Your pet’s journey

We know how concerning it can be when your pet is unwell. At our hospital, we strive to provide you with the information and support you need during this stressful time.

What to expect when visiting us

To make your visit to us as relaxed as possible, we have detailed below everything you need to know to prepare for your pet’s appointment and to understand what to expect before you arrive.

Your pet’s appointment will be held at our new state-of-the-art hospital just outside of Bristol, and you can find directions to our facility here.

Your pet’s preparation

We advise that all patients are starved from 10pm the night before their appointment, unless specifically advised otherwise, but they can have access to water at all times. There may be some individual cases where we will advise differently and we will make you aware of this at the time of booking your appointment.

The reason for withholding food is that having food in the system can sometimes affect the results of blood tests. Additionally, having food in the stomach can cause delays to investigations if your pet needs to be sedated or anaesthetised, as food in the stomach can increase the risk of anaesthesia complications such as regurgitation, which can lead to pneumonia (lung infection).

Minimize risks

To minimize these risks, we recommend only performing sedation and anaesthesia in starved animals, except in emergency cases. However, we understand that certain pets, such as those with diabetes mellitus, or young puppies or kittens, may require special considerations. If you have any concerns about your pet’s fasting requirements, please speak to your vet ahead of the appointment for more advice, or contact our reception team.

In addition to fasting, access to drinking water is always encouraged, as staying hydrated is important for your pet’s overall health and wellbeing. By following these guidelines, we can ensure that your pet receives the safest and most effective care during their appointment.


The length of the consultation may vary from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the nature and complexity of the problem, and whether this is an initial consultation or a recheck; dermatology appointments may last up to 90 minutes.

The referral clinician will have assessed your pet’s history and prior test results performed at your local primary care vets before the consultation, as this information will have been sent to us by your vet at the time of arranging the referral.

During the consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your pet’s health concerns and medical history with the referral clinician.

The referral clinician will perform a physical examination of your pet and, in some instances, ask you to walk your dog to assess the issue.

Based on the examination, the referral clinician will then discuss with you a diagnostic plan to investigate your pet’s issues, and a treatment plan. Suggested investigations can include blood and urine tests, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) and ultrasound scans, among others. Please note that tests are not mandatory after the consultation, and the decision to proceed with any procedure or test will be yours to make. An estimate of the costs will be provided, and you will have the opportunity to discuss different alternatives with the referral clinician.

Once you have agreed on a diagnostic and treatment plan, you will be asked to read through and sign a consent form.

The referral clinician will provide you with an estimate of the time required to perform the tests on your pet.

We will contact you once the tests are done, or with any updates, and arrange for the discharge of your pet back to you.

We always try to keep the duration of procedures, and your pet’s stay in hospital, as short as possible; however, please note that emergency cases may take priority and, in some cases, your pet may need to stay with us for the entire day. We hope you understand.

While you wait, we offer tea and coffee facilities, Wi-Fi access, and restrooms, including disabled toilets. Alternatively, we have a list of nearby attractions to help you make the most of your time until collection of your pet. We strive to provide a comfortable and informative experience for you and your pet during your visit to our hospital.


We will provide an estimate of the approximate costs involved to the best of our ability. However, please note that as the level of care and treatment required is individual to each patient, it may change as the procedures progress. In the event that the total costs may exceed the initial estimate, we will keep you informed and updated throughout the process.

Please rest assured that our goal is to stay within the estimate and ensure that there are no surprises when it comes to your pet’s care.

Consent forms

We will require you to sign a consent form at the end of the consultation to enable us to carry out any tests, surgery or treatment for your pet. The referral clinician will discuss this in detail with you during your appointment. All the consent forms will include an estimate of the costs. On rare occasions, the estimate may be exceeded if emergency or additional procedures are required, but if this is the case it will be discussed with you in detail beforehand and you will be regularly updated on your pet’s bill while they are hospitalised with us.


Once your pet is discharged from the hospital, you will be given a plan for its ongoing management and care. Your local primary care vet will also receive a detailed report about the treatment your pet has received and follow-up plan. Some patients may need regular follow-up with us; in other cases, your pet’s care may be continued at your local primary care vet. Either way, we endeavor to provide ongoing support to help manage your pet’s illness where possible.

Here to Help

If you have any questions or concerns about payments or invoicing, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you navigate the process and ensure that your pet receives the best possible care.

Bristol Vet Specialists has a dedicated insurance department to help with your claims and queries if required. The insurance team can be contacted Monday to Friday, between 9am to 5pm, on 01275 838473.

Call 01275 838473

9am to 5pm - Monday to Friday.