• Frequently asked questions

Why has our vet suggested referral?

Referral services offer investigations and treatments that your local vet may not do very often, may not have the equipment for, or may feel uncomfortable performing. All vets should make the welfare of their patients their first priority and sometimes this means seeking advice from vets who are highly trained in a specific field. We spend all of our time investigating and treating orthopaedic (bone and joint) and spinal problems. We do not do 'routine' veterinary work such a neutering or vaccination and have no plans to do so.

What are your opening hours?

We are open between 8.30am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday. Outside these hours we offer an emergency service.

I would like to seek advice, but am worried that I will be obliged to have surgery. Is that likely to happen?

No! Our role is to make a diagnosis and discuss what treatments are possible, together with their likely outcomes. There are often several potential treatment options available that may be considered. We will try to provide a balanced view on all of your choices. This will hopefully allow you to make a decision about how you wish your pet to be treated. If you want us to provide further guidance then we will be happy to do so, however it is very important that you agree how best to proceed. If we do not believe that surgery is indicated then we will tell you so.

Do you have any plans to offer referral services in other specialities?

We have some exciting plans to expand our services soon. This will hopefully include substantial expansion of our soft tissue surgery capabilities as well as adding other disciplines. We anticipate that this will include medicine, oncology and neurology. Our current limiting factor is the size of our building and we hope to relocate to a much larger premises within the next two years.

My vet mentioned that we could go to see a Certificate holder or a Diplomate, what is the difference?

The difference is in the level of training and the degree of knowledge that has been proven by examination. Having a certificate shows a level of basic competence when faced with routine cases, whereas the diploma shows an advanced level of knowledge and expertise to the level of a specialist. This includes the ability to deal with complex cases. To use a human example, a certificate holder is like a well-informed local doctor whereas a diplomate is qualified to the level of a consultant. If you broke your leg or were paralysed and needed spinal surgery, would you be happy if your local doctor offered to do the surgery on his consulting room table or would you rather see a consultant at the hospital? Unfortunately, in the real world, seemingly simple cases can turn out to be very complex, so it is difficult to predict if a case is likely to benefit from assessment by a specialist.

Is going to a referral centre more expensive than seeing a vet in a first opinion practice?

It is likely that a visit to a referral centre will be more expensive than a visit to a first opinion practice. This reflects the amount of time spent with each case and the level of expertise and equipment that is necessary to provide the best possible outcome for your pet. In many cases a timely referral can be more cost effective in the long term, particularly in difficult cases, as a diagnosis can be reached more rapidly and specific treatment started earlier. As with many things in life the cheapest option is often that which works first time.

We try very hard to make our fees as affordable as possible whilst maintaining excellent facilities and levels of service.  We are aware that our fees are substantially less than many other referral services (and also some first opinion practices).

Will you do direct claims from my insurance company?

We are happy to claim directly from insurance companies in the majority of cases, subject to pre-authorisation of the claim being received. Pre-authorisation means that the insurance company consider the details of the claim before the costs of treatment are incurred. This involves sending full case notes and expected costings for the underwriters to assess. It can take several days for the companies to reach a decision which can sometimes mean treatment may be postponed. Please let us know as soon as possible if you wish us to claim directly from your insurance company in order that delays may be minimised.

Why do you only consult in the morning?

All cases are seen in the morning as this enables us to perform further investigations or surgery in the afternoon. In order to allow investigations to be performed as efficiently as possible we ask that all animals are brought in pre-starved for 12 hours in order that sedation may be given if required. Water may be available at all times.

Do you see cases on Saturdays?

I am afraid that we only see emergencies on Saturdays and do not see routine cases.

Can I come directly to Kentdale without going through my normal Vet?

No, we only work by referral from your local vet. However it is your right to request a referral from your practice, to whichever referral centre you choose.

How can I leave feedback about Kentdale?

At Kentdale Referrals we are committed to quality and excellence and ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients and clients. To view our Customer Charter click here.

We are committed to providing a 5-star service to our patients and clients. Your feedback matters to our team so that we can continue providing great care. At Kentdale we continually seek to provide our patients and clients with the best care and the best service. We are keen to hear about what we are doing well so that we keep doing these things, as well as anything you feel we can improve upon.

If you would like to leave feedback you can do so by clicking here.

What is your Complaints Policy?

Kentdale is committed to providing an excellent service and the highest standards of patient care. One of the ways in which we can continue to improve is by listening and responding to the views of our clients and Referring Veterinary Surgeons – this includes responding positively on the occasions when expectations are not met. We hope that we will always be given the opportunity to address any concerns, most of which can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and directly with the person concerned.

If, however, the problem cannot be resolved immediately, please speak to our Client Care Manager, either in person or by telephone on 015395 672 241. They will hopefully be able to address your concerns personally and promptly. If this is not possible, they will clearly explain any further action necessary including time frames. If you are still not satisfied, please put your concerns in writing to:

Client Care Manager
Kentdale Referrals
Unit 2B Moss End Business Village
Cumbria LA7 7NU

Please be aware that if you leave things too long after the event, it may be impossible to investigate the complaint properly; therefore, it is always best to alert us to any concerns you may have at the time. To help us to help you, please provide as much detail as possible with regards to dates, times, personnel involved and the nature of the complaint and the outcome you are hoping for.

All written complaints will be acknowledged within five working days, detailing the proposed actions, how we will keep you updated, and the timescales involved. The time from complaint to resolution can vary depending on the individual circumstances, availability of personnel and complexity of the problem.

If we do not succeed in resolving the problem to your satisfaction, you should contact the professional conduct department of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons at Belgrave House, 62-64 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF.

To view our complaints policy click here.

Please note that to maintain a quality service, we may monitor or record phone calls.

  • Our fur baby Teddy was referred in early Jan and had an operation for lameness in his hind left knee.

    The Vet who dealt with Teddy was Joe alongside and the brilliant nursing team.

    The care and concern for our Teddy from the start was and is 1st class, I could not speak highly enough of the whole Practice.

    A week after his operation Teddy had a set back with a fracture in his leg. Kentdale and Joe took Teddy straight back in at a moment’s notice when he was in great distress and operated the very next day.

    They have cared so much for our Teddy and he is just post op but is being kept comfortable and happy.

    Again, from the bottom of our hearts.  Thank you to Joe and the whole team at Kentdale, we would recommend this Practice to everyone that wants 1st class care for their precious fur babies.

    They are doing absolutely everything possible for a positive outcome for our Teddy and we get our baby back tomorrow and their aftercare advice and service has been as top class as all their other care.

    We are forever grateful. 

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Chris Field

  • We appreciate the clear explanation of what you did in surgery and what aftercare we had to do. We went away feeling completely supported.

    Rubi's Mum and Dad

  • Hello, we had our annual review with Simon today and I would just like to say another big Thank you for transforming our beautiful Buz's life. It’s just lovely to see him so happy, pain free and a typical blooming obsessive mad collie!!! His keeping us fit... can I give him back!!! Anyway, we’re only too glad to give you a testimonial for your new website.

    Our dog Buz had severe hip dysplasia, he was referred to Kentdale over 2 years ago and basicaly they have been our saviour!! He was in so much pain, he couldn’t walk far, he didn’t play and was a very sad “lazy” collie. We had a traumatic 18months ending up with 3 hip replacements. However after all of this we have had an amazing transformation, he is pain free, fun loving collie who is just now having his puppyhood! He has gone from one young dog on a serious amount of pain relief to none. He runs and bounds forever! We have been so grateful to the vets and staff to the care, treatment and support they have not only provided to our Buz but also to us! I call Simon our very own “Supervet” but the whole practise is outstanding. Buz is now like the bionic dog. I really thought when he dislocated his 2nd hip it was the end of the line, but no we were reassured something can be done to help make his life pain free. We just had to trust them. We did and we are forever grateful.

    Deb & Tom Nicholson

  • It is now 18 months since our first visit to Kentdale Vets where our dog was referred due to his lameness. We have found all the staff we have dealt with at the practice during this period to be extremely caring and helpful – the vets, physiotherapist, nurses and administrators. They really care about the outcomes for your pet and spend a lot of time explaining both the problems and any proposed treatment to owners. They understand just how stressful it is for owners as well as the animals and how crucial good communication is.

    Our dog was initially treated by Graham who carried out an arthroscopy and ulnar osteotomy after diagnosing elbow dysplasia. Graham performed this procedure immediately after undertaking a new scan as the scan provided by our general vets wasn’t fit for purpose and Graham wanted to save our dog the trauma of an additional anaesthetic. The procedure went well and after a few weeks we then progressed to physiotherapy and hydrotherapy with Donna who is highly qualified in this area Although our dog was better for a few months his condition worsened about a year ago. We returned to Graham who then referred us to Simon, the specialist within the practice for the Arthrex Cue procedure. This is a more invasive and complex procedure involving implants which reduce bone rubbing against bone within the elbow joint.

    Simon was reluctant to do this procedure initially as it is so invasive, and he didn’t feel our dog was bad enough to warrant it at that stage. We were reassured by their approach which has been about what is in the pet’s best interest rather than that of the practice. Simon was also keen to ensure that there weren’t any contributory shoulder problems too, so our dog underwent diagnostic procedures there.

    Further deterioration resulted in our dog undergoing the Arthrex Cue procedure six weeks ago. We met Louise for the first time at his admission for this procedure. She took great care to understand what makes our dog tick so that they could minimise his anxiety whilst there. Our dog was there for four nights, which was twice as long as his previous longest stay and seemed like an eternity for us. However, we were given regular updates during the period and it was obvious that they were taking great care of him and making the effort to engage with him even though he didn’t want to be there. Our x-ray today has confirmed that our dog is making good progress.
    We highly rate this little practice which has a great team who go the extra mile. Having confidence in them has made this difficult period easier for us.

    It takes us an hour to travel there but we consider this a small price to pay for such good care.


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