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VetCW FAQs for Referring Vets


• What sort of procedures do you do?

We enjoy all aspects of surgery, and if practices wish us to we are happy to add some routines (eg. large bitch spays) to a list. As a travelling service we offer a very wide range of orthopaedic and soft-tissue procedures; we are also very well equipped, for example with a very wide range of orthopaedic trauma implants to address a wide range of fracture patients and conformations. Very occasionally if specialised or customised implants are required then we may need to schedule procedures around deliveries.

• What if I just want some advice on case?

Jolly good. E-mail or message us, very happy to help. Colin has been doing that for the past decade a) its really enjoyable to be able to help out and b)that’s an essential component of the partnership between referral and general practice.

• Can I just book a consult, eg. for lameness work-up, or discussion where the owner is reluctant for surgery?

Yes, of course. Consultations are £80, and clients should never feel under pressure or obligation to make surgical choices, especially not ‘on the spot’.

• When do I book the client in?

We will be visiting practices on a regular fortnight rotation so our availability will be as reliable as possible.

• What about an urgent case?

If you feel your case is more urgent than our next visit, then please contact us and we will advise on our availability, which may possibly be at another local practice. Always, if we can help, we will. We do understand that the animal is likely to need pre-operative stabilisation and be admitted, and so the client may not be available for a consultation, in which case we would discuss any procedures required by telephone.

• How will my client be kept up to date pre-operatively?

When you book procedures for the day of our visit, we have a set format -repeat examinations are seen first with ten minute appointments, and then new presentations are seen with a 20 minute appointment. New patient referral examinations are very unpredictable in terms of duration, and we do strive to ensure that all client queries are addressed fully, so we do warn clients that there may be some unpredictability in keeping to appointment times, of necessity.

We ask you to forward us client and case details prior to the appointment, just as you would with any external referral, so we can assess the case, especially with regard to equipment. We will then speak to clients prior to the appointment to give them an outline of the admissions and surgical procedures. We will also, if possible, email over consent forms and post-operative instructions for the client to be able to review ahead of time so they can have the opportunity to formulate any questions or concerns.

• What will VetCW provide?

VetCW will provide specialised surgical equipment, a surgical team and support to the practice post-operatively if required.

• What does my practice need to do?

To allow you to continue with your working day and minimising disruption, we would kindly ask for the use of a consulting room for admissions in the morning, then access to an anaesthetic machine and a small range of drugs (detailed separately), kennelling, radiography and theatre. VetCW will clean our own kit and sterilise it away from your practice (except if caseload exceeds three orthopaedic cases per day, or if unusually a single specific and unusual item is needed for multiple procedures).

• What does an estimate to my client include?

All estimates include VAT at 20%. Where we are visiting practices regularly on a fortnightly basis, Colin will review patients at two weeks post-operatively, and for orthopaedic cases again at 6 weeks with the option of performing review radiographs at that stage – which are also included within the flat procedure fee, so clients know what to expect, without any awkward surprises.

• How are the fees split between my practice and VetCW?

50% to is retained by the host practice and 50% will be payable to VetCW Ltd

• How do admissions work?

All surgeries will include a consultation with Colin and full case discussion with the owner. VetCW will provide bespoke consent forms for the procedure. If we do not proceed to surgery, only the consultation fee of £60 will be payable.

• How will procedures work?

We’ll structure a list, typically Lizzy and Jade will anaesthetise, image, epidural and prep patients and scrub to assist. We’re aiming to provide an efficient service so procedures are completed in good time. If we have a busy day then we may ask for some nurse support to monitor recovering patients, with full case handover.

If we have more than three orthopaedic procedures on the same day, then we may ask for assistance to repackage and autoclave some kit. Normally, if colleagues wish to follow cases, scrub-in etc then you are more than welcome, but just at first during Covid restrictions we had better stay at arm’s length, as it were. (When happier times arrive again, we’ll actively recruit vet students to see practice with us also).

• How will discharges work?

The VetCW team will keep in contact with the owner with updates on the surgery and initial recovery from anaesthesia. We will then typically hand over to your team for discharge. The animal will either be discharged the same day to the owner, or may require overnight care, either at your practice or your out of hours provider. We will discuss this with you on the day on a case by case basis and will communicate this to the client at admit. Full post-operative information will be provided for both the client and the referring vet.

• What if there are any post-operative complications?

All surgical procedures carry complication rates, and whilst it would be lovely to pretend we’ll be immune to that, we won’t. Colin will be available via email, messenger or the telephone (unless he is operating elsewhere) and will support you and your client with any post-operative issues, with remote advice and reviews as necessary.

• What if we don’t have much work on?

Well, that’s the way of things, and wholly understood. We do what there is, rechecks etc, and then either fit in a pressing procedure elsewhere or go home earlier, to offset the busier day recent or in the future. We’ll stop for a brew first, of course.

• Won’t you get grumpy if you all arrive and there’s not very much work to do?

No. We’ll all go for a dog walk and ask you where’s best to go for lunch. You’ll be grumpier than we will be, as we go off for a lovely gentle day. Nobody mention the ‘quiet’ word though…