FAQs

This section covers a number of questions frequently asked by pet owners and clients. If there is a question you have, which is not discussed on here please feel free  to contact us and ask us.

Lots of our pets live long lives and as they age, they are at increased risk of a number of health problems. It can be difficult to know if your pet is just ageing or starting to develop a specific health problem which can be helped by regular veterinary check-ups, so we recommend that as well as their annual vaccination boosters and health check, as pets age they have more frequent health checks. Please ask us for more information.

Please see BSAVA PetSavers’ Ageing Canine Toolkit providing further information on keeping an older dog healthy and a check list to help identify if your dog needs to have a veterinary check.

Our team is here to support you and your pet throughout their life, to help them stay healthy and happy within your family for as long as possible.

We are also experienced at supporting owners to decide when euthanasia would be appropriate, considering with you, your pet’s quality of life. Then, with your agreement, we will help ensure your pet has a respectful and dignified end to their life.

Usually euthanasia is performed by giving the pet an overdose of an anaesthetic drug or combination of drugs so they go to sleep and do not wake up. Our vets and nurses can talk through the euthanasia process in more detail, including the various choices of burial or cremation afterwards.

For home euthanasia services please see Dignipets.

Having to say goodbye to a beloved pet is painful, difficult and filled with sorrow. There are a number of organisations which help provide support if you or a family member are grieving.

These organisations include:

https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-and-pet-loss

www.theralphsite.com

www.compassionunderstood.com

We need to know if your pet has travelled abroad as there are a number of serious diseases which pets can pick up abroad which can be spread to humans (A disease which can spread from animals to humans is called a zoonosis or zoonotic disease).

For some of these diseases the infected pet may not show any signs of illness for some time, but the risk to the pet and to humans come in contact with the pet such as pet owners and veterinary staff can be potentially serious and, in a few cases, life-threatening. If we know about your pet’s travel we can give you advice and help protect you, your family’s and our staff safety.

We offer a travel advice and document service at The Vet Clinic as there are members of the team who have undergone further training to become qualified Official Veterinarians (OV), meaning they are legally able to act on behalf of the government to provide certification for your pet to travel.

Normally for your pet to travel to the EU with you they will require:

  • A functioning microchip (please make sure you keep your details up to date on it!)
  • A rabies vaccination at least 21 days before travel
  • An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued less than 10 days prior to the date of travel
  • For some countries you will be required to have a tapeworm treatment prescribed and administered or witnessed by an OV more than 24 hours but less than 120 hours before travelling (for most EU countries you will require this before re-entry into the UK too), an OV will need to sign a section on the AHC to certify this

 

We ask that you notify us at least 4 weeks before your date of travel to allow enough time to prepare your pet’s AHC due to the amount of paperwork involved. We will provide you with a ‘travel questionnaire’ to be completed and returned no less than 3 weeks before your date of travel; the information you provide on these will be used to complete the AHC so it is important and your responsibility to ensure that all details given are correct.

 In some exceptional circumstances, we may be able to provide an AHC at shorter notice but this is not a guaranteed service and it will incur an additional fee. There is an initial cost for an AHC for the first animal, additional animals travelling together on the same AHC are charged at a reduced rate; up to 5 animals can travel together on one AHC (dogs, cats and ferrets).

An AHC is valid for travel within 10 days of the issue date, and you will then be able to continue forward travel within the EU for up to 3 months. If your trip lasts longer than 3 months, you will require a new AHC issued within the EU to return. For each trip to the EU, a new AHC is required (even if you have had one issued within the last 3 months). Your pet must be travelling with you or within 5 days of your travel (by a designated carrier or a person with written authorisation from yourselves) for non-commercial movement to be able to travel on an AHC.

If your pet is not travelling within 5 days of your travel or travelling to the EU for a commercial reason (i.e. travelling to be sold), you will likely require an Export Health Certificate (EHC).

If you are not travelling to the EU, you will likely require an Export Health Certificate (EHC). Depending on your destination will depend on the pre-travel requirements; some destinations or some carriers will require a ‘fit to travel’ certificate, we can provide this after completing a satisfactory physical examination.

For travel outside of the EU or with pets other than dogs, cats or ferrets, it is your responsibility to make the initial request for an application form for an EHC, this can be done at gov.uk , and to contact the competent authority of the importing country to check for import requirements and request an import permit if needed.

Our veterinary team consists of a vet trained in acupuncture and we will recommend it as a treatment option for your pet when the vet considers it would be beneficial.

For further information on acupuncture

For cats

  • Cats Protection Neutering Scheme. We offer discounted cat neutering, to those owners that qualify under the Cats Protection Neutering Scheme. Please check if you qualify for a voucher on the link to the Cats Protection information page
    below before booking your cat in.
  • https://www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/neutering/financial-assistance

For dogs

  • We offer a 10% discount on all procedures including neutering as part of our Health Care Plans

BSAVA (the British Small Animal Veterinary Association) explain some of the reasons why
veterinary practices charge the fees they do:

  1. There is no NHS for pets, as for humans, in the UK. So pet owners have to pay the
    equivalent of private medical care costs for their pets. (Actually vets are much
    cheaper than private human medical services e.g. the average cost for a private
    human hysterectomy in the UK is over £7000 (a hysterectomy is the removal of the
    uterus), at the Vet Clinic our largest dog spay cost is currently £375 (a spay is the
    removal of the uterus and ovaries).

     

  2. There is no government support for veterinary practices.
  3. Veterinary business owners need to ensure their business remains viable if they are
    to continue to serve their clients and pets alike (and for BDH to continue to support
    its rescue dogs). This means that fees take into consideration a myriad of costs depending on the scenario.
  4. For most veterinary practices, running their business is similar to running a small hospital. It is a complex business operation and needs to take into consideration a range of elements. In brief, these include:

     

    • Costs incurred by practice premises – rent, mortgage, maintenance, utility and service bills.
    • Fitting out and maintaining consulting rooms, operating theatres, pharmacies, waste disposal areas and accommodation facilities for staff and pets – including facilities for pets who have particular needs e.g. isolation facilities.
    • Ensuring a fit-for-purpose IT system that keeps pace with technology and maintains connectivity with a network of national systems.
    • Provision and maintenance of medical equipment including replacement with updated equipment that keeps pace with medical advances.
    • Diagnostic equipment and rooms – laboratory facilities, imaging facilities such as our ultrasound and X-ray machines, dental room
    • Staffing costs:
      • Salaries including national insurance and pension contributions, holiday leave and maternity or paternity leave including temporary cover to maintain services
      • Staff uniforms, protective garments and equipment
      • Professional and indemnity fees, Continuing professional development of staff
    • Costs associated with compliance with legislation and industry guidance covering veterinary surgeons, procedures, medicines, health and safety, local authority requirements, employment, data protection (GDPR), and sustainability to name but a few.
    • Ensuring adequate funds to cover unexpected costs associated with maintaining or repairing the practice facilities or expanding the practice to extend their services.
    • Certification services – export or travel certificates for pets,
    • Pro bono and charity work including discounted work to support charities, and also managing strays, wildlife, abandoned pets or injured animals without an identified owner.

External factors also have an impact on veterinary businesses – these include VAT, legislation, product supply chains and availability of staff. Post-Brexit, the shortage of vets has created added pressures for practices with increased competition for a limited supply resulting in reduced capacity, yet the need to maintain services and support the health and welfare of the nation’s pets still remains. Veterinary salaries have remained relatively consistent across the sector but it remains the case that newly qualified vets may have the added burden of leaving university after a 5-6 year course heavily in debt. Brexit also means certification is required each time a pet travels abroad. This involves health checks, vaccination, blood tests, wormers, completion of legal documents – unique for every country a pet travels to. All this takes veterinary time and additional training including time to keep abreast of government guidance.

 

BSAVA, the British Small Animal Veterinary Association make the following recommendations for trying to control your vet costs:

Preventative care

Preventative care can protect your pet’s health and can also help you manage veterinary costs by minimising infections and spotting health issues before they have developed into conditions that are costly to resolve. Many practices offer routine health care including vaccinations, parasitic treatments, weight clinics and dental checks.

At the Vet Clinic we now have our own Health Care Plans which can help you spread costs and save money

Insurance

Unless eligible for support by animal welfare charities, most pet owners will be providing private health care for their pets. Pet insurance policies can help spread related costs over a period of time and also minimise costs of diagnostics and treatment whether due to infections, medical conditions or accidents, all of which can result in unexpected veterinary bills. There are various options available and we recommend you consider which best fits your needs and their financial situation.

Also see our information on choosing the best pet insurance for you

Choosing the right pet for you

  • Some breeds may come with higher insurance premiums as they may be prone to certain health conditions and so can incur higher costs. It is advisable that potential owners research thoroughly before committing to buying a pet. There is still no guarantee that a pet won’t develop health problems, but choosing a pet with potential health conditions in mind can help to manage costs of pet care.
  • The day-to-day care needs of the pet are also of relevance, with some species having more specific needs than others. Owners should ensure they can maintain their pet’s health on a daily basis.
  • It is also worth bearing in mind that while some owners can spend thousands of pounds on purchasing a pet, this is only the start of a lifetime journey which owners need to be aware of from the onset – a pet becoming part of the family is usually a choice and with it comes responsibility and long-term commitment.


Speak to your vet

It should be remembered that vets, as members of the RCVS, commit to do their best to support the health and welfare of a pet. Having a conversation with your vet on the best routine care for your pet, and discussing treatment options and costs should your pet become ill, should help owners make informed decisions about their pet’s health. Aiming to have good lines of communication is an excellent starting point when establishing not just a sound foundation for a pet’s veterinary care but also, in forming a good working relationship with your veterinary practice.

Register your pet

To see your pet we need to register them first. This ensures we have all the information we need to ensure a smooth transition to them being under our care.

Unfortunately, due to lack of staff cover, we are unable to open on the morning of Saturday 11th May.

If you have any concerns about your pet please contact our Out of Hours Provider Willows Veterinary Centre

Willows Veterinary Centre 0121 712 7071

Highlands Road
Shirley
Solihull
B90 4NH

We will be open as normal from Monday morning to book appointments.

Neutering for the Cats Protection is currently paused

Monday 27th May Bank Holiday
The Vet Clinic is closed on all English Bank Holidays – including Monday 27th May

If you have any concerns about your pet please contact our Out of Hours Provider Willows Veterinary Centre

Willows Veterinary Centre 0121 712 7071

Highlands Road
Shirley
Solihull
B90 4NH

We will be open as normal from Tuesday morning to book appointments.

Monday 6th May Bank Holiday
The Vet Clinic is closed on all English Bank Holidays – including Monday 6th May

If you have any concerns about your pet please contact our Out of Hours Provider Willows Veterinary Centre

Willows Veterinary Centre 0121 712 7071

Highlands Road
Shirley
Solihull
B90 4NH

We will be open as normal from Tuesday morning to book appointments.

Unfortunately, due to lack of staff cover, we are unable to open on the morning of Saturday 11th May.

If you have any concerns about your pet please contact our Out of Hours Provider Willows Veterinary Centre

Willows Veterinary Centre 0121 712 7071

Highlands Road
Shirley
Solihull
B90 4NH

We will be open as normal from Monday morning to book appointments.

Unfortunately, due to lack of staff cover, we are unable to open on the morning of Saturday 27th April.

If you have any concerns about your pet please contact our Out of Hours Provider Willows Veterinary Centre

Willows Veterinary Centre 0121 712 7071

Highlands Road
Shirley
Solihull
B90 4NH

We will be open as normal from Monday morning to book appointments.

Unfortunately, due to lack of staff cover, we are unable to open on the morning of Saturday 20th April.

If you have any concerns about your pet please contact our Out of Hours Provider Willows Veterinary Centre

Willows Veterinary Centre 0121 712 7071

Highlands Road
Shirley
Solihull
B90 4NH

We will be open as normal from Monday morning to book appointments.