July 13, 2024

Pet Basics: What Is a Referral Hospital?

What is an animal referral center? Like in human medicine, a family physician may recommend you consult a cardiologist for heart issues. The veterinary field consists of several fields of specialization. It includes critical care, toxicology, behavior, cardiologists, internists, dentists, surgeons, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, and oncologists. Consult your family vet to find out more or for a suggestion. If you don’t have a family veterinarian, you can search online for one and provide your own referral.

How does referral work?

If your regular veterinarian determines they lack the resources or skill required to treat your pet, they will refer you to another veterinarian. Another option is for the owner to initiate the referral procedure if they want their pet’s care provided by a vet with more expertise. The first-opinion veterinarian often gets in touch with us to begin the referral process and then electronically provides the case notes, X-rays, and other materials. You may visit their home page here if you’re looking for reliable facilities.

What should I bring with me?

Bring any prescription drugs your pet takes and any letters, clinical backgrounds, test results, or X-rays the veterinarian may have provided you. Bring a copy of the insurance claim form signed and completed by the insurance holder and the original full insurance policy if your pet is covered. If your pet isn’t covered by insurance, please bring cash with you; this is needed during the consultation.

What happens once I get there?

Before beginning any treatment, the referral clinician will assess your pet, review any primary care provided by your veterinarian, explain the recommended tests, and provide you with a quote for the expected expenses. If your pet has to undergo pet surgery, therapy, or diagnostic procedures as an inpatient, the referral clinician may suggest this. Depending on your schedule, this might be done now or tomorrow.

What will happen if my pet is admitted for examinations?

Suppose your pet has to be admitted for an extended duration. In that case, you will receive regular updates on their development in addition to information on the ongoing costs of their care. The referral clinician will create a treatment plan for your pet after discussing any test findings or surgical possibilities with you. The referral veterinarian will discuss your pet’s treatment with you and let you know if any more examinations, check-ups, or prescriptions from an animal pharmacy are needed.

What happens next after referral?

Following treatment, the specialist returns the animal to your veterinarian for any additional care that may be necessary. They use specialized tools and capabilities to ensure your pet receives specialized care. The referral clinician will ensure that your pet’s regular veterinarian is notified of the treatment approach, any pertinent clinical data, and specifics of the drugs your pet has been prescribed.


While giving your patients the best care possible, working with a referral veterinarian can help you save time and money. Referral veterinarians can dedicate their attention to specialized areas of veterinary medicine and surgery, but most general practitioners need more time or resources. Referral veterinary clinics also provide your pet access to diagnostic tools that might otherwise be unavailable in your family vet’s clinic.