Many people react with shock at the price of veterinary treatment and, understandably, like to shop around to find the best price. As with many things though, it’s important to be sure that you’re getting a ‘like for like’ quote and if that includes an operation and hospitalisation for your pet, it can be tricky to be sure that’s what you’re getting.
One thing that confuses people is the difference between ‘animal hospital’ and ‘veterinary hospital’.
Many veterinary practices these days offer hospitalisation facilities, with operating theatres and 24-hour emergency cover, but to qualify to use the term ‘veterinary hospital’ a practice has to be a member of the British Veterinary Hospitals Association and/or the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and undergo regular inspections of their premises, equipment, records and staffing.
One of the most important aspects of a Veterinary Hospital is that there are members of staff on the premises 24 hours a day, specifically responsible for the care of any in-patients.
In most veterinary practices, while they may have excellent staff and facilities, there is no-one on the premises after the end of evening surgery or over weekends. This means that there is no-one on the premises to look after any patients that are kept in overnight, so if an animal develops complications (e.g. an i/v drip line has become blocked, a patient has started to vomit or is showing pain), nobody will pick up on this until the next morning.
Your quote may reflect the extra cost of providing 24 hour nursing care, but it is worth checking. To see if your veterinary practice is a registered veterinary hospital, go the British Veterinary Hospitals Association website at www.bvha.org.uk