FAQs

Why choose Cromwell Vets?

We believe that every pet owner should choose a veterinary practice that both they and their pet feel comfortable with and here at Cromwell Vets we endeavour to do just that. Unlike many other vets in the area, Cromwell Vets is privately owned and we’ve been caring for Cambridgeshire’s pets for over 100 years. We will always seek to offer the highest standards of veterinary care and compassion for all pets entrusted to us. Many of our vets have been with us for many years. Continuity of care is as important to us as it is to you and your pet, so we strive to keep the same vets available at each of our surgeries. We have also worked hard to accomplish and maintain accredited veterinary hospital status at our surgery Huntingdon where our vets are available 24/7, 365 days a year to care for Cambridgeshire’s pets.

When deciding which vet practice is best for you and your pet, may we suggest you ask the following questions:

  • Is it convenient for me to visit and can I park close by?

YES, all of our surgeries have convenient car parking immediately outside the surgery.

  • Will I be able to see the same vet surgeon time and time again if I want to?

YES, just ask the Receptionist to ensure you see the vet of your choice

  • Will the practice give me the care and compassion my pet and I deserve?

YES, your pet’s health and comfort are the priority at Cromwell Vets

  • Is there a vet close by to see my pet in an emergency 24/7 365 days a year?

YES, the central location of our 24hr hospital means that whatever time of day or night we always have a vet to look after your pet and help them in an emergency.

  • Can I have an appointment within the next 24hrs?

YES, most definitely. It is true to say that there are times when we are fully booked for consultations and you may have to wait until the next morning for less urgent appointments. Rest assured if your pet needs to be seen urgently or in an emergency, our vets will always see them.

Do I need an appointment?

All consultations are seen by appointment at all of our surgeries. Often appointments can be found on the same day for ill pets, if not at your local Cromwell surgery then at one close by. Please always phone first to ensure an appointment is available. In the case of an emergency, we ask that you phone us to let us know you are on your way. This is so that we can prepare the team to see your pet as quickly as possible.

What animals do Cromwell Vets treat?

Cromwell Vets is an exclusively small animal practice. The majority of our patients are dogs, cats and rabbits, but we take care of all small pet animals including hamsters, guinea pigs, tortoises and we even see pet chickens occasionally. We do provide care for many more species, but if we feel that we are unable to offer the expertise your unusual pet requires we can arrange for your pet to see a specialist.

What happens if I have an emergency at night or at the weekend?

Our hospital in Huntingdon is always open 24hrs a day 365 days a year. So even it is midnight on Christmas Eve, there is a Vet and Nurse on site to see your pet in an emergency. Outside of normal surgery hours, please call 01480 52222 to reach our emergency team.

Can I see the same Vet?

Of course you can! Please ask the receptionist; they will be able to check which Vet you saw last time and will do their best to find you an appointment with them. If an appointment cannot be found with your preferred Vet at a convenient time, please rest assured your pet’s medical notes are saved on a central computer server and accessible by all our Vets at any of our surgeries.

How can I pay?

We respectfully ask that all fees incurred at the time of consultation, dispensing of medicines/diets or on collection of a patient from the hospital, to be paid at the time. Cash and all major credit and debit cards are welcome. We are sorry but cheques are no longer accepted. We regret we are unable to offer credit.

Can Cromwell Vets come to my house?

Yes we can. We are pleased to offer pre-booked home visits on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These visits can be booked via our Receptionists at any one of our Surgeries. On other days, home visits can be arranged at a mutually convenient time (although it may not be possible on the same day). Home visits are subject to an additional charge.

We have our own brand new pet ambulance, which you may see travelling around the towns and villages of Cambridgeshire. Although extremely useful in carrying your pets in a safe manner, it can only carry limited medicines and equipment. In an emergency or for a very ill pet we would recommend that you visit at one of our surgeries as quickly as possible. For those without transport, the Practice has contact details of taxi firms happy to bring clients and patients to the surgery.

What is the role of the veterinary nurses?

A veterinary nurse has a number of important roles in the practice which includes:

Support for the Vets e.g. holding animals for exam, injection or blood samples
Nurse clinic consultations; available to advise pet owners on many aspects of pet ownership
Maintaining and monitoring general anaesthesia during surgical procedures
Assist the Vets with x-rays, surgery and many other procedures
Monitor patients recovery after surgery and administer medications to inpatients and pets seen in the clinic
Maintain cleanliness throughout the clinical area of the surgeries and hospital
Managing and maintaining a busy in-house laboratory and processing many different lab tests
Perform minor surgical work (under the supervision of Vets)
Wound management, including post-op wound monitoring

Do I need pet insurance?

It’s a common question new pet owners have. Is it worth the monthly payments? As vets, we always recommend that all pets owners at least consider pet insurance. Pets are much like people; they can become ill (e.g. a bout of sickness and diarrhoea), have accidents (e.g. be involved in road traffic accidents), develop conditions as they age (e.g. arthritis) and be susceptible to hereditary diseases (e.g. hip dysplasia). Some illnesses may just require care while they recover but others will need medication and medical support for the rest of the pet’s life.

For example, if your pet is hit by a car and breaks their leg, a fracture repair can cost several thousand pounds (depending on the complexity of the surgery) and they will need many months to recover with pain control and antibiotic medication.

How do I become a Vet?

To become a vet you need to attend a five or six year university course.

Competition for places at vet school is intense. There are seven accredited vet schools in the UK (Cambridge, London, Bristol, Liverpool, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow), with the University of Surrey starting a veterinary course in September 2014 (accreditation will not be achieved until the first year of students have qualified and are assessed). There is the possibility of a further two vet schools also starting up in the next few years.

Life as a vet is not just about cuddling kittens! A good knowledge of animal husbandry and realistic expectations of what life as a vet is all about are needed, through gaining a broad experience across different animal care and veterinary fields. This might include seeing practice at your local vets, helping at a local kennels or rescue centre, and experience of different types of farming. Ideally you would also have experienced other types of veterinary practice – such as equine or farm animal practice. Vet students also have to learn about meat processing hygiene and are required to attend abattoirs with a Local Veterinary Inspector.

Generally high GSCE grades in the sciences and three A grades at A level in Chemistry and Biology, and either Physics or Maths are required. For full details of entry requirements the RCVS website is useful- www.rcvs.org.uk/document-library/admissions-requirements-aug-2010/.

Becoming a vet is incredibly rewarding and most vets would say they love their jobs. It takes a lot of work to qualify, and whatever aspect of veterinary life you enter there is likely to be long working hours and the inevitable downs that come with the highs – it can be a very distressing and stressful job. It is certainly worth speaking to vets and spending time understanding the role in its entirety before deciding if it is the career for you. A lot of us have become vets because we love animals- but many animal come with at least one owner and the job is as much about people as it is about animals.

How do I become a veterinary nurse?

You can become a veterinary nurse (VN) in two ways:

A vocational qualification – level 3 diploma
This is a placement in a practice with a “day release” study days.

The College of Animal Welfare in Godmanchester is one organisation who offer this course.

A university degree in veterinary nursing
This qualification may lead to alternative careers with the veterinary field such as pharmaceutical or teaching

This also requires a placement in a practice.

Why do vet bills cost so much?

It’s a question many pet owners ask and a source of many misconceptions and misunderstandings about the veterinary profession. If you compare our own medical healthcare to that of our pets; much of the same techniques, training and skills are needed. The surgery can be as complicated and the medication, research and treatment just as varied. Diagnostic tools such as MRI and CT are now available to vets but they are very expensive pieces of equipment to purchase and maintain.

The main difference is that we are lucky enough in this country to have the NHS. It’s hard to judge how much medical care and expertise cost for ourselves; if you hurt your arm how much does it cost the NHS to get a doctor to examine you, run and maintain the machine that takes an x-ray, the radiographer to interpret the x-ray, give you treatment etc.? In truth there is a lot of time, expertise and costs involved in being able to provide you with the medical care you need to get better. It’s the same story in the veterinary world. Sadly there is no such thing as the NHS for our pets, so the costs of their medical care falls to the pet owner. For this reason we highly recommend pet insurance. This will give you the peace of mind that your pet will receive the best treatment without the worry of affordability.

You may feel that because Cromwell Vets is a private practice our costs are more expensive, however we are confident we offer great value with the latest and most effective treatments in the veterinary field and most importantly with care and compassion. We work hard to try to keep bills to meet your budget and we can guarantee that your pets comfort, health and wellbeing is the absolute priority for all of our staff. For any treatment your pet requires please feel free to ask our vets for an estimated cost. This will give you a breakdown of the procedures and medications the vet believes will be needed to treat your pet. Please bear in mind these are estimates; the nature of medical science mean that sometimes more medication is needed or there might be an unforeseen complication with surgery. We also endeavour to keep you updated with costs at every stage of your pet’s treatment.

Why do I need my pet vaccinated every year?

The immune system of each animal responds differently and the recommended time between vaccinations is based on the minimal period of protection. There have been studies to determine if the period of immunity can be extended to more than a year and for some diseases it can be. For example the part of the injection that protects dogs against distemper only has to given every 3 years. However, there are no vaccines available that protect dogs against leptospirosis or kennel cough for more than a year. For this reason, we recommend your dog or cat is vaccinated annually.

If my dog doesn’t go into kennels, do they still need a “kennel cough” vaccine?

Yes. Contrary to what the name suggests, kennel cough isn’t only present in the kennel environment. The full name is canine infectious tracheobronchitis and is transmitted by direct contact between dogs. So it can be spread wherever dogs meet for example, at the park or at dog shows or social events. It causes an extremely unpleasant cough for the dog but is rarely fatal. It remains widespread throughout the UK, because like the common cold there are many strains of the bacteria. Vaccination cannot fully prevent kennel cough but it does significantly reduce the risk to your dog.

Does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated and treated for worms and fleas?

Indoor cats are definitely at a decreased risk for fleas and worms and some of the common infectious diseases that we vaccinate against. However, it is wise to still keep up a tailored preventative health program to keep them safe and well.

At Cromwell Vets, we routinely vaccinate cats against two types of cat flu (feline herpes virus and feline calici virus), infectious enteritis and feline leukaemia virus. Cat flu is spread by air borne droplets and on clothing or utensils, and it is much more common than you might think – many cats are infected as kittens with feline herpes virus. Similar to the herpes virus that causes cold sores in people this virus can resurface at times of stress, and vaccination helps minimise the extent of these episodes. Even if your cat didn’t become infected before he came to live with you, if he ever has to go to the cattery or the vets, he will be at risk of airborne infection from other cats, so it is wise to keep these vaccinations up yearly.

Infectious enteritis is fortunately rare in this country but is very serious and often fatal if it is contracted. It is transmitted by infected faeces and could be carried into your household on shoes. We recommend vaccinating against this in the kitten course and at the first year booster, then only every three years to keep immunity up.

Feline leukaemia is only transmitted by contact with blood or saliva of infected cats. It is not seen everywhere in the UK but we do have it in this area. If your cat truly never comes in contact with other cats then he is not at risk and does not need vaccination. Bear in mind though that circumstances often change and indoor cats can escape or become outdoor cats later in their life.

Most kittens have roundworm and need an initial worming course to combat this. Flea pupae can lay dormant in the carpet for a long time until they sense the presence of an animal to feed on so if you have moved or have recently aquired your pet it is advised to undertake flea treatment as well. Beyond this parasitic infestations do occur in indoor cats – fleas and worm eggs can be brought into your house on your clothing or shoes, fleas carry tapeworms and cause infection when the animal grooms and ingests a flea, and raw foods can contain tapeworm. By the time you notice fleas or see evidence of worms the burden is quite great so a reduced preventative health plan is advised. Worming every six months would probably be adequate (vs 3 monthly in outdoor cats or monthly in prolific hunters), but flea treatment roughly every 2 months would still be advised, particularly in the summer months.

Can I get my insurance to pay you directly?

Whether or not a client has pet insurance, we do request payment in full for consultations, medicines and any hospital procedures. Our Veterinary Nurses are trained to process pet insurance claims swiftly and efficiently and to liase with your insurance company if needed. An owner with an insured pet would then be reimbursed by their pet insurance company in due course. In certain circumstances, for example with a large and unexpected bill, The Cromwell Vet Group Ltd will consider ‘direct claims’ with insurance companies. The decision to process a direct claim is made on a case by case basis and only once certain criteria have been fulfilled. Please speak to one of our Reception staff or Carol-Ann in accounts for more details.

A fee is charged for the completion of insurance claims and an additional fee is charged for all direct claims.

How often does my pet need to be seen for repeat prescriptions?

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) states that pets taking regular medications should be re-assessed by their Vet on a regular basis. This allows your Vet to confirm that your pet’s condition is stable, discuss any concerns you might have and enables the Vet to authorise more repeat prescriptions. Your Vet will advise you on how often your pet should be checked, but it is usually every 6 months. For some pets who are more unstable or have a more serious condition, this assessment may need to be carried out more frequently to safeguard your pet. A ‘check consultation’ fee is charged for this veterinary assessment.

Is there any charge for re-check consultations?

We have two charges for Veterinary consultations. A ‘first visit’ consultation charge and a reduced ‘re-check’ consultation charge. When a pet is seen for a new condition or problem or if they have not been seen for a significant amount of time, a full ‘first visit’ consultation fee will be charged. Subsequent re-checks will be charged at the reduced ‘re-check’ fee. Your pet may only need to be seen once more, but for more challenging or complicating problems, several re-checks may be required.

All owners of pets that have had a surgical procedure or stay in hospital will be asked to book a re-check appointment to see a Vet or a Nurse. There is no additional charge for this initial ‘post-op’ or ‘post-hospital’ check. For ongoing conditions, any further checks required will incur a re-check fee.

May we remind clients that current fees are displayed in all our waiting rooms.