Thank you to all the vets who have recommended their clients call Animal PoisonLine, our owners’ helpline. It continues to be a huge success and our data shows that we are able to reassure approximately 75% of owners that they can stay at home after calling us – reducing stress for both them and their pets. However, we have noticed recently that there is some confusion over how the service works and since it is fairly new we thought it would be good to give you all a reminder!
The most common mistake is that owners are told that if they call APL we will give them a treatment plan and that if the vet called it would be much more expensive for them. Animal PoisonLine is a triage service only and owners will NOT be given any treatment advice. We hope that you will agree that it is not safe or appropriate to expect owners to accurately relay a treatment plan, which may be complicated with drug names and doses they are not familiar with, back to you. We also do not want owners turning up at their vets expecting certain treatments and then potentially not receiving them if you felt, having examined the animal, they were not necessary or safe to carry out. In addition, there is the risk that some owners will try and treat at home (e.g. make the animal sick) in order to save the cost of a vet visit.
The VPIS is our professional service and is different. We support you by discussing the case in detail and deciding which treatments are appropriate for each pet, since every case varies. You can call us back at any point for no extra charge during the course of the case for further advice (sometimes this can be over weeks) and therefore the call cost per case is higher compared to APL.
APL calls are currently £30 per call payable by credit or debit card at the time but if we send the pet to you and you need treatment advice then we will refund the cost of the APL call to the owner since we are aware most practices pass the cost of VPIS calls onto the owner and we do not want them to be double charged. It is always advisable to call if you are unsure how to treat a poisoning case because for some poisons there are contraindications to the common treatment protocols and our aim is to ensure that the pet receives the most appropriate care. Please do not assume because we have sent a pet to you that it is for emesis and activated charcoal, it may be for a specific antidote or treatment or the timing may be such that some treatments will not be successful.
If you have any questions concerning the different services please do not hesitate to contact our Head of Service Nicola Robinson on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 13055 055 (option 2).
Please ensure that you do not email us about urgent clinical cases because we cannot guarantee that we will be able to respond if it is time critical. The VPIS team is a small one and we are often on calls! If you have an general clinical enquiry and would prefer to email please use our info address email@example.com and note that one credit will be taken for each case.