Did you know as a veterinary client, you have a right to request a referral if you would like it? Many people don’t realise they do.

Now in order to go to a referral centre, unless things have changed, your veterinary practice needs to refer you, so the history, medical records, results, x-rays,etc and continuity of your pet’s care can be transferred back and forth as needed. As well as courtesy to your own vets it allows the referral vet to see what tests and treatment have already been carried out too. BUT your vet surgery doesn’t have to be the one to decide on a referral, you can request to be referred.

Now naturally, we hope that you are with a vet surgery that you can talk things through with and decide on that together perhaps, or have a good relationship with them in that they also trust your gut instinct about Fluffy when you say that you would like to be referred, but sometimes people are not given that option for whatever reason, and they don’t know it’s available to ask about it, and therefore they feel helpless and powerless in the situation.

In Kent and Surrey, off the top of my head there are several referral centres: Fitzpatricks, VNR, Barton Veterinary Hospital to name a few, and centres like Stone Lion Vet Hospital in Wimbledon, Dick White Referrals in Norfolk, VRCC just over the Dartford Bridge in Essex, RVC Queen Mother Hospital and Davies in/near to Hatfield. And the list will keep on coming. If you think you would like to get a referral, speak to your vet first and foremost, and know you can also search for veterinary specialists close to your location on Google.

I was in the position with my own cat Phoebe where I was told that she was dehydrated, and I do trust this vet very well, but I went with my gut instinct given all the information Phoebe was presenting me with, and got referral advice, and was right to seek it.

Do I bear any grudge to the vet….nope.

Do I think they are crap….nope.

They are a general practice vet surgeon (and some are specialists working in GP) and are amazing at what they do – I just felt that further specialist advice was required as my gut was telling me that the reason given was not the reason she was unwell, before I even walked out the surgery, and I was right to trust it.

But, I have been to that vet surgery many times over with her and she has absolutely been treated appropriately with the right medications, with them actively listening and caring, but for me, that day, I knew she wasn’t right because of her behaviour, symptoms, and the fact she wouldn’t accept energy healing too.

I wanted the best for her, and felt it was therefore right to do what I did. Do I regret that, no. I hope I didn’t offend my vet naturally, because this wasn’t personal, this was about trusting my gut, and getting further advice on that for Phoebs.

And it was the right thing to do. She was suffering with a urinary tract infection (like she had had before, and was exhibiting the same symptoms). The referral vet also diagnosed that she was suffering with age related cognitive deficit (which was creating the confusion and upset when she had let her urine go on my bed and didn’t know she had) and kidney failure which was also a major contributing factor as well, and that condition was only going to get worse, not better.

After a detailed discussion with this vet, it led me to make that big decision that we all dread a short while after. But seeking further advice allowed me to know fully what was going on, get medications, assess her quality of life and what she would want given her upset at toileting on the bed and herself, and although it was the hardest decision you ever have to make regarding them, I made it, steadfast in the knowledge that it was the right action to take for her, with the least suffering possible, and a little time to say goodbye and thank her for everything she brought to my life.

So, just like human medicine, sometimes veterinary referrals are needed. Speak with your vet, build a relationship with your vet if you can, so that if you need to discuss something like that, you feel able to. Both of you have a common goal: maintaining the welfare and health of your pet.