Our team have put together a list of frequently asked questions, which we hope you find useful.  If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, just phone or email and we’ll be happy to help.

— Who works at P.E.T.S.?

The P.E.T.S. team is a dedicated team of vets and nurses that work at nights and weekends. They are not expected to work during the daytime, meaning they are fresh and alert even if you need to be seen at 3am! All our emergency vets are experienced and highly trained; all have several years’ experience in the field of emergency and critical care and many have further qualifications too. Our veterinary nurses are all RVNs (registered veterinary nurses) which means they are highly qualified. They have also had extensive emergency training and experience dealing with urgent patients. In addition to these members of staff there are nursing assistants and receptionists to make sure you and your pet receive the best level of care and reassurance during a worrying time. A list of our PETS staff can be found here.

— How do I get in contact with you and can I call just for advice?

You can call our emergency line 01273 566993 at any time. If a vet or a nurse is available to discuss your concerns we are happy to give advice, free of charge, over the phone. Often, we will advise you to bring your pet in for an examination as it can hard to assess the seriousness of symptoms over the phone. Even if your pets’ symptoms are minor we are always happy to see your pet. Much like in A&E, we will see emergency patients in order of clinical priority rather than by appointment time. We know this can be frustrating if you have to wait, but be assured it is because your pet is stable, where as those being seen before you are not.

— If my pet needs assessment or treatment how do I pay?

Payment is usually required at the end of treatment. If investigations or hospitalisation are necessary, the vet will provide you with an estimate for this. We generally require a 50% deposit of this estimate if your pet needs to be admitted to the hospital. However we may be able to provide alternative arrangements depending on your insurance cover or special circumstances at the vets’ discretion.

The thing to stress is that your pets’ welfare will always be our primary concern, so if you are think there is something seriously wrong please call us to discuss your worries, even if there are financial concerns.

— I’m insured, will I be covered?

Hopefully! Most accidents and emergencies are covered by even basic insurance policies. However, it is best to bring any insurance documents with you so we can check your terms and conditions and any exclusions your policy may have.

Some insurance companies are sneaky and will only pay for out-of-hours cover if your pet’s conditions is deemed “imminently life threatening”. Thankfully, most of the cases we see are not imminently life threatening, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be seen urgently. Our advice would be to read the small print carefully when taking out any insurance policy, and avoid policies with very limiting terms like this.

— Do I have to use you because my normal vet is subscribed to you for out-of-hours cover?

No. You can always choose where to take your pet, and occasionally some emergencies mean the closest option is the best option. However, we work closely with our member practices and have established links with them to provide continuity for you and your pet should they need out-of-hours care.

— I'm not registered with one of your member practices, can I still be seen?

Of course! We would always recommend you try your practice’s out-of-hours provider in the first instance: their details are usually provided on your vets’ website. However, if you would prefer to come to us for whatever reason, then we are happy to see you and your pet. However, because your practice does not subscribe to our service, there is a surcharge in addition to the regular consultation fee.

— Your consultation fee seems expensive, can you explain why its higher than my vets? 

Just like for many other services, there is an increased cost for an out-of-hours consultation compared to a normal vet visit. We are a dedicated emergency provider with both RCVS Small Animal Veterinary Hospital and RCVS Emergency Services Clinic accreditations. We have an extensive array of equipment and a fully staffed and functional hospital overnight which is costly to run. We have a high level of expertise in emergency and critical care, with our vets and nurses undergoing rigorous internal and external training. While the out-of-hours consultation fee is higher than a normal consultation fee, and some other procedures (such as surgery) are more expensive out-of-hours, the majority of our fees (such as for medications) are exactly the same whatever the time of day or night.

— Can you provide everything my vet can? Are you able to offer a full service? 

Due to the nature of emergencies it is essential that we have an array of in-house facilities. A comprehensive list of our facilities can be found here. We can run many in-house blood tests that are beyond the routine level of a general practitioner. We also have several imaging options and can transfer to you to our referral service during working hours if your pet requires it. We can provide oxygen, blood products and toxin antidotes amongst many other treatments for any emergency that may present. If necessary, we can perform emergency surgery out-of-hours.

— Can you visit my pet at home?

We will always encourage you to bring your pet to the clinic. Most resources required for emergencies remain at the clinic, and therefore it is in your pet’s best interest to come to the hospital. In some special circumstances house visits can be arranged at the vet’s discretion and there will be a surcharge incurred.

— What if my pet is too ill to come straight home?

We have dedicated cat and dog wards to provide your pet with a high level of comfort, should they need to be admitted to the hospital. There is round-the-clock care provided by our trained staff. We will communicate updates on your pet regularly. We are very happy to make you an appointment to come during visiting hours to see your hospitalised pet.

— Will you always be with my pet? 

There is always a trained member of staff overseeing patients overnight. We try to allow our more stable patients to have a level of normality (sleep!) but they will get regular examinations overnight. Some patients require constant monitoring and we have both the equipment and staff available to facilitate this.

— Will the same vet always see my pet?

Unfortunately, due to the nature of night shifts we have to rotate our staff to allow them to rest! Your pet will often be looked after by the same vet on consecutive nights. However, we always do thorough handovers so that all staff are aware of your pets’ needs.