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


Dr Trudi McAlees | BSc, BVSc, MANZCVS (Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Emergency Medicine and Critical Care), FANZCVS (Emergency Medicine and Critical Care)

Registered Specialist, Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care

Trudi is a New Zealand veterinarian and Massey graduate who after starting her career in the Waikato in mixed practice, headed off to the UK for the obligatory period of locum work and travel. She returned to NZ and after a short period in small animal practice in Auckland, moved to Melbourne to pursue a 2-year position in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care at the University of Melbourne teaching hospital. She stayed at the University for 10 years before returning to private practice, initially in Melbourne and then in Auckland. She is currently working with the Waikato After Hours Veterinary Hospital and at The Referral Centre in Hamilton.

Trudi is committed to post-graduate education and helping practitioners deal with critically ill and emergency cases. Trudi has a particular interest in analgesia, ventilation and multi-trauma cases. She presents several postgraduate courses for the Sydney University Centre of Veterinary Education, including the Distance Education course in Emergency Medicine.

Trudi has memberships of the Australian & New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Anaesthesia and Critical Care, and in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care and was the first person to achieve Fellowship in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care in 2008.


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 as day or outpatients.

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

  • Unstable diabetics, DKA
  • Endocrine cases: Addisonian crisis, unstable Cushing’s disease
  • Oxygen dependant cardiac and respiratory cases
  • Major trauma cases: hit by car/truck/tractor, serious dog fight wounds
  • Severe 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

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 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 Trudi at The Referral Centre on 0800 Vet Expertise (0800 83 83 97). There is no charge for this service.

If a more in-depth discussion is required, you can forward the case history and any diagnostic results to trudi@thereferralcentre.co.nz Trudi will review the information and phone you back as soon as she is able. A consultation fee of $120 will be invoiced to your clinic for this service.

Critical care consultations are $180, payable by the client at the time of the visit.

After hours consultations are available for selected cases, and can be arranged by contacting the Waikato After Hours Veterinary Hospital. Out of hours consultations start at $320.

Dr Sylvia McLean | BVSc BAgSc (Munich)

Dermatology Services

Sylvia graduated with a BVSc from Munich University in 1983 and moved to New Zealand later that year. Having worked in Christchurch in several companion animal practices, in 1987, she become the owner of the St. Martins Veterinary Clinic in Christchurch.

As early as the late 1980s, Sylvia developed an interest in dermatology. As a result, she was sponsored by Ethical Agents to attend the first World Congress for Veterinary Dermatology in 1989 in Dijon. Sylvia became a member of the European College of Veterinary Dermatology in 1995 and attended several of their annual congresses. She also completed a Diploma in Veterinary Dermatology at the University of Melbourne with Ralph Mueller and Sonya Bettenay in 1997.

After meeting with Duncan Graham, Sylvia set up the first dermatology referral service in the South Island of New Zealand at her Christchurch clinic. This service still exists today.

In the past 2 years, Sylvia has attended multiple international conferences and workshops with the purpose of bringing the latest developments of this ever-changing field into her referral work. In 2016, Sylvia completed a distance education training programme over 10 months to upgrade her previous studies. She is currently working with Duncan Graham in his referral practice.

Dermatology is Sylvia’s main area of expertise and her focus for the future. She has now expanded her referral services to include Auckland and Waikato clients. Sylvia will be available for dermatology referrals on a monthly basis at CareVets Parnell, The Vet Centre Pukekohe and the Waikato Afterhours Veterinary Hospital.


Skin disease can be highly uncomfortable for pets, frustrating for owners and time consuming for veterinarians who work in day-to-day practice. Very commonly, owners seek a second opinion when they become frustrated with their pet’s ongoing or recurrent skin disease. Referral is an important option in resolving skin conditions, eliminating frustration and retaining clients trust.

Initial appointments with Sylvia will be 60-90 minutes. Clients should be advised that an estimate for the 1st visit will be $150-300 and will include in-house lab testing.

Clients can expect a complete review of their pet’s previous history, in-house diagnostics and a treatment plan that might include elimination of dietary causes. Clients will need to be committed to their pet’s care, as the management of skin diseases requires regular progress examinations and adjustments to the treatment plan until a long-term tailor-made management plan is created. Sylvia will remain in contact with clients during all stages and once their pet’s skin condition is stable, the referring veterinarian will continue with the on-going care.

Initial follow-ups will happen via phone calls or e-mails.

Detailed notes with diagnostic results and treatment plans will be provided to the referring veterinarian.

Email. skinvet@thereferralcentre.co.nz
Phone. 0274 387 818 or 0800 Vet Expertise (0800 83 83 97)

Dr Boet Vermuelen | BVSc


Boet is an African born Kiwi who received his BVSc from Massey in 2004.  He started working in mixed animal practice in New Zealand before moving to Queensland, Australia where he developed a strong interest in Orthopaedic surgery. It was here that he completed post graduate studies in Orthopaedics, soft tissue and ultrasonography.  Since moving back to New Zealand several years ago Boet has worked as a referral surgeon in Auckland, Hamilton and Gisborne.  He has a special interest in cranial cruciate disease and complex fracture repairs.  Boet has a passion for surgery and pet care and has a great following with pet owners and referring veterinarians.  He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys tramping and fishing.  He lives with his wife and their 3 children on a lifestyle property in Auckland.

Boet is available for free phone or email advice; surgicalvet@thereferralcentre.co.nz on surgical cases.

Email. surgicalvet@thereferralcentre.co.nz
Phone. 021 083 31906 or 0800 Vet Expertise (0800 83 83 97)

Dr Richard Lucy | BVSc MANZCVS (Radiology) Cert VC DipVCS


Richard graduated from Massey University in 1992 and initially worked in private practice throughout NZ.  He returned to Massey as an Assistant Lecturer in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care.  Whilst at Massey he gained his MANZCVSc in Radiology before spending three years overseas working in a busy metropolitan practice in London.

He then worked at Sydney University as the Senior Medical registrar for 2 ½ years (including sabbatical at the Royal College in London and completing his RCVS certificate examination in Veterinary Cardiology) before returning to private practice in Auckland and Hamilton.

Richards interests in comparative cardiology and desire to further his training by examination in ultrasonography lead him to retrain in human echocardiography.  He spent 2.5 years in the cardiology department at Christchurch Public Hospital and completed the Diploma of Medical Ultrasonography echocardiography course.

He has now returned to veterinary medicine and runs a busy South Island wide referral service offering cardiorespiratory, echocardiography and ultrasound services in Christchurch. Richard also runs ultrasonography training courses, works with Boehringer Ingleheim Vetmedica, GE ultrasound and has applied for Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Cardiology status.

In his spare time, Richard entertains his young twins, slaves away on his lifestyle block and enjoys the coast, rivers and mountains of the South Island.


Richard is available for radiograph, ultrasound and ECG interpretation.  A verbal and/or written report will be provided as required. Digital images and scans can be emailed.  Radiograph films need to be sent via courier or post bag (tracked) with a postage paid bag so the films can be returned. Cardiorespiratory case consultation via phone and ultrasound training is also available on request.

Email. diagnosticvet@thereferralcentre.co.nz
Phone. 021 071 5911 or 0800 Vet Expertise (0800 83 83 97)

Dr Ivan Aleksic | BVSc MANZCVS (Medicine)


Ivan graduated in 1993 from Belgrade University in Serbia. He moved to New Zealand, passed the National Veterinary Exam and was registered in 1997.

Ivan continued to study and in 2002 passed Memberships of the ANZCVS in Small Animal Medicine. 

Ivan has a passion for ultrasound and attends as much CE on the topic as he can, including hands on practical workshops.

In the last few years alone he has attended the World Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas in 2015 where he did a practical ultrasound workshop returning in 2017 for another workshop.

He completed the University of Sydney CVE basic and advanced echocardiography course and workshop in 2016; attended WSAVA in Denmark in 2017 and Singapore in 2018 and has just last week returned from a 7-day intensive basic and advanced echocardiography workshop at the Sydney University CVE

When he is not attending conferences, Ivan plays as much squash as he can. 

Ivan has appointments at The Referral Centre every Tuesday and Wednesday.

Urgent ultrasounds can also be accommodated on other days. 

Dr Martin Earles | BVSc, MANZCVS (Medicine and Surgery of Unusual Pets)


Dr Martin Earles is a Tauranga raised veterinarian and Massey University graduate.  He started in small animal practice in Auckland, before moving back to Tauranga where he has worked since 2000.

Martin has developed a special interest in avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery since 2010. In 2019 passed exams to become a Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in the subject of Medicine and Surgery of Unusual Pets.

He is a member of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV), Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) and Association of Avian Veterinarians – Australasian Committee (AAVAC).  He will be initially available on Tuesdays and Fridays at The Bay Referral Centre for exotic and avian consultations and surgery.  This includes rabbits, rodents( guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats and mice), reptiles (lizards, turtles and tortoises), amphibians, ornamental fish and bird species (pets, aviary birds, backyard poultry and pigeons).

Rachel Dellar

Hydrotherapy and Rehabilitation

Hydropaws is devoted to canine rehabilitation, health & fitness. Our primary aim is to improve quality of life for your dog.

Hydropaws offers a holistic approach to canine care integrating land and water based rehabilitation therapies to promote good health and mobility, performance and recovery from injury and surgery allowing dogs to live life to the full. Please do get in touch to see how we can help your patients.

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

Email: rachel@hydropaws.co.nz

Hamilton Based Only

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