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
What do you need to do to become a referral service?
Unfortunately the provision of referral services is virtually unregulated by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. This means that any qualified vet can offer a referral service from the day they qualify, in any subject they like, without any further experience or qualifications. When you are choosing a referral centre you should consider the qualifications of the referral clinicians, the level of equipment and expertise and the track record of the referral service. All of our surgeons are either diploma holders or are residency trained and due to sit the diploma examinations shortly. Please see the section on veterinary qualifications for more information what that means.
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 been approached by other specialists, however at this time we do not plan to offer other referral disciplines. The reason for this is that we do not believe that having a visiting specialist once or twice a month would provide an adequate service, particularly where emergencies occur. Also at the moment the majority of our patients are fit and healthy but 'broken' rather than being 'sick' as in other specialities. This enables us to maintain exceptional hygiene standards as the environment is not being so severely contaminated with pathogens (germs) from ill animals.
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 similar to 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 actually turn out to be very complex, so it is difficult to predict if a case is unlikely 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.
My dog is lame, how much will it cost to fix it?
This is a common question that unfortunately cannot be answered without a diagnosis being made. Our initial consultation fee starts at £110+VAT for a 45 minute consultation. Anticipated costs for any future investigations and treatments may be discussed at that time.
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.