even if we did have one.”
  • “There aren’t any university veterinary teaching hospitals in central Arizona at this time.”
  • “The cost is far too high. These facilities are priced for the wealthy and elite.”
  • “It hasn’t been necessary (and the closest such hospital would be several hundreds of miles distant).”
  • “I have not as there are 2 excellent private hospitals closer than a university.”
  • “The closest veterinary teaching hospital is about an 8 hour drive; luckily we have closer help available.”
  • “Not yet, luckily! I wouldn’t hesitate to bring my horses to the U of Minn. equine hospital if needed!”
  • “Never had an emergency my regular vet couldn’t handle–knock on wood!”

A few said they hadn’t taken their horse to a university veterinary teaching hospital, but would consider doing so:

  • “I would if I could. We don’t have anything close.”
  • “Fortunately, I haven’t had to, but would if necessary to save my horse’s life.”
  • “None around my small town. I would be more than happy to, however.”

While others left general comments:

  • “We have a great equine hospital much closer to us.”
  • “Closest one is almost 2 hours from me, & is very expensive.”
  • “With colic & lameness, sometimes one needs more diagnostics than can be provided in the field.”
  • “Our local vets have been very knowledgeable in the issues we have come across.”
  • “I interned at the reproduction clinic of my alma mater but never brought a horse to one.”
  • “I was very pleased until last two years. Full cost-recovery has made them more costly with more errors.”
  • “Lots of students (vs 1 vet) means lots of fresh ideas”
  • “Luckily, my horses are pretty trouble free other than minor things my vet and I can handle.”
  • “Usually costs less than local veterinarians and exposes your case to multiple medical opinions.”
  • “I love my general practitioner but sometimes one needs to modalities available and a specialist.”

You can take a virtual tour of several university veterinary teaching hospitals including Colorado State University, Oregon State University, UC Davis, and Washington State University, find out what a day in the life of an equine veterinary student looks like, learn how to prepare for the costs of equine veterinary care, and more resources for vet students and veterinary practice at!

This week, we want to know: how far are you located from your veterinarian’s office/clinic (or home in the case of ambulatory vets)? Vote now and share your comments at!  

The results of our  weekly polls  are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them.  Sign up for our e-newsletters  on our homepage and look for a new poll on