Here is some useful information and frequently asked questions to help you understand more about Bristol Vet Specialists, the process and what we do.

Where is Bristol Vet Specialists?

Our hospital is located at Bristol Vet Specialists, Unit 10, More Plus Central Park, Madison Way, Severn Beach, Bristol, BS35 4ER

Click here to view on map

What is a specialist?

Much in the way doctor may refer you to a consultant in a hospital for a complex condition or procedure outside of their level of expertise, your local primary care vet might suggest that you are referred to a specialist veterinary surgeon. To become a specialist, a vet must focus entirely on their area of specialisation for three to five years, training under an experienced specialist in that field. During this time, they will examine, diagnose and treat a wide range of cases, publish clinical research in this field and prove themselves to be at the forefront of their discipline. The title Veterinary Specialist is awarded as formal recognition of their expertise in their chosen speciality after completing advanced examinations. As well as offering continuing education to other members of the profession, our specialist vets regularly attend scientific meetings in order to keep up-to-date in their specific fields of expertise. Find more information by clicking on this page “Who we are“.

What is a specialist veterinary referral hospital?

A specialist veterinary referral hospital is a facility that provides advanced veterinary care services for animals with complex or challenging conditions that require specialized treatment or diagnostics beyond what a general practitioner can offer. Referral hospitals typically have a team of board-certified specialists in various areas of veterinary medicine, supported by a team of other veterinary staff including qualified vets working towards further qualifications. Find more information by clicking on this page “Who we are“.

What types of conditions do you treat?

Our hospital provides advanced care for a wide range of medical and surgical conditions in animals, including cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, chronic pain management and soft tissue surgery. All of these teams benefit from the expertise of our in-house imaging and anaesthesia consultants to ensure the most accurate diagnostic imaging and optimal care for smooth and safe anaesthetics. Please see our services page for a full list of specialities.

How do I arrange a consultation?

We are a referral-only hospital and require a referral from your local primary care vet before organising an appointment with one of our referral clinicians. This allows us to work in collaboration with your local primary care vet to provide the best possible care for your pet. Your vet will need to complete an online referral form via our website to start the referral process. Our reception staff will then contact you using the information provided and a consultation can be arranged at a mutually convenient time. Please be aware we do not offer routine evening and weekend appointments, but we do provide emergency care and the hospital is staffed with vets and nurses 24 hours a day. You can click here to find more information on what will happen during the consultation.

Will my vet be offended if I ask to be referred?

A referral is not a second opinion. It is the same as asking your doctor if you can see a consultant. Your vet will understand that sometimes an expert is needed to help, and we work with your vet to get the diagnosis and/or treatment that your pet deserves.

What should I expect during my pet's first visit?

During your pet’s first visit, our referral clinician will review your pet’s medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. Depending on the reason for the referral, additional diagnostic tests or imaging studies may be recommended. Our referral clinician will discuss the recommended treatment plan with you and answer any questions you may have before we proceed so that you can have the final decision on what you think is best for your pet. You can click here to find more information on what will happen during the consultation.

How long will I be at the hospital?

We put aside 45-90 minutes for new appointments to ensure we have a complete understanding of your pet’s problem and have time to meet and examine your pet fully before explaining the plan and costs in detail.

How long will my pet be in the hospital?

This is entirely dependent on the problem, for example, most routine heart murmur checks are performed whilst you wait, whereas a surgical patient often has to stay in for a minimum of one night. Our reception staff will be able to give you approximate time scales and help you plan your trip.

The specialist referral practice is a long way away. Will I have to go back many times?

Not necessarily. Your own vet will often perform follow-up tests and your specialist oversees future care. We work with your vet to minimise journey times whilst optimising care for your pet.

Who looks after my pet overnight?

All of our staff are highly trained, and if your pet does have to stay with us overnight, they will be looked after by one of our interns (a qualified vet undergoing the first part of specialist training) and experienced registered veterinary nurses. Our interns can contact the specialists on-call who can provide additional guidance and support when needed.

How much is treatment going to cost?

Treatment costs vary widely between different conditions and therefore providing an accurate estimate prior to seeing a patient can be difficult. For up-to-date consultation fees, please contact reception. During your consultation, the referral clinician will be able to give you an accurate estimate of treatment costs. The ultimate decision remains yours and alternative options will be discussed with you during the consultation. Click here for more information on payments and insurance.

When do I pay for treatment?

We ask that you pay for any treatment at the time you collect your pet unless a direct claim to your pet’s insurance is being processed.

What insurance documents do I need to bring with me?

Please bring along any relevant insurance documentation, including a current policy schedule and a signed claims form. If you are struggling to complete the claims form, our reception staff can help you.

If I have paid the invoice, how do I claim it from my insurance company?

Claim forms can be left with us for completion and sent off to the insurance company. Most forms are completed and submitted within 7 days of receiving them.

Will my insurance company cover the cost of treatment?

You will need to check with your insurance company about your level of cover, any exclusions applied to the policy and what excess you will need to pay. Once we have provided an estimate during the consultation, you will then be able to assess whether the policy will cover the treatment. If your insurance does not cover your insurance claim or there is a shortfall in payment, then you will be expected to settle the balance directly to the hospital.

Does BVS do direct claims?

We will perform direct claims with most insurance companies as long as the policy is confirmed as being active and you have completed all the required paperwork. The insurance companies often need a complete clinical history relating to your pet when assessing your claim so may also need your local primary care vet to provide this. Our reception staff will help you as much as possible with this process.

Can I find out if my insurance company will cover fees prior to treatment?

Yes, most companies will allow a pre-authorisation claim. Our referral clinicians can make an estimate of the anticipated costs and we will then contact your insurance company with details of the diagnosis and planned treatment. The insurance company will then give a decision on whether they will cover part of all of the fees, subject to the terms and conditions of your chosen policy. Not all insurance companies perform pre-authorisation claims, and our reception staff will help you as much as possible with this process.

Is there accommodation near BVS?

If you are travelling a distance to come and see us at BVS and require overnight accommodation, then please see the below options:

Travelodge Bristol Avonmouth
Pet Friendly
Central Park
Goldcrest Way
Bristol BS35 4GH
08719 846580
Website: https://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/686/Bristol-Avonmouth-hotel

Premier Inn, Bristol Cribbs Causeway
Assistance Dogs Only
Catbrain Lane
Bristol BS10 7TQ
0333 777 3958
Website: Bristol Cribbs Causeway (M5 J17) hotel | Premier Inn

Here to help

Whether you are a vet phoning for advice, an owner phoning for an update, or if you have any questions, please get in touch and chat to a member of our team who are here to help you.

Call 01275 838 473

9am to 5pm - Monday to Friday.