Referral FAQs

We welcome calls or emails for consultation on all cases prior to referral. We are happy to evaluate radiographs ahead of time to determine the best course of action for a given patient. This is done at no charge when only a verbal report is requested. For surgical referrals, we often perform same day surgery and encourage patients to be fasted at the time of the appointment. A CBC, biochemical profile and UA (+/- culture) are indicated for most elected orthopedic patients. Thoracic radiographs are generally recommended for patients older than 8 years and in all cases referred for cancer surgery. A critical evaluation of the skin is very important to prevent cancelation on the day of surgery due to pyoderma. Preoperative radiographs are helpful, but may need to be repeated if positioning or technique is not ideal. For cases being referred for joint replacement, we will need digital radiographs to have a calibration marker, so most will need to be repeated. Call 406-587-3996 or email to schedule surgery. You may also create an account through our online portal to refer patients to us. This can be found by visiting or by clicking on the Referral tab at our website

NOTE: Bridger Veterinary Specialists is a “FAX FREE” hospital. We only accept emailed records or your clients may hand carry hard copy radiographs and written records if you are unable to scan/ email.

There is often a broad range depending on the amount of time in surgery, the medications required and the number of days patients stay overnight. It is our general philosophy to overestimate and refund vs. underestimate and surprise. It is always our preference to keep patients hospitalized for a night after surgery but often perform outpatient surgery at the clients request or if we feel it is in the best interest of the patient. We will always offer clients options to try to make surgery affordable for them. If at any time you have ay questions regarding a specific case we are happy to consult ahead of time and try to give as accurate of an estimate as possible.

Medial to lateral radiograph with affected limb placed down. The stifle and tarsus are at 90 degrees and both joints can be seen.

PA radiograph: The patella is central with fabella equally split. Both tarsus and stifle can be seen on the radiograph. The limb is allowed to sit “naturally” with no torsion placed during positioning.

We will provide you with a copy of the discharge instructions provided to the client and a summary of the care. It is our preference to see clients through the recovery period. If distance makes follow-up with your clinic preferable to the client, you may email radiographs for our interpretation at no charge. Typical recheck radiograph times are 6-8 weeks.