Having a vet come to you to treat your pets at home is becoming ever more popular. As of February 2007, requests for House Call vets at VetLocator.com is up 22% over the same time period last year.
Here are some things to conside before deciding whether a house call vet is right for you and your pet.
What is a house call veterinarian and how is this different than a traditional vet?
A house call veterinarian differs from a traditional veterinarian in that the vet comes to your home to treat your pets instead of you and your pets traveling to see the vet.
There are two types of 'traveling vets'. One type is a veterinarian that is part of a clinic or hospital, and that clinic provides in-home treatments such as routine checks, heartworm treatments, flea and tick repellent, vaccinations and some also provide holistic and alternative treatments as well. In this case, you might have different vets come to treat your pets at home, since the in-home service is provided by the clinic or hospital and not by a specific vet.
The other type is a mobile veterinarian who has a whole clinic set up in a specialized van. This type of vet can often provide the majority of services delivered by a traditional clinic or hospital including x-rays, etc. and normally has a clinic or hospital he or she works with when there are services required that are best administered in the hospital.
You should ask how the house call vet is set up when requesting they come to you.
Why do people choose house call vets over taking their pet to a clinic or hospital?
Here are some common reasons to choose a house call veterinarian over taking your pets in:
The number one reason owners and house call vets give in providing their service is the much lower stress level for both the pets and the owner.
- You have multiple pets and the hassle of getting them all to the vet is too much. It is easier for the vet to come to you to see everyone at the same time.
- Your dog or cat gets very stressed riding in the car.
- Your pet does not do well around other animals, either because of fright or aggression.
- Your pet does not like traveling to see the veterinarian.
- Your pet is just too ill or unable to move or travel easily.
- Having your pet around other sick animals makes you worry your pet can get ill through exposure.
- Your schedule is too tight to get to your vet's office. House call vets can have a more flexible schedule.
- You no longer drive and have no way to get your pet to the vet.
- Convenience. Since the veterinarian comes to you, you don't have to load your dog or cat into your car and drive, you don't have to wait in an uncomfortable waiting room with other pets, you don't have to keep an eye on your kids, your pets and the other pets in the room.
Is there a cost difference?
Depending on the veterinarian and the service, there may be an additional charge for house calls. However, this is not always true. Despite the very personalized service, housecall veterinarians are not necessarily more expensive than traditional vet. Mobile vets usually have a lower overhead since they don't need to maintain a full clinic. You will need to check prices during your conversation with the house call vet and compare them with a clinic or hospital.
Housecall veterinarians do have limitations relative to traditional veterinary practices, and there are things you should be prepared for should you choose to allow one to care for your pet.
- The first is if you have a pet emergency, it is better to bring your pet into a clinic or hospital right away. There are too many unknowns in an emergency for a house call vet to be prepared for everything that might come up. VetLocator.com maintains a list of 24 hour emergency pet hospitals searchable by zip code should the need ever arise.
- If your pet requires major surgery and x-rays, most house call vets will request that you bring your pet into a clinic or hospital for these. Again, because of limited space and staffing house call vets have, these things are best done at the hospital.
- If your pet requires hospitalization or constant medical attention the vet will make arrangements with the hospital or clinic that they work with for you to bring your animal in so it can have proper after-hours care. Many laboratory tests will take one day to run so the house call vet will normally call you with results (same as a regular visit to a clinic or hospital) once the lab test are done.
- Scheduling. Since a house call vet provides personalized service by traveling to a pet's home, the number of patients they can see is less than what can be seen in a clinic or hospital. Sometimes this can create a delay in your pet being seen quickly.
House call vets provide many positives to easing the stress and hassle of a traditional clinic or hospital. The cost for this service might be a bit higher than a regular clinic or hospital, but the convenience may outweigh the costs.
If you choose to work with a house call vet, make sure you check on what services he or she can provide as well as check references of other pet owners who use their services. Also make sure you know what hospital they use for emergencies and other lab or hospitalization work.
To find a list of House Call vets in your area, simply visit http://www.vetlocator.com/housecallvets.php.
Copyright 2007 VetLocator.com
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