Most pets don’t like going to the vet. But with some pets, it’s open warfare
when the carrier comes out. At other times, it might be better to have the vet
come to your home, like at the end of your pet’s life. The solution to those,
and other problems, could be a mobile, or housecall, veterinarian. We talked to
Jake Tedaldi, a Boston area housecall veterinarian and author of “What’s Wrong
with My Dog” to find out what people can expect when they use a mobile
Gwyn Donohue of Arlington, Va., was hiking along the Potomac River with her dog, Sundae, in January, when the mixed-breed broke loose and fell through the ice about 25 yards from shore.
Sundae pulled herself out after 10 frantic minutes. Fortunately, Donohue had American Red Cross Pet First Aid training and knew what to do.
To raise Sundae’s core temperature, she wrapped the dog in her down vest and used pet waste bags to fashion a belt to secure it. Back at the car, she continued warming the dog...
Q: What is a mobile, or housecall, veterinarian? Do they have the same
qualifications as a regular veterinarian?
A: Most people are familiar with the concept of a veterinarian traveling
around and taking care of animals. I care for primarily small animals -- dogs,
cats, and the occasional rabbit or gerbil. People make an appointment and I
travel to their homes instead of them coming to me. I’m just like any other
veterinarian, with the same qualifications. It’s simply a matter of how I
choose to practice my craft. Instead of doing it in a hospital, I’m doing it in
Q: Can a mobile vet perform all the same tests and procedures as a doctor
with an office? Do they provide emergency services?
A: There aren’t too many limitations. I can’t perform involved surgeries or
do x-rays in people’s homes, but I can accomplish just about everything else. I
can do thorough physical exams, draw blood, give vaccinations. Pretty much
everything that can be done in a stationary practice can be accomplished in
someone’s home, as long as you don’t need a sterile area or equipment that
can’t be carried around.
Many mobile veterinarians provide emergency services, too. If I feel
comfortable with the emergency that is presented to me, then yes, I’ll go out
at all crazy hours of the night to peoples’ homes.
Q: Does it help evaluate pets if you can see them in their home environment?
Do you see more than one animal in a visit?
A: One of the values of having a mobile practitioner is it’s sort of like
one stop shopping. We can care for all your animals at one time.
And yes, it helps me to see the pet’s habits, the family life, the
Q: If my pet needs care that can’t be given at home, what happens?
A: I have an affiliation with a local hospital. I pay them a monthly fee to
use their equipment and their surgical staff. I have access to other equipment
such as x-rays. But if the pet needs more specialized care than I can provide,
I’ll refer them to a hospital that can treat the animal.