Referring Vets

Veterinarians: The Referral Process


There are three situations when referral might be a good option:

  1. The animal is not responding as you had hoped, or a diagnosis is proving elusive.
  2. You want a second opinion. Referral is a great way to be sure that you are doing everything possible for the animal.
  3. The animal needs treatment, equipment or expertise not available in your practice.

All of The Referral Centre clinicians are happy to discuss cases with our referring vets. If you are not sure whether a case is a good one to refer or not, please phone or send us an email.

If you have a patient that will benefit from referral to one of our specialists or referral vets, please complete and submit the form below. Our receptionist will then contact your client to schedule a visit to TRC. Will allow linking of history PDF and images to referral submission rather than separate files needing to be emailed.

Patients requiring care from a registered veterinary specialist will be given this option.

There are 4 simple steps to follow


01. Choose

Choose the Expert and service you require for your client and their pet.


02. Contact Us

Check availability and a suitable time for an appointment. Call 0800 Vet Expertise or email

Hamilton – admin@thereferralcentre.co.nz

Tauranga – bay@thereferralcentre.co.nz

Referral Form

03. Send Us

Complete a referral form (online or download) and ensure all medical records and previous diagnostic results are sent to us via email or snail mail before the scheduled appointment.

576 Anglesea Street, Hamilton

1450 Cameron Road, Greerton, Tauranga


04. Clients

Ensure the client knows HOW to find us (print a facility location map), WHEN their appointment is and WHAT to expect. We will send the client an appointment confirmation and a reminder before a client’s visit.

Vet Services Offered

Emergency and Critical Care Medicine

Critically ill animals are time consuming, stressful, and often require staff resources and equipment that general practices just aren’t able to provide. We want to help you with these cases. We will look after the animal in hospital until it is suitable for treatment by your clinic.

Cases we see include, but are definitely not limited to:

  • Diabetics, DKA
  • Endocrine cases: Addisonian crisis, Cushing’s disease
  • Oxygen dependant cardiac and respiratory cases
  • Major trauma cases: hit by car/truck/tractor, dog fight wounds
  • Gastroenteritis or pancreatitis
  • Seizuring animals and neurological disease
  • Toxicities
  • Postoperative management
  • Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition
  • Pain management
  • Positive Pressure Ventilation
  • Transfusion medicine
  • Critical care procedures: thoracic drain placement and care, feeding tube placement, central venous catheter placement, urinary catheter placement and care

The advantages to hospitalisation at The Referral Centre

  • On site specialist consultation and ongoing case management
  • Around the clock veterinary and nursing staff on duty
  • One point of contact for owners and referring vets
  • On site referral ultrasound
  • Digital radiology and CT with radiology specialist interpretation if required
  • Full on-site blood testing including blood gas analysis.
  • Continuity of care: no missed information or treatments when animals are transferred between clinics
  • Owners don’t have to transport animals in the mornings and evenings, often the busiest times of the day for people.

If you aren’t sure if your patient is suitable for referral, or want to discuss a complicated case, phone The Referral Centre. If a more in-depth discussion is required, you can forward the case history and any diagnostic results for a telephone consultation. A written report is provided after all phone consults.


Skin disease can be highly uncomfortable for pets, frustrating for owners and time consuming for veterinarians to work up within the busy day-to-day schedule of general vet practice. Commonly, owners seek a second opinion when skin disease is refractory and the treatments provided are perceived of not having led to a “cure”. Referral offers an option to come up with answers and solutions to help the patient long term. It can also alleviate the owner’s frustration, so trust can be restored. From an initial consultation, clients can expect a complete review of their pet’s clinical history, a thorough clinical assessment of the skin and/or ear disease, including in house cytology and an initial treatment plan which will usually include rule outs. Other diagnostics possibly performed on the day include blood tests and bacterial or fungal cultures. More specific tests will be discussed and planned as workable on the day or for a future appointment. These may include:

1. Skin biopsies

2. Deep otoscopic examinations (under sedation if needed)

3. Intradermal Allergy Testing and/or Heska Serum testing.

Treatment/management plans will be designed to follow the principle of “Multi-Modal Management used in a pro-active way” and the client will be educated on its importance. Treatment options may include Allergen Specific Immunotherapy (injection or oral), compounded ear medications, topical and systemic improvement of skin barrier, diet (both elimination trials and follow ups) and management of ectoparasite control.

Sylvia is experienced in management of skin patients who are carriers of MRSP.


Procedures commonly performed include:

  • cruciate and MPL surgery
  • fracture repair
  • gastrointestinal surgery
  • brachycephalic airway surgery
  • urethrostomy

Daniel is available for free phone or email advice on surgical cases and is in Hamilton every Wednesday and Thursday for consultations and procedures.


Ultrasounds can be accessed on a referral-only basis with the written report sent directly to the referring vet, or via referral of the animal to other clinicians at TRC who will then discuss findings and recommended next steps with the owners directly.

We perform abdominal, pregnancy and cardiac ultrasounds every Tuesday and Wednesday, and other days by arrangement. If indicated, fine needle aspirates (FNA), or tru-cut biopsies can be taken for cytological diagnosis.

Advanced Imaging

TRC has an on-site Fidex digital radiology, digital fluoroscopy and cone-beam CT capability.

We also have access to off-site fan beam PET CT and MRI imaging and can usually get an appointment within a week, occasionally on the same day depending on their human case load and staff availability.

All patients referred for advanced imaging have a consultation with Dr Trudi McAlees to assess their stability for general anaesthesia and to discuss which of the different imaging modalities is best suited for this case.

Exotic pets

Dr Earles has a special interest in the slightly unusual pet species. He is available for consultations and surgery at The Referral Centre in Tauranga on Tuesdays and Fridays. Veterinary care for birds, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and aquarium fish is available. Services offered include:

  • Dentistry
  • Geriatric Care
  • Wellness and Preventive Care
  • Vaccinations
  • CT SCAN  (Hamilton Clinic)
  • Spay and Neuter
  • Surgery Services
  • Dermatology
  • Digital radiography
  • Ultrasound
  • Endoscopy
  • In house laboratory

See more information here


Kellam currently visits Hamilton for 2 days a month and will be relocating to Hamilton full time at the end of the year. He offers ophthalmic consultations and surgeries in Hamilton including a wide range of eyelid, conjunctival and corneal surgeries. We also offer lens surgeries including cataract surgery, gonioimplantation for surgical management of glaucoma, and options for end stage eye diseases. Cataract surgery is currently only performed in Wellington but will move to Hamilton. 
Kellam uses the latest surgical techniques, usually assisted by our operating microscope and microsurgical instruments.

Currently, appointments are booked directly with Kellam. Please email reception@peteyecare.co.nz or call (04) 390 9134. Referrals can also be submitted online at https://peteyecare.co.nz

Kellam also provides a remote consulting service for New Zealand veterinarians looking for some guidance on tricky eye cases. A link to this service can be found here: https://peteyecare.co.nz/referrals

Hydrotherapy and Rehabilitation

Hydropaws has been assisting dogs with their physical rehabilitation in the Waikato since 2006, when Rachel imported the first underwater treadmill into NZ.

Hydrotherapy is a specific field of physiotherapy utilising the beneficial properties of water in a highly controlled and calm clinical environment to promote weight bearing, assist with early return to function, improve gait patterns and reduce compensatory dysfunction for patients where mobility has been compromised.

Rehabilitation programs are tailored to each individual dog to optimise clinical outcomes.

Rachel is a founding member of the New Zealand Association of Canine Hydrotherapy and remains on the committee focusing on promoting best practice in Canine Hydrotherapy in NZ.

Conditions commonly referred for hydrotherapy include:

  • Joint disease including hip and elbow dysplasia 
  • Arthritis, reduced function, stiffness and muscle weakness in senior dogs  
  • Spinal injuries, disc disease and paralysis 
  • Cruciate ligament disease  
  • Pre and post orthopaedic surgeries 
  • Obesity and weight related issues 
  • Performance improvement in the athletic and working dog 

Please get in touch to see how we can help your patients. 

Email: rachel@hydropaws.co.nz 

Frequently Asked Questions

What About Breakfast?

If you have a surgery consultation, please do not give your dog or cat breakfast on the day of their appointment. They may have access to their water bowl up until their arrival at the clinic unless specifically advised otherwise.

If your animal is under 3 months of age, very old or has diabetes, please phone TRC for instructions.

Do I need to have a vet referral?

No, while it is more common to be referred by your regular vet, you are welcome to approach us directly for help.

How do I get a vet referral?

Speak to your regular vet about coming to see us at The Referral Centre. They will then send us your animal’s clinical records, and we will contact you to make an appointment.

Do you take credit card?

TRC accepts cash, EFTPOS, bank transfer, Mastercard and VISA (but not AMEX). If finance or a payment plan is needed then we can help you organise this through PetfundersQ Card and Humm finance options

What do I need to bring with me?

In most instances, your pets records will have been sent to us electronically, so you don’t usually need to bring anything other than the medication your pet is currently taking.

I have pet insurance do I need to get a pre-approval?

Every insurance company is different – some give pre-approval, some don’t. You will need to contact your company directly to ask them.

Can I come without an appointment?

No, The Referral Centre runs on appointments only. Clinicians are not always available here as many work in other clinics as well.

Is my pet monitored 24hrs?

Yes, in conjunction with Waikato After Hours Veterinary Hospital and Bay After Hours Veterinary Hospital there are nurses on site 24 hours a day, and usually a vet too.

What if my pet has an emergency situation?

Waikato After Hours Veterinary Hospital  and Bay After Hours Veterinary Hospital are open when your regular vet is closed – nights and weekends. During the day, your local vet is able to deal with emergency situations. Once they have assessed your animals, an urgent referral may be able to be arranged.

What if I can’t make my appointment?

Waikato After Hours Veterinary Hospital and Bay After Hours Veterinary Hospital are open when your regular vet is closed – nights and weekends. During the day, your local vet is able to deal with emergency situations. Once they have assessed your animals, an urgent referral may be able to be arranged.

Will my primary vet be updated with information on my pet?

Yes. All clinical records and results will be sent to your vet.

Vet Resources




576 Anglesea Street,
Hamilton, N.Z


1450 Cameron Road
Greerton, Tauranga, N.Z