• The Referral Process | Cave Veterinary Specialists

Arranging a referral

If your pet needs to be referred to us at Cave Vets Specialists, this should be discussed with your veterinary surgeon. They will then contact us on your behalf, and once we have received the referral, we will call you to arrange an appointment. If your pet needs to be seen urgently, your vet will need to telephone us in order to arrange an appointment for you.

Your vet may wish to discuss your pet's case with us by telephone prior to making a decision regarding referral. Often, we will receive any X-rays, scan results and lab reports beforehand. We can supply you with a client information sheet including directions and a map.

What you need to bring with you

Your vet should supply us with a letter of referral giving details of your pet's relevant history and a brief summary of the problem. Your vet may ask you to bring this with you, or they can e-mail, fax or post this to us in advance of the appointment – it is best that you check with your vet regarding the arrangements that have been made in this regard. In the case of emergencies, your vet may send X-rays and other items with you to pass on to us upon arrival.

It is a good idea to have made some brief notes about your pet's history e.g. dates of events and any signs of problems which you may have noticed, as our vet will ask you questions about this during the consultation. It is also worth making a list of your own queries or concerns which you can check at the end of your consultation to make sure that we have addressed them all for you and the vet will be more than happy to discuss these with you.

You should bring any relevant insurance documentation, including a blank claim form. You will also need to bring a means of payment.

Your appointment

We much prefer that the owner (you), rather than a representative such as a friend, neighbour or driver bring your pet to us. This is because we will be asking detailed questions about your pet's history and expecting to deal with the person who has responsibility for decision-making, not only regarding treatment for your pet, but also with respect to financial considerations. If your pet is admitted to the hospital on the day of the appointment, we will also need signed consent for any procedures which have been decided upon. It is very important that you have a full understanding of your pet's condition and what the implications of any proposed investigations and treatment may be. If you have any doubts at any stage, please do not hesitate to ask for clarification.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to enable your pet to be registered before seeing the veterinary surgeon. Complimentary refreshments are available in the waiting area, and our receptionists and veterinary nurses will be pleased to give you any help that you or your pet need on your arrival.

If you are unable to keep your appointment with us in Somerset,or you are held up in traffic, please let the practice know as soon as possible.

We will always endeavour to see your pet at the time of your appointment; this is not always possible, however, due to factors such as the distance many of our clients’ travel, traffic problems and unforeseen emergencies.

If you are at all unsure about what to do regarding your pet's referral to us, please do not hesitate to telephone our reception staff who will be happy to help.


If your pet is staying with us for hospitalisation, surgery or further investigations, you will be asked to pay a deposit of 50% of the upper end of the estimate that the clinician gave you during or prior to your appointment. Please note that our estimates are anticipated costs for treatment, not exact quotes. 

If we are claiming through your insurance on your behalf you will be required to pay the insurance excess, any co-payments and an administration fee prior to investigations or treatment.

Insurance claims

Under normal circumstances, we ask that you pay us at the time of treatment and claim back the funds from the insurance company yourself. You will need to check with your insurance company about your level of cover, any exclusions you may have and what excess you will need to pay. We will do our best to help with this process, but insurance companies often prefer to deal with the policyholder.

Direct claims

Although we do not routinely make direct claims from insurance companies, they can be arranged with certain insurance companies under certain circumstances, provided that you discuss this with us, either prior to your appointment or on your arrival at reception, before your initial consultation with the vet and prior to any investigations or treatment being undertaken. Direct claims cannot be requested at the time of collection of your pet, after treatment has already been given.

Please be aware that direct claims often necessitate quite lengthy preparation, which may delay possible investigations and surgery. A direct claim cannot be made by sending us a claim form after your pet has been seen. In addition, at the time of making the first direct claim, we ask for a down payment of any excess specified on your insurance policy, regardless of whether you believe that this may already have been paid – any overpayment will be promptly refunded.

Any shortfall in the cost of treatment which is not covered by your insurance company will be payable to us by you.