The best diagnosis and treatment the profession has to offer
When your pet is ill, you know that you can trust your vet. However, for some more complicated cases your vet may suggest referring them to a referral vet to benefit from the best diagnosis and treatment the profession has to offer. As in human medicine, these vets will take referrals from all other vets, just as a GP would refer patients with skin problems to a dermatologist. When your vet feels that a specialist opinion would be in your pet’s best interest, we will work with them to provide an extension of their service. Veterinary referral services are carried out in a range of areas, including: cardiology; dermatology; oncology; ophthalmology; and surgery. In some cases your pet many be referred for diagnostic tests or treatments that require complex equipment which are not available at your own veterinary practice.
Your own vet will give you all the information you need to decide whether or not you want to be referred.
What is a referral vet?
A referral vet or clinician will have gained additional experience and undertaken further extensive clinical training in a particular field. They will have varying levels of expertise and recognition; a certificate holder (abbreviated after a vet’s name as Cert) is an indication of a competent clinician who has passed an examination in this area. These vets will often be referred to as ‘Referral Clinicians’. A diploma (DBR, DDVA, DLAS etc.) is an indication of the highest standard of academic and professional expertise. These vets will be officially referred to as Diplomates or Specialists. They will have undertaken at least 3 years of continuous education in a specific area of expertise before qualifying as a Diplomate.
In addition to this, they may have further recognition as a Specialist by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), as an indication of an expert who usually after obtaining a diploma, has satisfied a number of other stringent criteria. These clinicians are identified by the title ‘RCVS recognised specialist in…’
How do I arrange to see a referral vet?
If your vet feels your pet would benefit from a referral, they will discuss this with you and give you all the information you need to make a fully informed decision. It’s worth remembering that you have a choice about who you are referred to, so whilst your vet will be able to make recommendations, you can research who to entrust your pet to, to make sure they’re in the best hands.
Once you and your vet have discussed who to refer your pet to, your vet will arrange an initial appointment and provide any relevant case notes to the referral vet.
How much does it cost to see a referral vet?
Referral services do tend to be more costly than other veterinary work. This is largely because the cases treated are more complex and time consuming, often requiring advanced expertise and the use of expensive equipment. All veterinary surgeons, including referral clinicians, are happy to discuss costs and provide an estimate of the fees involved before starting any treatment, so that you can make the best decision for you and your pet. Insurance policies and level of cover varies, so it is always worth checking this prior to undertaking any treatment.