Referral Information for Pet Owners

Pets are referred from their own veterinary surgeon usually by either a telephone call between your local surgery and NOAH, or via this website. Pets that need specialist attention are referred to us much the same as your GP would refer you to see a consultant for very specific treatments. In the overall view of cases seen in the country the number that need referral is probably quite small and the local veterinary surgeon can deal with many cases themselves. They would recognise the pet that would need more specialised treatment and for the animals sake would refer then to have further work carried out. Needless to say the pets that are referred usually have complex problems.

The local veterinary surgeon that refers your pet will need to be kept fully informed of all the treatments and operations as they will be involved in the postoperative care. As each pet can have a different level of priority of operation we will admit cases on a short or emergency basis. For this reason, for urgent cases such as fractures or spinal cases there will be no waiting time for appointments. Cases will be admitted and operated on as soon as possible working from a priority care list for each day. This streamlining of cases ensures that your pet is treated in the fastest way possible.

Before your pet undergoes surgery, ask the questions they can't. As in human medicine, there are many surgeries animals undergo that would benefit from the attention of a specialist. Your pet depends on you to find a veterinarian with sufficient experience and training to perform that surgery. To help you and your pet, there is a network of veterinary surgical specialists ready to provide the special surgical care your pet needs. These specialists are the board-certified members of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS) and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). If your pet needs surgery that is more than 'routine', be sure to ask your veterinarian the following questions:

  • How often does the veterinarian perform this type of surgery?
  • Does the surgery require special equipment? Is it available?
  • Does my pet's surgery require a specialist?
  • What should I expect the outcome of the surgery to be?
  • What follow-up care is necessary?

What is a Board Certified Surgeon?

The term "ECVS Diplomate" or RCVS Specialist refers to a veterinarian who has been board certified in veterinary surgery. Only veterinarians who have successfully completed the certification requirements of the ECVS are Diplomates of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and/or the RCVS and have earned the right to be called specialists in veterinary surgery.

Veterinarians wishing to become board certified must complete a three-year residency program, meet specific training and caseload requirements, perform research and have their research published. This process is supervised by current ECVS Diplomates and RCVS specialists, ensuring consistency in training and adherence to high standards. Once the residency has been completed, the resident must sit for and pass a rigorous examination. Only then does the veterinarian earn the title of ECVS Diplomate or RCVS specialist.

How do I find the right specialist?

No matter what orthopaedic surgery your pet needs, the most important factor in its success is the surgeon you choose. Although there's no magic number (of years or procedures) that defines "experience", you should feel comfortable that the surgeon you choose is well versed and up-to-date in the procedure you're considering. You should ask the surgeons you are considering if they perform the procedure frequently or only occasionally, and when they last performed that procedure. If you needed lumbar back surgery for yourself, you probably wouldn't choose a surgeon proficient at removing gallbladders. Similarly, you should seek a surgeon for your pet who is an expert in the particular type of surgery being considered.

Do I need a referral from my vet?

At NOAH, referrals are required.  Sometimes clients are referred to us by a trusted friend or colleague. Nevertheless, it is important that your primary veterinary practitioner is kept informed.  NOAH will communicate directly with the primary care veterinarian and provide a complete written report regarding the care and management of your pet.

My pet is going into surgery, what do I need to know?

It is important that your pet fasts from solid food from 9pm the previous night of the appointed surgery. This means no food but they should have free access to water at all times, unless otherwise advised by the vet.

Our clinic is open from 8:30am Monday-Saturday. Your pet should be admitted to NOAH before 9am on the day of surgery unless otherwise advised by our support staff.

After your pet has undergone surgery and is discharged your job during the recovery period at home is just as important as the surgery. Expect your pet to be drowsy with poor balance after surgery and anaesthesia. Do not allow the dog to jump in an out of the car. Sudden movements can damage the dog’s stitches and cause serious pain.

Your pet will be given pain relief during their time in the clinic and normally you will receive pain relief tablets to administer to your pet at home.

Every pet discharged from the our clinics receives detailed instructions about wound management, home care of your pet, at-home physical therapy (if required), exercise restrictions and time lines for recovery. These recommendations are based on the type of surgery your pet has received and individualized for each patient. If you are unsure about any details of post-operative care, please ask for clarification prior to leaving the clinic.

Following surgery, should you have any immediate concerns about your pet's progress/well-being, we recommend you initially contact your local vet directly for assistance (the vet that initially referred you to NOAH). Your vet will NOAH if additional information or intervention is required.