Saturday, August 6, 2011

Help with veterinary treatment

After spending all morning on reception at our clinic, I was less than delighted to see someone from London had posted a complaint on the branch Facebook page about the level of service the RSPCA provides to pet owners who can't afford to pay out of hours fees at a private vet.

Unfortunately this is just one aspect of a vicious circle in which we can't raise enough funds to do everything members of the public think we should, which leads to bad publicity and in turn to less funds and more situations where we can't help.

We run the only low-cost animal clinic in the whole of Cambridgeshire, and if we go under something like 2% of the local population will have no source of affordable veterinary help at all. It's absolutely imperative that we persuade more people who care about animals that the RSPCA can't function unless they get involved and help keep our services running.

Part of the problem is that we are dealing with a lot of people who are having difficulty finding relatively small amounts of money. On the whole, someone facing a £2,000 veterinary bill will understand that it's not possible for the RSPCA to cover it. Someone whose animal needs £100 worth of treatment can't understand why an organisation with a £250,000 turnover can't pay for it all, and, indeed, if there was just one person in that situation there would be no problem.

What is completely impossible is finding that hundred pounds every day of the week in addition to carrying on the normal clinic service for registered patients.

It's not as straightforward as saying that people shouldn't have pets unless they are prepared to pay for them, because at the point where they need a vet it's not a choice of keeping the pet or having it rehomed, but keeping it or having it put to sleep. Plus, of course, if everyone who would struggle to pay a £100 vet bill asked us to rehome their pet immediately, we couldn't possibly do that either.


  1. This was never about money, this was about not being informed of my options. It took 4 hours by which time the price was bumped up to £90. I spoke to the vets and they said it would have cost around £40 to have her checked out. I was able to sort this money within a couple of hours of me calling you but by then it was too late. If i had been able to come to cambridge i would have given you the same money!!! I even would have paid some more when i could as i just started a new job after being ill for two years myself. Hence me not having much at the moment. I had plenty of money when i took our cat in and had her speyed and given jabs. I dont expect something for nothing, i just expect that when i call i get the right information but the lady i spoke to seemed to panic and not know what to do. She sounded like a lovely lady and wasn't horrible or anything. But at the end of the day my main concern was my cat. It was an unnecessary delay which could have been avoided. I was not by any means trying to be ungrateful nor was i interested in the ''polotics'' of bad publicity. The whole point here is being missed amongst all these monetary figures........''my poorly cat''......and giving me the correct straight forward info i needed to make the right decision. How am i giving you bad publicity? I was just stating a fact!!! I now feel i cannot use the RSPCA. I'd rather sell my car and go to a vet. I didn't ask to be ill and be in this position where i cant pay for a vet. I didn't just randomly go and get a cat i couldn't afford to look after. I've gone without food so i can feed my cat. I really feel i'm being blasted for caring about my cat and getting upset with how poorly this was handled. Where is the interest in the pets care? Very sad situation indeed.

  2. To register with the clinic in Cambridge you need to live within the area (roughly a 28 mile radius of Cambridge - see for a map.

    Animals can be registered by bringing them in to the clinic on one of the sessions when it's open - Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, between 8.30 am and 10.30 am. You need to bring your proof of benefit and there is a £10 consultation fee. Registration is maintained by the animal attending the clinic at least once in a 2 year period.

    Once an animal has been registered they can be seen outside normal surgery hours in an emergency.