This column is different to normal.
It’s inspired by one of the saddest sights in Hanwell - the recently boarded up RSPCA animal clinic, now permanently closed.
Concerned about where animals that would have been taken there are getting treated, this column focuses on places where, if you are on benefits, you may be able to get reduced cost veterinary care if your pet is sick.
All of the places mentioned have eligibility criteria which must be met. If you find you don’t meet the criteria but have a sick pet and are short of money, it can be worth phoning private vets as their prices vary and also, if needed, they might be able to help with a payment plan.
The RSPCA’s Putney Animal Hospital (6, Clarendon Drive, SW15 1AA Tel: 0300 123 0716) provides low cost veterinary services for companion animals. Eligibility criteria include that you must be in receipt of at least one state benefit from their list.
You also need to live in their catchment area. They are open 9am-5pm Monday – Friday for appointments.
At other times, they are open for emergencies but please call before attending. The hospital has a 24 hour telephone advice service for customers.
Also organised by the RSPCA, the Southall Cat Adoption Centre (Burket Close, Southall UB2 4JS. Tel: 0300 123 0746) has three clinics a week where, if you are eligible, they will see domestic pets by appointment.
Since the closure of the Hanwell Clinic, facilities at this centre are being expanded so that, in the New Year, it will feature more highly in the portfolio of services the RSPCA provide.
The RSPCA Hillingdon Clinic (16, Crescent Parade, Uxbridge Road, UB10 0LG) provides help for sick animals by appointment. Call 01895 231 435 to see if you are eligible. They do not offer out of hours care.
Blue Cross Hammersmith
Blue Cross has an animal hospital at Hammersmith (Argyle Place, King Street, W6 0RQ Tel: 0300 777 1800) and Victoria (Sheppard House, 1-5 Hugh Street SW1V 1QQ. Tel: 0300 777 1890). Again, eligibility criteria apply including relating to postcode and needing to be on a means-tested benefit from their list.
If you are a new client, you can only register up to two pets at a Blue Cross hospital or clinic. In an emergency, if you need out of hours care, it is provided at the Victoria hospital but you need to phone 0300 777 1890 first.
If you do not live in the catchment area of a Blue Cross hospital but you’re on a state benefit that is on their list and your pet has an eligible health problem, you might be entitled to a grant under their Veterinary Grant Scheme.
For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0300 777 1988 or see the Blue Cross website.
What affordable insurance options are available?
If you can afford insurance, the PDSA has an insurance scheme you could consider.
If you have a sick pet, and want help from the PDSA, they advise you to either call their helpline on 0800 731 2502 or visit the PDSA website to see what services are available in your area.
If there is no PDSA clinic near you, it is possible they may have an arrangement with a private vet who could help you or you may be eligible for a grant from their Pet Treatment Fund.
This column has focused on where reduced cost veterinary care is available if your pet is sick.
If your pet is not sick but needs free or reduced cost neutering, there are other organisations who could help such as The Mayhew Animal Home (Trenmar Gardens, NW10 6BJ. Tel: 020 8962 8000) or the C4 Cat Neutering Scheme.
Meet Eli the Cat
Finally, let’s turn to a cat who knows more than most about the alterations being made to the RSPCA’s Southall Cat Adoption Centre, as his pen at the centre overlooks the work being done.
Eli has been at the centre since April and he’s getting fed-up.
The moment I went in to see him, he came over to me and we watched the ongoing alterations together.
He’s very friendly and although he can be cheeky at times, he’s only young and he’s been waiting for a home since April, so he’s bound to wonder if there’s more to life than this.
If you can home this stunning boy, you can meet him at the RSPCA Cat Adoption Centre, Burket Close, Southall.