General information for owners


About Langford Vets

Langford Vets is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Bristol. We offer first-class, friendly, first opinion and referral services for your pet. As a teaching hospital we are committed to providing gold standard care for your pet. Our commitment to their care doesn't just limit itself to the procedures your pet will receive, but extends to cover all aspects of your pet's stay including their nursing, rehabilitation and overnight care. Our dedicated clinicians are recognised Specialists in their field, able to provide procedures at the cutting edge of veterinary science.

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We would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete a questionnaire about your experience as a client of the Small Animal Hospital. Your feedback is important to us and allows us to continually improve the service we provide to our clients and their pets.

All completed surveys will be entered into a monthly prize draw to win £50 of M&S vouchers (if you wish to enter). We also have paper versions of the survey available in our reception area should you prefer this to an electronic form.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Specialist?

Angie Hibbert, RCVS Specialist

Most high street vets have to see a very wide range of diseases and species in their general work, so their knowledge is very broad, much like your own GP. A referral allows your pet access to treatment from a clinician specialising full-time in a particular subject, who is more experienced and knowledgeable in their subject than your usual vet. They will also have access to specialist facilities not generally available in first-opinion practice. This is much like your own GP referring you to a hospital consultant.

There are no restrictions in the veterinary profession as to who can accept referrals. This means you could potentially be referred to any vet,  however, they may not be a Specialist.  To be a Specialist you must hold a European or American Diploma or be awarded the title 'RCVS Recognised Specialist' by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (this is the highest level of clinical specialisation possible in the UK).

It is not easy to achieve European, American or RCVS Recognised Specialist status. Vets must undergo a formal training program over 3-4 years, usually within a University setting. Clinicians with this status possess knowledge in their field to a much higher level than general practitioners or Certificate holders.

At Langford Veterinary Services we have the highest number of these Specialists in the South West. Our clinicians meet daily to discuss the different cases being seen at the hospital. This means that your pet will benefit from the knowledge not just of the Specialist they are seeing, but from those in other related disciplines as well.

How do I make an appointment?

Arranging a referral

Referrals can only be arranged through your veterinary surgeon and we are unable to accept a referral directly from members of the public or to give advice to pet owners on cases that have not been referred.

If your pet needs to be referred you must discuss this first with your veterinary surgeon who will contact us on your behalf.  If your pet needs to be seen urgently, your vet will need to telephone us in order to arrange the appointment for you.

Your vet may wish to discuss your pet's case with us by telephone prior to making a decision regarding referral.  In some cases they may send us X-rays or scan results beforehand – we provide a rapid reporting service for vets who send us radiographs.

Your vet should be able to supply you with a client information sheet that has a map on the back. But you may wish to download them here in an emergency.

What is there to do in the area?

When your pet is admitted, the clinician will discuss with you how long they are likely to be with us. You may wish to explore the local area prior to returning home, or plan a day out for a check up when your pet may be hospitalised for a few hours during the day for tests. We hope you enjoy the following local attractions:
'Dotty' owned by Gwen, Anaesthetist

Short visits:

Cadbury Garden Centre, the south west's premier garden centre is no ordinary store. You'll find all that is best for your garden and home with brilliant displays of plants and an inspiring range of quality products. They also have a lovely tea room.

The Cadbury Health Spa is a luxury four-star venue tucked away within the secluded grounds of the Doubletree by Hilton hotel. Treat yourself to a manicure or back massage.

Day trips:

Court Farm offers a lovely family day out with baby animals, trampolines, play facilities and a maize maze, it provides a fun way to enjoy the sun.

Cheddar Gorge is the biggest, most dramatic gorge in Britain, with cliffs rising to 450ft, and two beautiful stalactite caverns. The 3 mile long gorge, created by successive Ice Age meltwaters, was first occupied by our ancestors 40,000 years ago. Today it's a famous tourist beauty spot, a premier site of British prehistory, a national Nature Reserve and an international centre for caving and rock climbing.

Historic Wells is a medieval city nestling on the southern side of the Mendip Hills, with the mystic Somerset Levels stretching away to the south and west. The history of Wells goes right back to Roman times. Today you can visit the cathedral and gardens or shop till you drop in its pretty boutiques.

The Helicopter Museum has a rare and award winning collection of helicopters, unique in Great Britain and in the world. Exhibits include; Two of The Queens Flight, How helicopters work, Russian Hind attack helicopter, the world's fastest helicopter.

Puxton Park is set in the beautiful Somerset countryside. The 50-acre family adventure park is one of the largest visitor attractions in the South West providing fun and variety with something to offer everyone. From a giant indoor play barn to the delightful Pets' Village and farm shop, adults and children alike can experience a fun day out.

Places to eat and stay

'Boumbo' owned by Matthieu, Resident

Places to eat:

Mezzé at the Ship & Castle is situated at the head of the ancient village of Congresbury on the site of a 15th century brewery and ale house. The Ship and Castle has a great deal to offer both as a restaurant and as a base to stay and take advantage of the beautiful North Somerset countryside and coastline.

Cadbury Garden Centre tearooms.

The Nelson Arms Carvery is a traditional Roast Dinner "like the one Nan used to make at home."

The Swan, Rowberrow. Rowberrow is an ex-mining village, and The Swan has been created from 3 knocked through miner's cottages overlooking the heather strewn beauty of Beacon Batch. The pub has been around since the late 1700's and started life as a cider house -Thatcher's cider is still on sale! But the real draw is the food.

The New Inn is a classic country pub overlooking Blagdon Lake.

Places to stay:

The Ship & Castle is situated at the head of the ancient village of Congresbury, on the site of a 15th century brewery and ale house. The Ship and Castle has a great deal to offer both as a restaurant and as a base to stay and take advantage of the beautiful North Somerset countryside and coastline.

The Holiday Inn is based a few miles down the road at Bristol Airport.
 The Premier Inn, Sidcot.

Redhill House Hotel is based a few miles down the road at Bristol Airport.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?


1. Referral letter: 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.  They may ask you to bring this with you, or they may fax or post this to us in advance – it is best that you check with your vet regarding the arrangements that have been made in this regard.

2. X-Rays: You should bring any X-rays, scans or other information that your vet may have supplied.

3. Notes: It is a good idea to have made some brief notes about your pet's history e.g. regarding dates of events and any signs of problems which you may have noticed, or a brief video if you have any, 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.

4. Insurance paperwork: You should bring any relevant insurance documentation, including a blank claims form.  You will also need to bring a means of payment (see Pricing and Payment Options section).

5. Medication: Please bring along any medication your vet may have prescribed for your pet. If they are on a special diet, it may be worth bringing some with you, just in case we don't have any in stock.

6.No Breakfast: We may need to carry out some procedures on the same day as your pet arrives. For this reason, please do not allow them to have any food after 8pm the night before. Water should be freely available.

Unfortunately due to infection control within the hospital we cannot allow patients own bedding to be left with the patient. 

What will happen when we arrive?

Small animal hospital reception

Who should come?

We much prefer that you, the owner (rather than an agent 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.  In the event that your pet is admitted to the hospital on the day of the appointment, we will also ask for 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 vet. The registration will consist of checking we have all your correct personal and contact details.  This time is also when we will take any insurance documentation if you wish to do a direct claim and take the direct claim fee. If your dog would like a toilet stop, we have fields opposite the hospital you can utilise, though please only use those without resident sheep or cows! 

Complimentary refreshments are available in the waiting area, and our receptionists and animal care assistants 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 or you are held up in traffic, please let the Hospital know as soon as possible.


During your appointment, one of our referral vets will take time to obtain a detailed history of your pet’s medical background as well as the current problem. This can take up to 30 minutes.  A thorough clinical examination of your pet will then be performed and any findings and provisional diagnoses will be fully discussed with you at the time.  Your pet may then go home after the consultation with suggested management or treatment, but it is also quite possible that further tests or procedures e.g. blood tests, imaging (X-rays or scans) and/or surgery may be required. We will discuss this fully with you.

How much will it cost?

'Chester' owned by Virginie, Imager

Estimates & Payment policy

We will endeavour to provide you with an estimate of the costs of treatment that will be incurred during your pet’s stay before you arrive. Please note that this is an estimate only and not a fixed quote. Our staff will aim to keep you up to date with the progress of your bill, especially where it is anticipated that complex procedures, tests or surgery will be involved. 

You will be asked to sign a consent form to give us permission to proceed with treatment as discussed by the clinician. It is also at this time when we will aim to give you an estimate if you have not yet received an indication of the expected costs for treatment.

Please take note that full payment is required at the time your pet is discharged.

But what if I've got pet insurance?

Pet insurance:

We offer Direct and Indirect Claims.

For more information on insurance and how we deal with both Direct and Indirect claims, take a look at our Insurance Claims leaflet here.

Full details will be also sent to you in your welcome pack.

RSA Preferred Referral Network

The RSA Preferred Referral Network launched Nationwide on 16th December 2015. Langford Vets Small Animal Hospital is on the Network list. For more information visit the RSA website.  


Why haven't I seen one of the Lead Clinicians?

At your initial consultation you may meet one of our Specialists who will be managing the treatment of your pet. Alternatively you may meet one of our residents (also called Clinical Training Scholars). A resident is a fully qualified Veterinary Surgeon who has already completed an internship programme either with us or another hospital. They are now in the final stages of their training to be a specialist. While they may be the person you have face-to-face contact with, our specialists will be supervising them, and have overall say in the care of your pet.

What if I arrive after reception has closed?

Small animal hospital entrance

Emergency arrival:

If you have to visit the hospital outside of normal working hours, you will have to stop at our security lodge (at the barrier by the main gate) There is a telephone situated by the security building marked 'Out of Hours,' dial the telephone number marked on the telephone which will take you through to security who will open the barrier.

Once you arrive outside the Small Animal Referral Hospital there is another telephone by the front door also marked 'Out of Hours'. Dial the number on the telephone which will connect you to a member of the emergency team who will come and greet you.

How long will my pet be at Langford?

Will they stay overnight?

Whilst we will make every effort to perform investigations and possible surgery on the same day as the consultation (if this is in the best interests of your pet and in line with your wishes), there is no guarantee that it will be possible to do everything on that day. 

It may be that initial work will be done on the day of your appointment, and that your pet may be hospitalised for further diagnostic and possible surgical procedures to be carried out over the next few days, depending upon circumstances. 

It is also possible that your pet may need to go home after the consultation (possibly on medication) and return for diagnostic or surgical procedures at a later, mutually convenient date.  Again, this depends upon the circumstances.

It is important to understand that, like a large human hospital, Langford Small Animal Hospital provides an Accident and Emergency service, and sometimes, urgent cases may need priority when we are organising our patient care.

When will I hear from you?

We will normally contact you with an update within 24 hours of admission. It may be much sooner than that if we have reached a diagnosis or if your pet’s condition is deteriorating. So please make sure we have the best contact details for you.

​If your pet stays with us for a few days the ward nurse will call you to update you on your pet every morning after rounds. The clinician will call you with another update in the evening.

Where will my dog stay?

Dog wards:

Depending on the severity of your pet’s condition, they will either stay in our dog wards or Intensive Care Unit. Your pet will stay in a spacious kennel with a warm bed. One of our kennel nurses will be with them constantly along with the radio on to keep them company!

Fresh food is offered regularly throughout the day. Very poorly dogs will be encouraged to eat by hand feeding warmed food. They are walked every 2-3 hours in our surrounding fields to give them every opportunity to eliminate and to improve their general wellbeing. They also have a playtime 2-3 times a day with one of the ward nurses, and if time permits will go to our equine indoor school to play fetch!

Where dogs are severely incapacitated our nurses will still carry them outside for a lie down on the grass to watch the world go by. If your dog receives a special diet, it may be worth bringing some with you in case we do not stock it. Your dog will be groomed and bathed also if needed.

Unfortunately due to infection control within the hospital we cannot allow patients own bedding to be left with the patient. 

Where will my cat stay?

We are proud to have our very own Feline Centre, providing separate waiting room, ward and intensive care facilities for our feline patients, away from the unsettling noise and smell of canine patients.  

Unfortunately due to infection control within the hospital we cannot allow patients own bedding to be left with the patient.  The only exception to this is hyperthyroid cats who are visiting for radioactive iodine treatment.

Who will look after my pet?

The management of your pet’s treatment will be overseen by one our lead clinicians. On a day to day basis they will have a member of our dedicated nursing team with them constantly in the wards. 

Who will be with my pet overnight?

The hospital has a dedicated night-nursing team who are responsible for caring for your pet overnight. They are on hand to make sure your pet receives everything they need overnight, including medications, intravenous fluids, food and walks.  There are also several vets present overnight to ensure our inpatients are monitored correctly and to receive any emergencies that may arrive.

Can I visit my pet?

In general we do not encourage visiting as it can be upsetting for your pet when you leave again. We would rather get on with investigations and start treatment so that we can return your pet to you as fast as possible. However, if you wish to visit, please discuss this with the clinician and, if appropriate, a mutually convenient time can be arranged.

Furthermore, there are times when we actually request you to visit; such as if they are likely to be with us for a long time or we feel it may encourage your pet in their recovery. Unfortunately if the prognosis is grave, you may need to see your pet again before it is too late to be able to say goodbye.

What if I need to visit when reception is closed?

Visiting out-of-hours should only occur if pre-arranged with the clinician. We do have enough staff on duty at night to look after the patients, but they may not have time to chaperone visitors. If you turn up unannounced, we will try and accommodate your visit, but be aware you may have to wait.



Will students have contact with my pet?

Students at our first opinion practice

As we are a teaching hospital, students will be involved in helping to look after your pet. This will include general care of your pet, including walking, feeding and cleaning as well as assisting in taking blood samples, placing intravenous catheters and providing assistance during surgical procedures.

Students are supervised by qualified nurses and vets and are not allowed to undertake any invasive procedures without full observation. As all pets in the hospital will have designated students, it means that each pet has a 'friend' assigned to them, that gets to know them very well and helps to settle them into the hospital.


You're a University - does that mean you'll experiment on my pet?

Our aim is to provide the highest quality of care for your pet and be equipped to offer the most up to date treatments and procedures available.

We do not experiment on any cases that come into the hospital for treatment. We do have on-going clinical research trials, which we may discuss with you and offer to you if we think it may be of benefit to your pet.

At no time would your pet be entered into a clinical research project without your full consent. The clinical trials we have on-going are varied but rest assured, all have undergone assessment by the ethics and welfare committee at the University of Bristol before we are allowed to carry them out. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this topic, please ask the clinician you see when you visit the hospital.



What will happen at the discharge appointment?

When you come to collect your pet, we request you settle your account at Reception. You will then have a consultation with the clinician to discuss everything that has been found, explain any treatments given and to answer any questions you have. At that point we will return your pet to you.

From experience we know that you'll be so pleased to see your pet that it can be hard to take in our instructions. So, to reinforce our verbal instructions we will also give you a written summary with any required medications. A copy of this discharge summary will be faxed/e-mailed to your vet, so they know what has happened and that your pet is going home.




What if my pet has a problem after they come home?

If you simply have queries about any treatments we would recommend you phone our Reception (0117 394 0513/0514) and ask for the clinician to speak to you or to call you back. If there has been a sudden deterioration in your pet’s condition at home, we recommend you speak to your vet immediately, and if necessary they will refer him/her back to us.

Out of hours cover

All of our clinics provide an emergency service for our registered clients. If you live a long way from the hospital it is best to call your usual vet straight away to ensure they can provide fast emergency treatment to your pet. Our vets are available 24-7 should you or your vet need advice. Please call the usual hospital phone number and you will be put through to our emergency service.


My vet is sending us for an Outpatient procedure, what now?

  1. Your referring vet will complete the online referral form to arrange a request for your referral.
  2. Our reception team will then contact you to offer an appointment date.
  3. On arrival at reception your pet will be admitted by a nurse who will ask some basic questions and explain about how the Outpatient service works. The nurse will also give you an approximate time for discharge.
  4. For echocardiography cases (heart scans) you are welcome to wait until the procedure is completed. However for those procedures requiring an anaesthetic your pet will be admitted for the day. See our 'places to eat and stay' above for places to visit nearby.
  5. Your pet will undergo the agreed procedure.
  6. A hospital nurse will discharge your pet to you.
  7. Full payment will be collected from you unless your referring vet has indicated otherwise.
  8. The full findings of the procedure will be reported to your referring veterinary surgeon who will then relay the information to you.