I have three articles due Monday, two little nieces icing the cake and my counter in the kitchen and one rescued tortie with a mucus ball the size of The Gulf of Mexico dangling from her right nostril. Try not to envy me. I don’t have the heart to tell the kids they have to stop mid-cake. Nor do I have the patience to coax my car-phobic cat into a carrier and drag us all disappointed (and possibly vomiting) through terrible traffic to the veterinarian. I decide to go rogue and call a mobile vet group with stellar reviews on Yelp.
“We can be there in two hours, will that work for you, Thea?” Asks the receptionist. “OK, ” I manage to mumble back in surprise. Sure enough, in less than two hours hours, soft-spoken Dr. Sabrina Castro and her angelic assistant Bethany Zering are in my living room, gently talking to and examining my sick kitty, Tsunade.
This, for the same price I’d have paid to bite my nails in an overcrowded waiting room, crammed with other poor, sick animals and their equally crazed human guardians.
Let’s look at the four best reasons to try house-call vets and when you might what to go with the traditional vet instead.
“You can rest assured that when you receive in-home veterinary care, your doctor’s attention is focused solely on your pet, not the dog in the other room,” says Ali Shahid, co-founder of Vetted Pet Care.
Dr. Castro spent over an hour at my house gently examining Tsunade, determining the probable cause of her URI (upper respiratory infection) and preparing the necessary medication I’d be giving her for a week.
What amazed me was at the beginning of the visit Dr. Castro and Bethany sat calmly chatting with me as they waited for Tsunade to get comfortable enough to come out from under the sofa. (I wish my doctor would wait for me to calm down and come out from under her furniture when I go see her.)
Most cats loathe going to the vet. If the car ride doesn’t do them in mentally, there is always the waiting room. By the time they get examined, it isn’t pretty.
“Imagine how unsettling it feels to walk into a hospital, all the unfamiliar, frightening sights and sounds,” Shahid says. “That’s how most pets feel when they get to the vet.”
If you: have children, care for elderly parents, have a multi-cat or multi-pet household, don’t drive, have a health challenge, are swamped with work or just need to get a cat immunized on time — at-home vet care may be your sanity saver.
Don’t really have an afternoon free to devote to a follow-up appointment? Some high-tech mobile vets offer in-home FaceTime follow-ups.
It’s hard on everyone, including a caring vet, to have to watch pet owners say goodbye to members of their animal family in a sterile office buzzing with distractions.
More and more vets are offering home hospice care for cats, as well as home visits for euthanasia. This kind of medical support can enable you to ensure your cat’s final hours are spent in his favorite spot with his favorite people by his side.
Home visits won’t work for accidents or acute illnesses.
Occasionally, you come across vets that do pre-scheduled surgeries for clients with cats at home, but the majority of house-call vets are not equipped for emergency room-type services that require the X-ray machines and the medication necessary for E.R. care.
Not all areas have mobile vets yet.
Even if there is a platoon of snazzy mobile vets zooming about your city, your regular office vet may still be, hands down, the best doctor in the area.
Do some online homework, get referrals from friends and try a few house-call vets out to determine who is the best care provider for your fabulous feline.
Visit The American Association of House Call Veterinarians to find out if there is a qualified mobile vet in your area.
Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD, is an arts and culture journalist who spends many a day at her writing desk taking dictation from her two currently mucus-free muses, Tsunade and Totoro.
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