Is my pet eligible?
Our subsidised animal clinic in Cambridge is exclusively for “means-tested” benefits and pet owners who cannot afford private vet treatment and who live in our catchment area.
If you wish to use the clinic you MUST bring proof of benefits or paperwork (such as a bank statement which shows that you have a very low income) each time you visit.
If you are unable to bring your pet yourself it’s fine for a helper to bring them for you, but the helper must show proof that you are in receipt of benefit and needs to have a signed note from you confirming that they are bringing the animal on your behalf.
How much does it cost?
There is a basic £18 charge per visit, plus the cost price of any medicines prescribed for your pet.
The basic £18 charge per visit is payable to the RSPCA Cambridge and we use it to cover part of the cost of paying for vets to staff the clinic. Even though the university charges us less than a commercial rate, we do still need to pay for their services. We now accept card payments as well as cash or cheque.
Charges for medicines are paid directly to the University of Cambridge vet school. The vet school takes cash, credit or debit card payments but cannot take cheque payments.
If your pet needs an operation it will be charged at cost price, excluding the value of the operating surgeon’s time. On average this means that you only pay half of what it costs the branch to provide treatment for your animal.
Which animals can you treat?
The Cambridge clinic can treat most common domestic animals, but we do not have facilities for reptiles, poultry, exotic birds or farm animals.
If your animal belongs to a group that we cannot treat at the clinic, it may be possible for us to provide some financial help to enable them to be seen at a private vet. If you live inside our branch area, you can phone 07742 658 086 for advice about help. Otherwise phone the national control centre on 0300 1234 999.
What if my pet needs help out of hours?
Registered clinic patients only are eligible for out-of-hours emergency treatment. This is charged at a higher rate than normal sessions in order to prevent the service being abused for non-urgent cases.
If your animal is registered with the clinic and has an infection which cannot wait until the following day, you should phone the number on your registration card for advice on what to do.
We can vaccinate dogs, cats and rabbits at the below prices.
If possible, please try to bring animals needing vaccination only to the Wednesday session. This relieves pressure on the other open surgery days so that ill animals can be seen more quickly. Also, it reduces the risk that your puppy or kitten could pick up an infection from sick animals waiting in the surgery.
|Kittens and puppies
|Booster 3 weeks later after the first vaccination
|Cats and dogs
|Additional boosters that should be given every year
Please note: If your cat or dog has a litter and you plan to sell the puppies or kittens it is unfair to other owners to use our clinic for their vaccinations. You should charge the purchasers enough to cover the cost of the initial vaccinations at a private vet. Our staff have instructions to refuse to vaccinate litters of pedigree puppies where they have reasonable grounds to believe that the puppies will be sold for profit.
Cambridge is a very high-risk area for myxomatosis, which is a distressing and almost always fatal disease of rabbits. The virus which causes the disease can be transmitted from wild rabbits to tame ones by biting insects such as mosquitoes without any need for direct contact. It is therefore extremely important that all pet rabbits are vaccinated to protect them against this killer disease.
Cambridge is also a high-risk area for canine parvovirus which causes vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding from the intestines and is often fatal. Vaccination will protect your dog, but remember that vaccinations need to be maintained with yearly boosters to be fully effective.
If your dog is not vaccinated and starts vomiting or has diarrhoea DO NOT let them mix with other dogs and phone your vet for advice. If you have more than one dog, keep the sick one away from the ones who are still healthy. Contact your vet by phone for advice before getting the healthy dogs vaccinated - they may be carrying the disease and it is important that they are not brought into contact with other dogs.
Neutering will prevent your pet from having unwanted litters (remember that pet shops do not always sex animals correctly). It also has health benefits for most animals, such as greatly reducing the risk of tom cats contracting diseases from wandering and fighting other male cats. In the case of rabbits, neutering makes it possible for a male and female to live together and this is usually a much more harmonious pairing than two females or two males.
To put your pet on the waiting list for neutering, you need to bring them to the Wednesday session, for a pre-operation health check. There is a £10 charge for the health check and then another charge, paid to the hospital, on the day of the operation.
Helping out at the animal clinic
To see what life is like at the RSPCA Cambridge animal clinic, take a look at our YouTube video:
All of the reception staff who handle the clerical work at the clinic are unpaid volunteers. Clinic reception involves dealing with sometimes very distressed people in a high-pressure environment and our receptionists are very special people.
Space is limited, so it is only possible to have maximum of two new volunteers per session. New volunteers generally start by sitting in with an experienced team, then gradually do a greater variety of reception tasks until they feel confident.
We are looking for an additional volunteer on reception for Wednesday mornings. We are also keen to hear from anyone who would be willing to transport animals to the clinic from private vets where they have received initial first aid, and from the clinic to our kennels, or to foster homes. See our RSPCA Cambridge volunteers page for more information.