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Info Guides

Our pet Info Guides are there to help you understand better your pets and pet-related issues, from advice about dogs and hotels to vets and pet insurance. If there's a topic we've not covered and you'd like to see, please contact us.

10 things you (possibly) didn’t know about vets

1.      The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons(RCVS) is the UK regulatory body for all veterinary surgeons (vets).  The RCVS keeps a Register of Members eligible to practise as a vet in the UK.  For more info, or if you have a complaint about a vet, go to www.rcvs.org.uk.

2.      The RCVS Practice Standards Scheme is a voluntary initiative.  By setting standards and carrying out regular inspections, the Scheme aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of veterinary care.  Look for the RCVS accredited practice logo.

3.      The RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct (Guide) sets out vets' key responsibilities.  The Guide is available online at www.rcvs.org.uk/guide.

4.      The RCVS does not govern the level of fees charged by vets, unless they are so extreme as to amount to disgraceful conduct.  Your vet should give you an idea of fees before starting to treat your pet.  The Guide also recommends that vets should tell you about possible charity assistance if you have financial difficulties or are on benefits. 

5.      The RCVS requires all vets (with some exemptions in remote areas) to provide 24-hour emergency cover.  Your vet should give you details of the cover, including an emergency telephone number.  Non-emergency treatment can be delayed until normal working hours.

6.      Vets are obliged to provide immediate first aid and pain relief to your pet if, for any reason, you cannot contact your usual vet e.g. you are on holiday.  Make sure you give as much detail as possible about your pet's previous medical history.

7.      It is your responsibility to take your pet to the vet, but vets may be able to advise on the availability of an animal ambulance or a taxi service willing to transport sick animals. 

8.      You can buy medication from your vet OR ask for a prescription and obtain the medicines elsewhere.  From 31/10/08 your vet can now charge for providing prescriptions.  Your vet may insist on a further examination (at the usual charge) before issuing a repeat prescription.  The Guide recommends that vets tell you their prices for the ten most common medicines, so you can compare prices.

9.    If you move, you should ask your 'old' vet to provide copies of your pet's clinical records to your new vet.   A charge may be made for copying.  Vets are also obliged to be helpful to any other vet that is treating your pet (e.g. after an emergency).

10.  The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is the UK representative body for vets, representing the interests of its 11,000+ members.  Unlike membership of the RCVS, membership of the BVA is voluntary.   See www.bva.co.uk.

Charity Assistance:

If you have any difficulty paying for vet's fees, try:

PDSA (www.pdsa.org.uk)

The Dogs Trust (www.dogstrust.org.uk)

Blue Cross (www.bluecross.org.uk).  Blue Cross can also help with animal transportation/ambulances.

© Take Your Pet Ltd March 2009

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