Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hello 2009!

Hopefully not starting as it means to go on, with a 6.30 am call from the 24 hour vet to say they'd been phoned by one of the clients registered with our clinic, whose 16 year old dog was suddenly showing alarming symptoms of some kind of generalised allergic reaction.

The owners were evidently in such a panic that they'd forgotten how to make contact with us outside normal hours, by phoning the number given on their registration card. Instead they'd phoned the National Control Centre, who'd naturally said that our clinic is closed on Bank holidays. They'd then phoned the 24 hour vet and been horrified to find that the consultation charge alone for 6.30 on a holiday morning is £130.

Fortunately the receptionist at Vet24 was on the ball (one of the advantages of running on a shift system is that that staff are awake and in their right minds at peculiar times of day) and thought to contact me, so I was able to get them into our own out of hours cover via the University vet school, which is still reasonably expensive at that time of day, but nothing like £130.

I can't reiterate enough. If you are very strapped for cash it is more vital than ever that you make sure you understand how your own vet's out of hours cover works. If an animal is off-colour just before a holiday, don't hope for the best; get it checked out while the surgery is still running on normal charging rates. If you can't afford a private vet because you are on benefits, get your animal registered with the PDSA, Blue Cross or RSPCA before something happens.

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