Things rarely go to plan when animals are involved, especially if you’re an equine vet, as several reveal below…

1. “I landed flat on my back”

“‘Watch out Mrs Smith, the floor gets very slippery once it’s had surgical spirit on it.’ No sooner had I given this advice to a client when I demonstrated said slipperiness by skating across the floor, landing flat on my back and emptying an entire bucket of water over me.”

Imogen Burrows MRCVS, Cliffe Equine Clinic, East Sussex

2. “Quite a sight — dopey cobs on the A1”

“My fiancée and I were driving to Newcastle when suddenly confronted by six cobs galloping down the dual carriageway towards us. I slowed down and put the hazard lights on, as did all the traffic around us. Vehicles were still flying past on the southbound carriageway and we were concerned that one of the panicking horses might jump the central reservation. As I wasn’t in my work car, all I had to hand was an old broken headcollar and, luckily, some syringes and sedation. It made for quite a sight to see so many dopey cobs on the A1. When the owner arrived, all she said was: ‘I hope you’re not going to charge me for that?’ Unbelievable!”

Phil Cramp MRCVS, Hambleton Equine, North Yorkshire

3. “Something landed on my shoulder”

“I was once on my way back to the clinic when I could hear shuffling coming from the back of my car. I nearly jumped out of my skin when something landed on my shoulder — a small white cat. I then had to retrace my day’s journey to find out which yard it had come from.”

Anonymous, Oxfordshire

4. “All I could see was a flurry of dreadlocks”

“I once attended a lethargic Poitou donkey. Poitous have dreadlock-like coats and you know how owners can take after their pets. Well, said donkey took one look at me and decided it felt much better, so charged off. Imagine my horror when all I could see was a flurry of dreadlocks and an airborne owner as she hung on to the lead rein with all her might! No treatment was required.”

Imogen Burrows MRCVS

5. “It looked like a toy”

“I was once called out to an RSPCA welfare case involving starving and neglected miniature horses. One of the foals was so small and underweight that I picked him up under one arm and took him to the clinic, where he fitted inside a small dog basket and looked, for all the world, like a toy. The foal eventually recovered and, as I write, is happily grazing in the orchard approaching the grand age of 20.”

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Peter Green MRCVS, Torch Equine Vets, Devon

6. “They recommend I read Horse & Hound

“Many times I’ve had customers tell me they’ve read an interesting veterinary article in Horse & Hound and they recommend that I read it — particularly when a horse is showing unusual symptoms. They are somewhat surprised when I say: ‘Yes — I wrote it.’”

Karen Coumbe MRCVS, Bell Equine, Kent, and H&H veterinary consultant

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