Kitten with a vet

It's normally a good idea to get pet insurance.

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How to find a vet near me

By Dr Hester Mulhall MA, VetMB, MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

Whether it's for a regular consulation or an emergency, your best bet is to find a vet that's near to you. Here's how.

Are you wondering how to find a vets that is local to you? The RCVS ‘find a vet’ feature allows you to search for a practice by postcode. It is worth registering your pet with a vets close by.

In the case of an emergency, you should contact your usual practice unless you are travelling elsewhere in the country. If an emergency arises when you are away from home, you can contact any nearby vet clinic.

How do I find a vet practice that is open now?

You should be able to find opening hours and client reviews on the practice website or elsewhere online, but you can also phone and ask your practice what times they are open. Many vet practices are open during the week until early evening, as well as on a Saturday morning. Some practices also offer Sunday consultations, but this is less common.

If you have an emergency outside of practice hours, you should contact the team providing emergency veterinary cover. Phone the usual telephone number for the practice and this will either divert to the emergency line or provide you with contact details.

How much is a vet visit?

The cost of a vet consultation in the UK varies between practices. You can ask the practice for routine consultation fees or for an estimate, if treatment or surgery has been recommended.

Do vets offer payment plans?

Some vets will offer payment plans, but they are not obligated to do so. Vet practices incur lots of costs when they provide treatment, including the cost of equipment, medications and surgical tools. Some practices do not offer payment plans because that would mean shouldering all of these initial costs themselves while waiting for payment instalments.

What happens if I can't pay my vet bill?

If you are unable to pay your vet bill for any reason, you should speak to the practice as soon as possible. This is also true if there are financial constraints affecting your ability to opt for a recommended treatment. The vet will be able to advise you whether there are any charity-funded clinics in your local area that might be able to help by offering low-cost services.

Are animal hospitals more expensive than vets?

A veterinary hospital usually has higher fees than a general practice vet. This will help to cover costs such as more specialist diagnostic tools or surgical equipment. If your pet needs to visit a veterinary hospital, or a referral centre, this might be covered by their pet insurance. You should check what is covered with your policy provider.

Why do vets charge a consultation fee?

Vets have a lot of expertise and skills from many years of study and work, and your pet is benefitting from these during a consult. The time and advice of a vet is valuable to your pet’s health. The fee will also include factors that are necessary to keep the practice running and open to provide consultations. These include rent for premises, use of equipment, keeping the practice clean and providing support staff, as well as the cost of any medication or treatment that your pet needs.

How much is an average vet bill?

This will depend on whether your pet needs a routine appointment or if they require treatment or surgery. There's not really such a thing as an average vet bill, but you can always ask a vet for an estimate.

Why do emergency vets cost more?

The cost of providing an out-of-hours service is higher for many reasons. Emergency vets are working antisocial hours in order to provide this service for your pet. An out-of-hours a vet will see many fewer cases than they would during the same period of time during the day. This means that the cost of keeping the service running (including equipment and staffing) are spread out over fewer patients. Therefore, the cost per patient must be higher in order for it to be viable for the vets to offer the service.

The average pet seen out of hours is generally more unwell than those seen during the day. This means that they are likely to require diagnostics, treatment and hospitalisation, all of which incur costs.

Can vets charge for writing a prescription?

Yes, a vet can indeed charge for a written prescription because this takes time away from them consulting or performing surgeries with other pets.

Is pet insurance worth the cost?

The advice is generally to insure your pet, as their health is unpredictable and you never know when you might have to pay for treatment or what it will cost. Pet insurance can help to cover veterinary fees, although you should always check with your policy provider whether there are any exclusions. You do not have to insure your pet, but if you chose not to, you should make sure you have a contingency plan in place. You are legally obliged to seek veterinary advice, if your pet is in pain or suffering, and it is already stressful enough when your pet is unwell without the added worries about paying for their care.

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