Dick White Referrals


What happens if my pet needs to be put to sleep?

Owning pets can be a source of great joy but it also brings responsibilities – one of which is to make a decision to put them to sleep if they are suffering through illness or injury, with no hope of recovery.The process, known as euthanasia, is painless and involves an overdose of anaesthetic. At DWR, you would be asked to sign a consent form and a vet will administer this via an intravenous catheter. You may either be present or leave your pet with us.

This is a stressful time for pet owners, during which some decisions need to be made:

  • Would you like to take your pet’s body home with you, for burial or cremation?
  • Would you prefer to leave us to organise this? In this event we work with Peaceful Pets of Kings Lynn who will arrange an individual cremation and return the ashes either to us or to your own veterinary surgeon for collection.
  • If you are leaving your pet with us, would you like us to take some fur for you to keep, or a paw print image that can be used to create your chosen keepsake?
  • Would you like to take your pet’s belongings home, or leave them with us to be donated to an animal charity?
  • If your pet is a dog, would you consider donating his/her corneas to help save the sight of another dog?

Our vets and nurses all understand how difficult these decisions can be at such a sad time, and they will talk you through the options and help you choose what is best for you and your family.



We are open for routine appointments Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 7.00 pm. Neurology & Dermatology appointments also available on Saturdays from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Out-of-hours, our wards are staffed around the clock by nurses and veterinary surgeons and emergency referrals are admitted by veterinary appointment.

Our telephone lines are manned from 8.30 am to 7.00 pm Monday to Friday and 8.30 am to 5.00 pm on Saturdays. At all other times, telephone calls will be diverted to our emergency only service.


Can I be referred to DWR if I am insured with a company with a Referral Vet Network?

Some insurance companies, including Argos, Homebase, John Lewis, Marks & Spencers, More Than and Tesco operate a Referral Vet Network, directing their policy holders to specific referral practices.

DWR does not participate in schemes of this nature as we strongly believe that the choice of referral practice should be left entirely in the hands of the first opinion vets and their clients, based on clinical priorities.

On occasions, companies operating such schemes will impose a penalty charge for referrals to practices outside their own network. In this event, DWR will reimburse the charge.

If my pet is not insured, will I need to leave a deposit if my pet stays at the clinic?

In the event of an uninsured patient being admitted for surgery and/or hospitalisation, 50% of the minimum estimated cost is required prior to admission.

What is Holter monitoring and what information does it give?

Holter monitoring is a means of recording an electrocardiogram (ECG), a trace which shows the electrical activity of the heart. Unlike a conventional ECG, a Holter monitor is a portable device which your pet wears for 1 to 7 days to give us a sustained overview of the heart’s electrical activity. The technique is especially useful for assessing disturbances in heart rate and rhythm investigating whether such disturbances may be responsible for clinical signs including fainting.

What is echocardiography?

Echocardiography is used to assess the structure and physiology of the heart. It utilises non-harmful sound-waves to produce images of the heart and blood flow. It is best performed in conjunction with other assessments of heart disease and cardiologists interpret findings with echocardiography in the context of a physical examination, medical history and, usually, radiographs. Echocardiography is best performed by experienced cardiologists with a high level of expertise in interpretation.

I’ve been told my cat has a heart murmur. What does this mean and can it be treated?

A ‘heart murmur’ is a sound usually caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart and detected by a vet after listening to your cat’s chest with a stethoscope. Most cats with heart murmurs have heart disease, but occasionally murmurs turn out not to be related to significant heart problems. The murmur itself doesn’t tell us how severe a heart problem is or whether it needs treatment. Sometimes disease doesn’t need treatment but may do in the future.

Many excellent treatments exist for cats and dogs with heart disease, but knowing which patients benefit from these is at the core of cardiology.

Is TPLO the best surgery for cranial cruciate ligament problems?

It is the most robust and gives a more rapid recovery in comparison with other techniques used for this problem. Small, light body mass patients can be treated successfully with medical treatment (pain killers) and a long period of restricted activity, but the recovery period is typically longer than that required following surgery. There are several surgical procedures that can be used to treat cranial cruciate ligament problems, including techniques that replace the damaged ligament and ‘tibial osteotomy’ techniques which modify the shape of the top part of the tibia to make the stifle stable in the absence of a functional CCL. In most cases, tibial osteotomy techniques result in faster recoveries and, of these, TPLO appears to be the most robust technique with a favourably low complication rate.

I’ve been referred for a TPLO procedure. What does this mean?

TPLO stands for tibial plateau levelling operation and is the procedure of first choice for most dogs suffering from rupture or disease of the cranial cruciate ligament in the stifle (the knee joint). When the joint becomes unstable and rather than flexing and extending normally during weight bearing it gives way, and the tibia is pushed forwards. TPLO involves a cut of the tibia (the shinbone) and accurate modification of the slope of the top (the plateau) of the bone. This allows the stifle joint to be re-stabilised during weight-bearing and locomotion. The modified shape of the tibia is maintained using bone screws and a plate. These maintain the corrected shape of the tibia during the healing period of approximately 8 weeks.

Can hip dysplasia be treated by surgery?

A number of different surgical procedures are performed to treat different presentations or severity of hip dysplasia. Very young puppies (4 months or less) with hip laxity can be treated to modify growth and reverse developing hip dysplasia. A minimally invasive technique selectively arrests growth of just the underside of the pelvis, to overcome the early changes of hip dysplasia. Puppies aged 5 to 11 months with mild hip dysplasia can benefit from pelvic osteotomy surgery which overcomes the tendency for the hips to subluxate (partial dislocation). For most severely affected puppies and adult dogs with hip osteoarthritis secondary to hip dysplasia, total hip replacement is the surgical procedure of choice. This is a reliable procedure with a good long-term prognosis, even in puppies.

Does my pet need to be starved prior to the appointment?

All canine and feline patients, with the exception of pets suffering from diabetes mellitus that are presented as an emergency, should be starved before the appointment if possible. However, the appointment should not be delayed even if this is not possible. For patients that are presented for the first time it is recommended that they are starved, again with the exception of patients suffering from diabetes mellitus. This will allow certain investigations to be carried out on the same day as the consultation. Owners of patients that present for routine re-examinations will usually be advised as to whether or not their pet needs to be starved for future consultations.

What do I need to bring to my ophthalmology appointment?

Although information regarding the medication should be provided by the referring veterinary surgeon, clients should bring all medication that has been used in the patient’s eye in the last few days or, if applicable, months. Alternatively a list of the medication may be sufficient.

Do I need to stop any medication before seeing the ophthalmologists?

Most eye medications should be continued throughout the day of examination so that the effect of the eye medication can be assessed. This is particularly important for patients suffering from glaucoma. No medication should be given approximately 30 minutes before the actual appointment.

After my dog has had spinal surgery, will he need physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is certainly beneficial in all patients following spinal surgery. This can include electrotherapy and land-based exercises as well as hydrotherapy. Every single patient should be assessed by a veterinary surgeon prior to starting physiotherapy and the physiotherapy plan tailored to the individual needs.

Can dogs get meningitis?

Yes, meningitis is often diagnosed in dogs. Most commonly this condition has an underlying autoimmune disorder although infectious causes of meningitis must be ruled out to ensure the safety of other pets in the household and other members of the family.

My cat is having seizures. Does that mean she has a brain disease?

Seizures are a symptom suggesting that the electrical activity of the brain is altered. However, the causes of seizures are not always found in the brain. This means that, ideally, every patient that experiences seizures should have a thorough assessment including a physical and neurological examination, blood tests, MRI of the brain and spinal tap.

What types of operation does a veterinary neurosurgeon perform?

Neurosurgeons performs a wide range of operations, including:

  • brain surgery to decompress traumatic brain injuries, to correct congenital brain malformations or to remove/biopsy brain tumours;
  • spinal surgery for the treatment of intervertebral disc disease, spinal fracture stabilisation, to address congenital spinal malformations and treat tumours which are compressing the spinal cord;
  • muscle and nerve biopsies to investigate causes of generalised weakness;
My dog is coming in for an ultrasound examination. Is this a painful procedure?

Not at all! In fact most of our patients take a snooze while lying on the Table! The only inconvenience of ultrasound is that fur needs to be clipped. However, rest assured, we never clip more than necessary and we always do it in a tidy fashion.

My primary care vet has already taken x-rays. Will more need to be taken when I come to DWR?

This depends on a number of factors, including how many radiographs were already taken, whether they include all the views we require, whether they meet our quality standards and whether they have been submitted via the appropriate medium.

My cat is booked in for an MRI. Will a general anaesthetic be necessary?

Yes, it is crucial that your pet lies absolutely still in the scanner as any movement would result in having to repeat the image acquisition. An average MRI scan lasts for 45 min, which is obviously much too long for any animal to lie motionless.

Can I discuss my concerns about anaesthesia and pain control with a suitable consultant?

Although the anaesthetists are rarely involved in initial consultations with pet owners we spend most of our day in direct contact with animals before, during, and after anaesthesia, ensuring the highest standard of care However, should you wish to talk to an anaesthetist, please do not hesitate to ask. We will be happy to meet you and discuss your concerns.

Will my pet be in pain after the anaesthesia has worn off?

We develop a pain control plan prior to the surgical procedure. When your pet returns to the ward after surgery, he or she will be assessed and the pain control protocol will be started. From that point onwards, each patient is assessed every 2 hours. If pain control is required beyond 24 hours, an anaesthetist will examine the ward records and decide the level of ongoing pain management required. In the majority of cases, patients are discharged only when we are confident that any residual pain can be controlled my mild generic pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Why do I need to starve my pet before the anaesthetic?

Administration of sedatives and anaesthetics in animals with a full stomach presents an increased risk of complications. The drugs used may affect the function of the digestive system and we would prefer to keep any risk to an absolute minimum.

What happens if my pet does not have medical insurance?

We will ask you to settle your account with us in full following your consultation or, in the case of hospitalisation, on collection of your pet. Cash, debit and most major credit cards are accepted; unfortunately, we cannot accept payment by cheque or American Express card.

Depending on the clients’ financial circumstances, finance agreements may be available. We work regularly with Carefree Credit who, following a credit check, may offer a range of options to spread the cost of your pet’s treatment.

For further information regarding this service, please contact a member of our Finance Team.

What happens if my insurance company does not settle the claim?

In the event that your insurance company declines to settle your claim, or any part of it, for any reason you will remain liable for the costs of treatment.

Can DWR claim my pet’s fees directly from my insurance company?

Depending upon your insurance company, we may be able to arrange direct payment of insurance claims.
In order for us to be able to do this, you should bring the following with you:

  • A completed claim form
  • A valid certificate of insurance detailing the level of cover and any excess for which you are liable
  • A credit or debit card to pay any shortfall

If you would like us to make arrangements for direct claims, you should inform us at the time of the initial consultation. It may not be possible to arrange this once investigations or treatment have begun.

If you require pre-authorisation, this can be arranged at your request. Please call our Finance Team in advance of your appointment.

What happens if my pet has medical insurance?

There are many pet insurance providers and the cover that they offer varies considerably. It is your responsibility to check with your insurance company that your pet is covered for the treatment provided. . If you are in any doubt about any aspects please contact your insurers for clarification Please note that you will be responsible for any shortfall in the insurance payment. Settlement of an insurance claim is often delayed if your own vet has not submitted their claim for your pet’s illness. Please ensure that this is submitted as soon as possible. It is also helpful for us to be aware of the amount that has already been spent so that we can advise you of any potential shortfall in your insurance cover.

If you require  pre-authorisation, this can be arranged at your request. Please contact a member of our FinanceTeam in advance of your appointment.

How will I know how my pet is progressing in hospital? Can I visit my pet?

If your pet is staying with us for more than 24 hours we will try to contact you twice daily to update you with their condition and progress. There will be a team of nursing, intern and Specialist staff looking after your pet and any member of this team may update you. When animals are likely to be hospitalised for a few days or more, we welcome visits by owners and these should be arranged in advance with the clinical staff. We do not have set visiting times but we try to organize visits at times that will be least disruptive to the clinical activities in the hospital.

Can I leave any of my pet’s belongings?

If your pet is staying with us please do not leave any collars, leads etc. Please note, to comply with our hygiene policy, we cannot accept toys, bedding or other personal items into the hospital.

What do I need to do when I arrive at DWR?

You should check-in with our Client Care Team and you will be asked to complete a registration form so that we can confirm the accuracy of our records. Your consultant will meet you in the Reception area. Although we try to see clients at the appointed time, the nature of our practice is that we often receive emergency admissions. If you are kept waiting, we apologise but hope you will understand that emergencies must take priority. We have supplied a coffee machine and reading materials in the waiting area.

What do I need to do before my appointment at DWR?

Please ensure that your vet has sent us a letter outlining your pet’s condition together with x-rays or other results. It is possible that your pet may require diagnostic investigations and treatment. If you have a morning appointment, these tests may begin on the day of admission and so it is advisable not to give any food after the previous midnight; water should NOT be withheld. If your pet is receiving any medications, or is on a prescription diet, please mention this at the time of the consultation, and if possible, please bring several days’ supply with you in case hospitalisation is necessary.

If your pet is insured, please see FAQs on insurance.

What is a veterinary Specialist?

Veterinarians can choose to pursue a career as a general practitioner, providing a first opinion service and developing a great breadth of knowledge of many different conditions. As they gain experience, they can also progress to become Advanced Practitioners.Alternatively, they may choose to specialise in a particular discipline. This requires a qualified vet to undergo substantial further training and to pass exams to prove that they have the required level of knowledge and experience in their chosen field. Only those that have been through this process can call themselves Specialists and they need to be re-accredited regularly in order to continue using the title. Not all practices offering referral services have the availability of Specialists.

Why have I been referred to DWR?

If your primary care veterinarian has referred you to DWR, it is because he or she considers that your pet’s diagnosis and/or treatment requires an enhanced level of expertise or equipment. DWR is one of the leading Specialist veterinary centres in Europe offering a multi-disciplinary approach to each case.

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