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Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by Ceiling Kitty, Aug 10, 2015.

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  1. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Hides away from much through humour...

    Mar 7, 2010
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    This is a forum for chat, support and advice regarding our pets, and there are many experienced members on here who are only too pleased to help out where they can.

    However, nobody here is in a position to give out medical advice for an animal they have not seen and cannot examine, and they may not be qualified to do so.


    If you feel you cannot seek veterinary assistance, please read the following:

    My vet is closed; what can I do?
    In the UK, all veterinary practices are required by law to provide a 24 hour service. This may be provided by them directly, or it may be via a diversion to another practice or specialist out-of-hours practice. Whatever the circumstances, they will have an emergency phone number you can call for advice whatever the time of day or night. You may be able to speak to a vet or veterinary nurse right away, or you may be called back within a short space of time. Either is better than waiting for a reply on here, so please call.

    My pet is not registered with a vet; what can I do?
    Any veterinary practice can see your pet as an emergency if you register with them. If you are on holiday in the UK, you can also expect to be seen as an emergency by a local practice. If you are reading this then you have internet access: look up some local vets and call their number.

    Be aware: out-of-hours veterinary fees are usually higher than standard fees during opening hours, specifically consultations. This is normal and a reflection of the higher costs of employing someone and opening a practice to see your pet out-of-hours.

    I cannot afford a vet; what can I do?
    Please start by phoning the vet anyway. Be upfront about your difficulties with paying for treatment.
    - the vet may be able to advise on appropriate home care instead of seeing your pet (this will obviously not be possible for all cases).
    - the vet may be able to offer alternative payment options (note that they are NOT obliged to do this).
    - the vet may be able to point you in the direction of other services in your local area that may provide cheaper care or alternative options (this may not be available in your area).

    I called the vet and I really can't afford the fees; what can I do?
    Try some other practices in the area. Check to see if you are eligible for charitable assistance and whether it is available in your area (see below). If all else fails, call on friends and family to see if you can borrow some money. Use a credit card if you have one.

    I cannot get to the vet for logistical / transport-related reasons; what can I do?
    Again, please do call the vet anyway. They may be able to advise you on homecare options if you cannot bring your pet in, depending on the complaint. Many vets offer house calls, so see if this is an option. Be aware that large out-of-hours contractors such as VetsNow can perform house calls but only as a last resort and for a high fee.

    I called the vet and they can't visit me; what can I do?
    Call on friends, family, the neighbours. See if there is anyone who can give you a lift or take your pet to the vet for you. Try calling your local taxi firms - not all will accept pets but many will, so call them all and ask. Some areas are lucky enough to have animal ambulance services so Google for these. The vet may be able to recommend a taxi firm if there is one their clients end up using a lot.

    Legalities of seeking veterinary care

    Remember that you have a duty of care to your animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The law states that you must keep your pet free from pain, suffering, injury and disease. Failure to seek appropriate and timely veterinary care for a sick or injured animal is an offence and you could be prosecuted.

    The RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) states the following in its Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons:
    3.18 The responsibility for the welfare of an animal ultimately rests with the owner, keeper or carer.

    Charitable assistance for veterinary care in the UK

    PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals)
    The PDSA is a charity that provides free and discounted veterinary care. To be eligible for their assistance, you must be within a catchment area and be on Council Tax benefit, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. No other forms of benefits are accepted. There is a limit to the number of pets (particularly pedigree dogs and cats) you can register with the PDSA.
    Here is their website: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/

    The RSPCA runs a number of charity clinics across the country. Some of these provide discounted care at all levels, others are first-aid only. Not all are open all the time. Check to see if there is one near you and whether or not you are eligible by looking at their website:

    Blue Cross
    The Blue Cross is another charity that provides free or discounted veterinary care. The range of benefits they accept is wider than the PDSA, but they have fewer clinics.
    Here is their website: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/

    Celia Hammond Animal Trust
    If you are in London, CHAT runs two low-cost veterinary clinics which are not means-tested, but they do expect to discuss your individual circumstances before treating your pet. Unlike the PDSA and Blue Cross, they cannot provide free care - but it is very low cost.
    Here is their website: http://www.celiahammond.org/index.php/faqs/veterinary-clinics

    There are numerous other smaller charities that can provide discounted veterinary care or try to help with veterinary fees. However, they are overstretched so you should try to use alternatives if possible. ALWAYS PHONE A VET TO TALK THROUGH YOUR PET'S PROBLEM BEFORE DECIDING WHAT TO DO, IF YOU ARE UNSURE.

    Non-urgent situations

    There is a great breadth and depth of knowledge and experience on this forum, and members are always willing to provide advice and support if your animal has a DIAGNOSED health condition. Please do not ask anyone to guess at a diagnosis for your pet as we simply cannot do so. If your pet has seen a vet and has been diagnosed or is undergoing treatment, feel free to discuss their case on the forum if you wish to do so. We cannot offer specific medical advice, but may be able to share experiences about medical conditions in general.
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