A new nationwide pet health advice line that promises to “make unnecessary trips to the vet a thing of the past” has been launched for a monthly subscription fee of £4.50.
The PetGP service is aimed at uninsured owners with poorly cats, dogs and rabbits, and offers immediate and unlimited advice from qualified VNs on the end of the telephone. Pet owners who don’t wish to subscribe can make a one-off call to the service for a flat rate of £12.50.
A statement announcing the launch under the headline “Pet health advice line launches to make unnecessary trips to the vet a thing of the past” describes the new advice line as a “game-changing pet health service”.
It also stated: “As research shows the average cost of a trip to the vet is £300, PetGP is set to help pet owners avoid costly bills.”
The statement said: “November 2016 sees the launch of a pet health advice service, PetGP, which is set to save owners across the UK hundreds of pounds from unnecessary trips to the vet. By avoiding these visits, PetGP saves owners time and money, and their pet from a potentially stressful experience.”
The company emphasised: “PetGP is not designed to replace the vet, who is an essential part of maintaining a pet’s health. Instead, PetGP was set up… to give pet owners peace of mind and expert advice on what to do next when they are worried about their pet and reduce veterinary costs through avoiding unnecessary trips.”
In reaction, BVA president Gudrun Ravetz said: “Tools for educating pet owners about their animal’s health are welcome. However, although triage phone lines have been used in the NHS for several years, for pets these can be more problematic as animals are unable to speak themselves and many symptoms may be subtle signs that will only be picked up in an examination by a vet.
“We also dispute the figures given by PetGP that an average trip to the vet costs £300. This could have a serious impact on a pet’s health and welfare if owners believe taking their pet to their vet will cost that much every time.
“We would always recommend owners take their pets to the vet not only when unwell, but also for regular preventive health care check-ups to ensure their animal is happy and healthy.”
- Read the full story in the 21 November issue of Veterinary Times.