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December 31, 2014

PetSafe® Expert

Denise Piaskowski, DVM, MPH

Veterinary House Calls

Is it hard to find time in your busy schedule to take your pet to see the veterinarian? Does your pet get stressed while in the veterinary clinic? Do you have multiple pets, making a trip to the vet difficult? If so, then a house call veterinarian may be the answer for you!

While most people know that large animal veterinarians travel to see their patients on the farm, many people aren't aware of the growing number of small animal veterinarians who will come to your home to examine your pet. House call veterinarians can be found in large metropolitan cities as well as less populated areas, and these veterinarians will see dogs, cats, and sometimes birds and exotic pets.

house call veterinarianWhat does a house call veterinarian do?

House call veterinarians can do most of the same things that are done in a clinic setting. Some of these veterinarians have mobile clinics set up in vans or modified recreational vehicles, which can be equipped with surgery suites and x-ray machines. Other house call veterinarians work out of cars and do all appointments in the home, referring pets needing surgery or hospitalization to local brick and mortar clinics.

House call veterinarians can treat a wide range of problems seen in pets. Minor illnesses, such as skin or allergy problems, eye problems, and stomach issues can be addressed in a house call. Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney disease, and seizure disorders can be diagnosed, treated, and monitored in a home visit. House call vets also provide all aspects of preventive health care, including wellness exams, vaccinations, deworming, flea treatments, and microchip placement. They can also provide weight management programs and perform various lab tests like blood work and urine testing.

Can house call vets deal with behavior problems?

Behavioral problems can also be diagnosed and treated in a house call. Observing the pet in their normal surroundings can be very helpful in the management of behavioral problems, and many house call vets provide this service to their clients.

Hospice care, quality of life exams, and home euthanasia are services that house call veterinarians offer as well. Many times, it is difficult to make the last final decision for your pet, and a house call vet can assess your pets in their normal surroundings and help guide you through this decision making process. It’s always difficult to say goodbye to a beloved pet, but doing so in the comfort of your own home lets your pet remain in familiar surroundings and lets you grieve in privacy. Home euthanasia is a very compassionate alternative to taking your pet into a busy clinic for this last final act. Most house call veterinarians are able to arrange for cremation services if requested.

skittish cat with house call vetWho would benefit from a veterinary house call?

Veterinary house calls offer many benefits over trips to traditional brick and mortar clinics. For example, house calls are much less stressful for pets since there’s no need to leave the comfort of their home. House calls also minimize the risk of pets being exposed to infectious diseases, which is especially important for young and senior patients. Many house call vets offer flexible scheduling, including evening and weekend appointments, making it easier for people with busy lives to get veterinary care for their pets. A house call also eliminates the hassle associated with transporting your pet to the clinic and can be especially useful for large dogs, cats, and geriatric patients.

House calls are much more personal than clinic visits, and the veterinarian can provide one-on-one time with you and your pet without any of the distractions that commonly occur in a veterinary clinic. This personalized time lets the veterinarian address all of the problems or concerns you may have about your pet and provides an opportunity for you and your vet to develop a closer relationship.

How much is a house call?

Most people are surprised to find out how affordable a house call can be. House call vets charge a travel fee to compensate for the time and gas required to get to your home, but the prices for other services are usually comparable to clinic prices in the area. Many people find veterinary house calls to be a very good value, especially considering the personalized attention both you and your pet receive!

If you’re interested in finding a house call vet near you, your local state veterinary medical association can direct you to veterinarians providing this service in your area.

Written by

Denise Piaskowski, DVM, MPH

Denise Piaskowski, DVM, MPH

House Call Vet

PetSafe® Expert

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