What to Expect
Who have I been referred to?
Veterinary Specialists Scotland is a multi-disciplinary referral hospital which opened in October 2020. We have created a state-of-the-art facility and assembled a team of highly motivated Specialists, Fellows, nurses and support colleagues, to deliver the best possible clinical care to pets from all over Scotland and Northern England.
A Specialist is the equivalent of a Consultant in human medicine. Our Specialists have all undergone several years of additional training in their area of expertise and have achieved internationally recognised qualifications. A Fellow is someone who has successfully completed a Specialist training programme but has not yet completed the final rigorous examination process. Each of our services is headed by either a Specialist or a Fellow and our team approach means your pet will benefit from the input of multiple Specialists if required. Many of our Veterinary Nurses have obtained advanced nursing qualifications which allows us to provide all-round excellence in care. Find out more about our team.
Working Together with your Primary Care Vet
Referral appointments can only be made by the Veterinary Surgeon who provides the primary care for your pet. We are unable to accept direct requests from owners. As part of the referral process, your vet will send us clinical history and background information, all of which is essential to help us provide the best possible care for your pet and to prevent any duplication of tests or investigations. Most of this information will be sent directly to us before your appointment but there may be occasions where your vet could ask you to bring information with you for your appointment.
Where possible, we aim to return your pet to the care of your usual vet and will work in partnership with them to help provide the ongoing care for your pet.
Preparing for the Appointment
Before your appointment we may send you questionnaires and/or forms to fill in. If you do receive this, then it would be ideal if you can send them back into us as early as possible or bring to the appointment with you.
- Feed your pet as normal until 10pm on the evening before the appointment. If your pet arrives with an empty stomach, we are able to perform certain blood tests or procedures straight away. However, if your pet is less than 6 months old, please get in touch with us because we may advise differently
- There is no need to remove your pet’s water bowl, and they can be allowed free access to water until they arrive at our clinic
- Dogs should be allowed to toilet before travelling to the hospital. If you think a urine or faecal sample is likely to be required, your referring vet may be able to provide you with appropriate sample pots
- Cats can have access to litter trays until they leave to travel to the hospital
- Please see our website for further advice on transporting cats
- Please bring any medication that your pet is currently receiving to the appointment with you
- If your pet is diabetic, then please phone for advice regarding timing of medication, as we may alter these depending on the procedure your pet is likely to undergo
During the appointment, we will ask you some more detailed questions about your pet’s problem. A physical examination will also be performed. This will guide us as to what further investigations are required in order to reach a diagnosis, or before surgery is performed. The costs of diagnostic tests and treatment options will be discussed at this stage, and you do not need to proceed beyond the consultation if you do not wish to. Although it is possible to give approximate estimates for costs based on notes from your referring vet, sometimes these can change once more information is gained from taking a more in-depth history and examining your pet.
As explained above, most pets are likely to be admitted either for further investigation, treatment or both. Patients with quite complex problems may require admission for a number of days whereas some may be admitted as a day patient. Where surgery is required, we usually aim to perform this as soon as a diagnosis has been made, but we can arrange to schedule it for a different time if it is more convenient and your pet’s condition is not urgent. In some instances, your own vet may be happy to undertake the treatment, once we have made the diagnosis.
Where animals are admitted to the hospital, you will be asked to sign a consent form, giving us permission to carry out the procedures discussed and agreeing to the estimated costs.
Please see our Payment page for details relating to payment and for guidance about pet health insurance claims.
We know that being separated from your pet while they are in the hospital can be a difficult time for you as an owner. While your pet is in our care, we will update you about their progress on a daily basis and more frequently if they are undergoing tests or procedures with us. Your update may come from the vet in charge of your pet, a nurse, or a member of the out-of-hours team depending on what needs to be discussed.
At the weekend, updates will be at variable times because caring for the inpatients is our priority. We know you will be keen to hear from us about your pet, but please wait for our call, rather than phoning in to the hospital.
Patient Care in our Wards
Once admitted, patients are housed in their own kennel within a ward. Dogs are exercised outside several times daily. Cats are housed in a separate ward from dogs, with adequate space for bedding, litter trays and feeding bowls. We stock a variety of cat litters so that we can use one that your cat is used to.
Our strict infection control policy means you will not normally be able to leave personal items with your pet. These may be left at our discretion in exceptional circumstances but will be subject to our infection control guidelines and we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss or damage.
Whilst your pet is in our care, an easily digestible complete food will be fed to them. If your pet is a fussy eater and is used to one particular food, it may be advisable to bring some of their usual food with you, especially if they are going to be admitted.
Raw Feeding - While we acknowledge that some pets referred to us will be on a raw diet, hospital policy is that we will not feed this. This is because of the health risk to our team of handling uncooked meat in relation to Salmonella, E.coli, TB and Cryptosporidium and the health risk of transfer of these pathogens to other debilitated (or even healthy) patients. We will feed home-cooked meat if you wish to prepare some to bring with you.
For health and safety reasons, and to minimise the risk of infectious disease transmission, we hope that you will understand that patient visits can only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.
We understand that your pet being away from home and the family environment can be stressful for both you and them. While your pet is the hospital, they will have human company for a significant portion of the day and will be taken for regular walks and given lots of attention. We will do our utmost to ensure your pet is treated and discharged back home to you as soon as possible.
When your pet is ready to go home, a discharge appointment will be arranged. Our nurse or vet will go through test results, medications and written discharge instructions to ensure you fully understand the plan. A copy of the discharge instructions will be sent to your vet followed by a more detailed letter about your pet’s treatment in the hospital. Should you need to see your vet shortly after discharge from the hospital, we recommend you take the discharge information with you, just in case there has been a glitch in sending or receiving the information.
Follow-up appointments may be required either with your own vet or at Veterinary Specialists Scotland. In some cases, our follow-up may be managed by telephone consultation. Where this is required, we will schedule an appointment time with one of our vets to ensure they are readily available. Please be aware there will be further charges for follow-up appointments on site or for scheduled phone calls.
Our Client Care team is available between 8.30 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday and 8.30 am to 12.00 noon on Saturday. We have on-site vets, nurses and clinical support staff at all times but their priority is the care of our hospitalised patients. We request that you contact our Client Care Team during office hours for any non-urgent matters and any after-hours queries are for urgent or emergency situations only.
- Excellent on-site car parking
- Disabled parking bays outside the clinic
- Emergency parking spaces close to the main entrance
- Wheelchair accessible client areas- waiting areas, reception, consulting rooms, WC
- Induction loops fitted at Reception
- Baby changing facilities
Within a few hundred yards of the hospital there is access to hotel accommodation, restaurant, petrol station and a small Marks and Spencer food store.