Protecting our service

Our vets and vet nurses want nothing more than to welcome pet owners back into our clinics. But in order to keep you, your pet and our teams safe we are, for now, continuing to ask you to wait outside.

Since this awful pandemic began, pet ownership in the UK has soared by almost 50%. This has put unprecedented pressure on vet practices and there simply isn’t enough vets and vet nurses to meet the rise in demand.

As such, it’s vitally important we do everything we can to protect our staff from being exposed to covid. If one person inadvertently enters a clinic with asymptomatic covid, it could cause our entire team to be exposed. We are therefore continuing to admit most patients into the clinic for assessment without their owners.

We are truly sorry for the challenges this policy is causing and appreciate how incredibly difficult it is to be unable to comfort your pet in their hour of need.  But we hope you understand our reasons for taking such a difficult decision.

Please visit our covid hub for more information.

What happens now?

Now that you’ve called the clinic to let them know you’ve arrived, your visit will usually follow these steps:

1. Waiting

We ask that you wait in your car with your pet. Like A&E, the most serious emergencies will be seen first. If you need to speak to us, please call the clinic and select option 2.

2. Triage

A member of our team will come and take your pet into the clinic, where your pets’ vital parameters will be assessed (triaged) by one of our team. During busy periods there may be a further wait after your pet is triaged before a member of our team calls you as patients are prioritised in order of urgency.

3. Discuss treatment

One of our vets will call you to discuss the initial assessment and talk you through the options available to you. We can then decide on the next steps together.

4. Treatment

Our team will go ahead with the treatment you and the vet have agreed on.

How we're here for you

At Vets Now, our purpose is to give you and your pet the care and support you deserve, at the time you need it most, whether it’s four in the morning or in the middle of Sunday lunch.

Our pet emergency clinics are the pet equivalent of A&E. We work in partnership with more than 1500 daytime vets so that when they’re closed at night, on weekends and bank holidays, pets can still receive the care they need.

A few facts

We treat around 170,000 pet emergencies every year

Our clinicians are specially trained in emergency & critical care

We have been saving pets' lives for almost 20 years

Frequently asked questions

We’ve tried to answer any questions you might have below:

Can I go into the building at any point?

Due to COVID restrictions, we are not currently inviting clients into the clinics. This is to keep you and our teams safe so that we can continue to care for the pets that need us. In exceptional circumstances, such as end of life care, we may be able to allow one client to come into the clinic in order to say goodbye. This is based on a risk assessment by the team on site. We promise you that our teams are working tirelessly to provide the best care they can during these challenging times, so we ask you to work with them and respect their decisions.

Why are other clients being seen before me?

We operate a triage system, which means the more sick and unwell patients will be seen first, just as you would see if you were visiting a human A&E unit.

How long will I have to wait?

Our highly trained emergency teams are smaller than your daytime vets and manage unpredictable caseloads, especially at weekends. Similar to human A&E, this can lead to variable waiting times as we prioritise the pets requiring more urgent care. If you are at all concerned about your pet’s condition whilst you are waiting, please do not hesitate to contact the team immediately.

My pet doesn’t like the vets, will I be able to come in for my consultation?

Unfortunately, due to the current COVID safety measures, we are unable to facilitate this at present. Please don’t worry, our clinical teams will take time to reassure and calm any nervous patients. In the interest of safety, if your pet has been known to be nervous or aggressive in the past, it would be helpful for you to inform us in advance so we can take all precautions necessary to limit the stress for your pet.

What will happen whilst my pet is in the building?

Your pet will be initially triaged by one of our nursing team who will ensure that the most seriously ill pets are seen as a priority by one of our vets. Once one of our vets has examined your pet they will call you to discuss their findings and next steps.

If your pet has life-threatening injuries, please be reassured that we will administer emergency first aid treatment. Please ensure you are available to be contacted on your phone so that we can remain in communication with you.

How long until I hear from you?

You will receive a call from a vet to discuss your pet’s symptoms, history and proposed treatment plan. We aim to do this as soon as possible after admission but critical patients will be prioritised. We know this wait can be worrying, but if the clinical team need to contact you because your pet’s condition has changed, they will be in touch.

What will my pet need and should I send them in with their favourite toy/blanket?

Please ensure your pet can be safely transferred into the clinic. Dogs should have well-fitting collars and leads. Cats and small mammals should be safely secured in a basket or box. Whilst we appreciate the comfort a favourite toy or blanket might bring, we request that you do not send these in with your pet for their initial assessment. We have plenty of cuddles and reassurance available!

My pet is behind with their vaccinations, can you do this while they are in with you?

Due to the emergency nature of the work we do, we do not offer any type of vaccinations. You need to contact your regular vets for this to be carried out. The same applies to other routine procedures such as teeth cleans and nail trims.

How long will treatment take?

Treatment length will depend on what the vet and you, the pet owner, decide after the initial assessment. The duty vet will discuss whether you should continue to stay on-site or go home after your phone consultation. Please do not leave the clinic until advised by the clinic team . You will be asked for consent via text/email if your pet is hospitalised.

How will medication be dispensed if required?

Medication will be brought out to you by the vet or nurse. If you have any questions regarding giving this to your pet, please make sure to ask.

Will my own vets be updated?

A copy of your pet’s medical records and any additional appropriate information will be sent to your own vets automatically. If you are going for a follow-up appointment with them and they have any questions, they can contact us to discuss further.

What happens if my pet is still unwell later this evening if I’ve taken them home?

Please do not hesitate to get back in touch if you are still concerned about your pet during our opening hours.

How do I proceed with an insurance claim?

If your pet is insured there are 2 ways in which a claim can be made for any treatment your pet has received at Vets Now:

1. Indirect claims
This is where you pay the full account balance and a claim is made to your insurance provider, whereby your insurance provider would subsequently pay you directly. There is an administration charge for completion of an insurance claim

2. Direct claims
A direct claim is where Vets Now processes a claim to your insurance provider and they pay Vets Now directly. There is an administration charge for completion of an insurance claim. For us to be able to process a direct claim, certain criteria must be met.

When do I pay my bill?

This depends on your insurance status and the method you wish to claim by.

If you aren’t insured, we would require full payment at the end of treatment. If your pet is being admitted with us, we would require a 50% deposit of the lower end of the estimate given by the vet.

Do you accept cheques?

We do not accept cheques. Card payment is preferred.

I am insured but I don’t know the details and insurance company is closed until Monday morning?

You may have received insurance documentation on email or in the post. If these are unavailable, please inform the team of the name of the insurance company and contact us with the policy information as soon as possible.

What will I have to pay today?

If you are opting for a direct claim, you will need to pay the administration fee, fixed excess, any percentage due according to your policy terms and the cost of any additional items or treatments that cannot be claimed for.

If treatment is for a known exempt condition, then the full balance will be due. If the total balance comes to more than your policy covers then any deficit will need to be paid at the time of treatment.

If you are opting for an indirect claim or are not insured, then the full balance will be due at the end of treatment.

Our admin fee explained

To provide your insurer with accurate information on the treatment your pet received and the associated costs of this treatment, there is administration required.

This incurs an admin fee payable at the time of treatment. Please contact your insurance provider to activate your claim.

Please note we are not responsible for any discrepancies between you and your insurance provider.

Thanks for your understanding.

Finance and insurance

We know money is the last thing on your mind right now but our team will need to discuss costs with you before they treat your pet.

We don’t mean to be insensitive, it is just best professional practice to ensure that you are made aware of the full cost of all the treatment options so that you can make an informed decision regarding which option is best for you and your pet.

If you can’t afford the full range of treatment for your pet, please tell the vet as soon as possible, they may be able to tailor the treatment options to suit your budget.

Here is some useful finance information:

Finance FAQs

Our customer support team have answered all the questions you might have about cost, payment and insurance.

Read more

Places to get help with vet fees

A list of places that may be able to help with vet bills if you are unable to cover the cost.

Read more

How your fees are spent

Out-of-hours vet fees are typically more expensive than your day practice. Here, we break down where our income goes.

Read more