There may come a time during your pet’s diagnostic work up or as part of their treatment plan that we may decide it is beneficial for them to receive more specialist care. This process is called a referral and your veterinary surgeon will discuss why and whether they consider this necessary and where it is best to send your pet. Referral centres are staffed with veterinary surgeons that have become specialist in their field, for example orthopaedics (bones), cancer treatment (oncology) or cardiology (hearts!). It is comparable to when you visit a specialist consultant at a hospital. Their knowledge and skills are more specific and the equipment available at these centres is more advanced than what is available in general practice.
We are lucky that we are very close to a number of excellent referral centres and your veterinary surgeon will discuss with you which one is best for your pet. We send many of our patients to Davies Veterinary Specialists in Higham Gobion as it is local and we have an excellent working relationship with them and trust them to look after our clients and their pets as we would expect. We receive no financial gain from sending patients to any particular referral centre.
What happens if the vet says my pet should be referred?
Once it has been decided where to go, we will help set up the appointment and will send all of your pet’s history and any relevant radiographs to the hospital ahead of your appointment.
Due to the specialist nature of this work, the fees can be considerably more than those experienced in general practice so if your animal is insured it is imperative that you have ensured that the work is covered by your policy as you will be responsible for any outstanding fees. If you wish to do a direct claim then this must be discussed with the referral hospital directly before your consultation. If you are paying for the treatment yourself then you will need to settle the account when your pet is collected as payment plans are rarely available.
Please feel re assured that these decisions are governed by your wishes as an owner so it is important that you discuss any concerns or requests with your veterinary surgeon.
Initial appointments at a referral centre can only be made via your veterinary surgeon at Elizabeth Smith Veterinary Practice although if your pet is receiving ongoing care then you can either contact them directly or through us if you have any queries.