Referred Clients

Information for Your Visit

My pet has been referred to the Hospital for Small Animals

referred patients - vet with cat

You and your pet have been referred to us by your own vet because we have world-leading knowledge, facilities, skills and expertise to provide your pet with the best possible diagnostic investigations, treatment and care. As animal lovers, we understand that it can be a very stressful time when a pet is ill, especially coming to an unfamiliar environment, so we aim to make your experience with us as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

We offer referral services in:

  • Canine Medicine
  • Feline Medicine
  • Cardiopulmonary Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Dermatology
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Soft Tissue Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Exotic Animals
  • Behaviour

More details can be found at

If you still have unanswered questions after reading this, please call our reception team who will endeavour to help you.

Appointment Preparation

Please do not feed your pet after midnight on the night before your appointment. This does not apply to diabetic patients, very young puppies and kittens, or other patients where such restrictions could cause distress. If you have been referred to the Rabbit and Exotics service it is unlikely you need to withhold food, if unsure please call for advice. Do not withhold water.

If your pet is currently on any medication, please give them as usual (unless you have been instructed otherwise) and bring them with you. If in doubt about feeding and medicating your pet before a visit, please feel free to phone us for advice.

Your pet’s appointment

The appointment you have been given is with one of our specialist services in the Hospital for Small Animals. We will collect a detailed history and carry out a physical examination of your pet. The appointment will last approximately 30 to 60 minutes depending on the complexity of the case. Possible investigation and treatment options will then be discussed. Once you have decided how you wish to proceed we will ask you to sign a consent form for treatment, along with a written estimate of costs for the initial investigation and/or treatment of your pet.

Please arrive in good time as the clinics are often fully booked. If you are delayed, please contact us to advise us of your likely arrival time.

Be prepared for your pet to be admitted to the hospital for diagnostic investigation or treatment. Some patients may be discharged later the same day but others will remain with us for a few days for further investigation and procedures. If you require local accommodation, please visit (search under Midlothian) or call them on 0845 22 55 121.

Revisit appointments will be similar to the initial appointment. Please feel free to ask our staff if a proposed revisit appointment requires your pet to be admitted to the hospital and how long the length of stay in the hospital is likely to be.

Referral fees

Your own referring veterinary surgeon should provide you with an indication of likely costs for the referral. We will happily provide a written estimate as to the probable costs of a course of treatment. Please bear in mind that any estimate given can only be approximate – often a pet’s illness will not follow a conventional course. You should discuss the cost of ongoing treatment with your clinician.

Referred cases are, by their nature, more complex and costs can be more variable. The initial estimate will relate to costs relating to that visit and initial treatment. Please note that there will be additional charges for further revisit examinations and treatments.

If your pet is insured please bring an insurance claim form to your appointment with the relevant sections completed and signed. Payment of your policy excess is required on the day of your consultation; please check your policy to see what this amount is. You are also strongly advised to contact your insurance company to ensure the policy covers the condition for which your pet has been referred and that you are fully aware of your policy limit for veterinary fees and exclusions. The hospital normally deals directly with theinsurance company, so that payment in advance is not normally required where treatment is covered.

Can I visit my pet in the hospital?

We understand it is a worrying time when a pet is hospitalised and it is a natural reaction to want to visit your pet. However, many pets settle better with us if they don’t undergo repeated parting from their owner. Consequently it is hospital policy not to allow routine

visits except in exceptional circumstances. You can be reassured that our team of veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and animal care assistants are committed to ensuring your pet is comfortable and well cared for while staying in the hospital.

How do I hear about my pet’s progress if he/she is hospitalised?

Please be reassured that we will keep you well informed about what is happening to your pet. You will have regular telephone updates. Appointments to discuss progress or further treatments may be arranged if necessary. We will also discuss costs which may arise in excess of the estimate. Please remember that our clinicians are caring for several other patients, some of which may be critically ill, so there may be a delay before we can make contact. Please be patient under these circumstances.

What happens to my pet overnight?

As a veterinary hospital, we have veterinary nurses and veterinary surgeons on site 24 hours a day. Your pet will receive excellent care and attention appropriate for his or her condition up to and including round the clock care in our intensive care unit.

Can I leave my pet’s blanket or toy?

It can be comforting for some pets to have something from home. However, we generally don’t take in items as we can’t leave them with your pet all the time – all bedding and other items are replaced, cleaned and disinfected daily as part of our rigorous infection control measures. In addition, any items that are left for your pet are at your own risk, as we cannot be held responsible for the loss, damage or soiling of any personal item left with us.

referred patients - boy with dog

“A huge thanks to everyone for all their loving care for Rosie. We are very lucky to have such an amazing facility close to us, staffed by such dedicated people.”

Jack and Anne Keddie

In some cases, such items have to be destroyed rather than be allowed back out of the hospital (usually due to risk of infection).

What happens if my pet needs other specialist services?

The hospital has specialists in a wide range of medical, surgical, anaesthesia, imaging and other disciplines. If your pet has a complex problem or condition and needs the involvement of other services, our team will work together to provide the best possible outcome for your pet.

What happens when my pet has left the hospital?

We aim to return your pet to the care of your own veterinary surgeon as soon as possible, but some conditions may require ongoing specialist attention and treatment at the hospital. All revisits are by prior appointment with the appropriate service. We will inform your veterinary surgeon of the outcome of any attendance at the hospital and will advise them on relevant care and support. You and your vet are welcome to contact the hospital if you have any questions or concerns about your pet at any point.

Teaching the veterinary surgeons of the future

The R(D)SVS is proud of our award-winning, progressive teaching. The School’s outstanding hospital and teaching facilities provide an excellent environment for future veterinary surgeons to develop practical and clinical skills. As part of our teaching commitment, it is highly likely that students will be present at the referral consultation and will assist with the care of your pet during any stay at the hospital. The majority of students are in their final year and will soon be fully qualified veterinary surgeons, and this clinical training is a vital part of their education. However, please be reassured that students are fully supervised at all times.

What research is carried out by the hospital?

Our veterinary surgeons are recognised national and international experts in the field of veterinary science. In addition to providing specialist clinical services, these clinicians are carrying out research programmes to advance our understanding of animal diseases to enable us to help future patients, other animals and even humans. All of our studies require ethical approval through a very stringent process.

We will seek your consent to allow us to retain surplus samples which would traditionally be discarded (blood, surgically resected tissue etc). In addition, we may on occasions ask if you are willing for your pet to be part of a clinical study and we will explain to you what would be involved – it might be trying a new medicine or investigating a new diagnostic test. Please be assured that if you decline we will fully respect your decision. This decision will not affect ongoing or future care in any way – the care and welfare of your pet is our primary concern at all times.


As a specialist referral hospital, offering enhanced levels of knowledge and experience, we need up-to-date equipment to provide the best possible treatment for your pet.

In order to stay at the forefront of animal care we rely on the donations from grateful owners to achieve this. If you would like to find out how a gift to the Dick Vet Hospitals would help us, please contact our fundraising colleague on 0131 650 9221.

Sandra Chilton

Development Officer

  • Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
  • Easter Bush Campus

Contact details


Post Code
EH25 9RG

On-site facilities

Free of charge client parking, including disabled bays, are located immediately to the front of the hospital. This is generally sufficient but, if necessary, additional parking is available to the left hand side of the hospital (as you face it) via a separate entrance. If you need help to get your pet from your vehicle into the hospital please inform reception on your arrival.

We have a hot drinks dispenser in our waiting room. A cafeteria selling hot food and snacks is available in the nearby Veterinary Teaching Building. Toilet facilities, including disabled toilets, are available in both sites. Baby-changing facilities are available in

the hospital.

You are very welcome to visit the Dick Vet Hospital Garden situated between the Veterinary Teaching Building and the Hospital for Small Animals.

There is a variety of shopping and leisure options close to the hospital, and the city of Edinburgh is only a short drive or bus ride away. Bus timetables are available in reception, and our staff can help with any questions.