19, Jul 2022
Vet Basics: Why a Referral Is Essential

Vet Basics: Why a Referral Is Essential

Working with a veterinary referral medical facility is often the best course of action, especially for smaller clinics. Doing this might save money and time, but your patients will get the finest care possible.

By working with a referral veterinarian, your patients can access the most modern veterinary medical advancements and methods. Referral veterinarians have the time and resources to focus on specialist areas of veterinary medicine and surgery beyond most general practitioners’ range.

What is a referral?

A referral is made if the primary care vet determines they do not have the experience or resources required to treat a pet. Referrals may also be made at the request of a pet owner who wishes to have their pet’s care handled by a veterinarian with more experience in a specific field like veterinary internal medicine. A referral occurs when a referring veterinarian transfers obligation for a patient’s diagnosis and care to a receiving veterinarian.

How is a consultation different from a referral?

A consultation is a discussion between a veterinary consultant and an attending vet about a patient’s diagnosis and management. In most consultations, information is exchanged, test results are analyzed, and consultants may need to examine the patient. The consulting veterinarian does not provide diagnostic or therapeutic procedures to the patient, and the attending veterinarian is still in charge of the client-patient communication.

A referral transfers diagnostic and care responsibility from a referring veterinarian to a receiving veterinarian.

Referring Veterinarian’s Duties Before Referrals

  • Based on the patient’s health and the resources that improve patient care, consider making a referral in a timely way.
  • Acknowledge, appreciate, and honor a client’s prompt request for a second opinion.
  • Inform the customer of the anticipated timing of any surgical or medical treatments the receiving vet will perform.

Referring Veterinarian’s Post-referral Duty

Anytime the patient returns for the condition referred, whether expected or unforeseen, notify the receiving veterinarian. The receiving veterinarian should be informed whether there is a requirement that they get in touch with the referral vet or pet owner.

When to consider referral?

  • A need for further knowledge and advanced training like major surgery for cats
  • A relentless or worsening medical condition
  • A requirement for extra tools or services to deliver more diagnostic procedures or clinical treatment
  • A requirement for a 24/7 medical oversight
  • A need for rehabilitation like a dog physical therapy in Phoenix after a procedure
  • The discontentment of the client with the case’s development
  • Uncertainty in the medical diagnosis


You may offer the best of both worlds by using a referral practice. You will already be acquainted with the pet and its medical history and know your client’s chosen therapeutic methods. The recommended veterinarian will be qualified to perform the procedure most safely and effectively.

Your clinic’s reputation will improve if you refer a complex surgical procedure to a veterinary referral practice. It raises the chances of a better outcome and shows pet owners that you prioritize comprehensive care for their animals. This guarantees that every pet receives the best care. And that your customer continues to be committed to your clinic.