I am a house call veterinarian. There are many, many similarities to the practice of veterinary medicine done in a brick and mortar practice like I have worked in for decades. I continue to work in standing practices, and those hospitals are key to the making my practice full service for my patients, such as the ability to perform x-rays, anesthesia and surgery.
It is the differences in a mobile practice that are, in fact, the most important aspects of what I do. There are things that I see in a patient’s home environment that aid me in diagnosis, treatment, and truly making the best recommendations for my patients. Seeing how and where they live, and how capable their pet parents are of complying with my recommendations is key in the success of treatment. I have clients that have physical limitations, not allowing them to drive to a practice, whose lives are immeasurably fuller with pets in their lives. I have patients so arthritic, that even getting into the car is an ordeal. I have anxious patients, who often do not even need sedatives that they previously depended upon to walk in the front door of the practice. I have mothers of young children whose days are made a little easier by not having to bring the entire family along for a visit, usually at nap time for someone. And then there are cats, who mainly prefer to be left alone at home. I wouldn’t say they all welcome me with open arms (or paws), but I can say that the whole procedure is over much more quickly, and occurs more smoothly, than it would have been if they needed to make the trip in a carrier.
The most significant services that I perform are in home euthanasias. If it is determined to be the most humane course for a pet, I have found it to be a very comforting process for the family and the pet at the end of life. Not everyone agrees, but for those that do, and have had this service in their homes, they agree that the process was easier than being in an unfamiliar environment. It is the final gift I feel that I can give to those patients and families that I have grown to know and often become close to.
House calls may not be right for everyone, but they are often a convenience that truly makes a difference in the busy lives that we all seem to lead. If you think that it is a service you would need or prefer, you should check with your vet to see if they offer the service, or look into a mobile vet in your area. It is always worth trying, so see how your pet reacts to this option if you are unsure. You may be pleasantly surprised.