For pet owners

Once your primary care veterinarian has referred you to the Veterinary Referral Center, a team member will call you to discuss your needs and schedule an appointment. The team member will do their best to match your schedule with our clinic schedule.

On appointment day

  • Please arrive on time for your scheduled appointment.
  • If your pet is currently receiving medications, please bring all medications in their original containers with pharmacy labels with you.
  • Please keep your pet restrained at all times.
  • Plan to provide important information about your pet's medical history, diet, physical activities, and any recent behavior changes during the medical evaluation. This information can be of great help to our veterinary team.
  • Please write down any questions you have for our staff, so that all of your concerns are addressed.
  • We will be requesting records from your primary veterinarian prior to your appointment.
  • If your clinic utilizes digital imaging, our facility would prefer, when at all possible, to have the original DICOM images.

Billing and payment

The Veterinary Referral Center seeks to keep you updated on the costs of care for your pet. If your pet is hospitalized, you will be given a cost estimate for at least the first 24 hours of care. This initial estimate may change if your animal needs more care or testing. Your doctor will update your estimate daily, if needed. If you do not receive this information, please ask your veterinarian to explain costs.

The VRC requires a payment of 75 percent of the initial hospitalization estimate before we can provide care. If extra services or testing are needed, we will require further payments before providing the additional care. You must pay the remaining balance in full upon discharge. If your animal is receiving outpatient care only, you must pay the bill as you leave. Payment options include cash, checks, credit cards, and CareCredit.

What if I can't afford to pay?

The VRC operates as a business, with the state of Minnesota covering less than nine percent of our budget. Our board-certified specialists and diagnostic equipment mean that our fees are often higher than those of smaller clinics. We make every effort to charge reasonable fees and will work with you to find ways to pay, but we cannot treat your animal without payment.


If you live in the South Metro area and your pet needs emergency care when your primary veterinarian is unavailable, University of Minnesota Veterinary Referral Center suggests you take your pet to: