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 veterinarian.
You've probably heard urban legends about the elderly lady who has dozens of cats, the guy who collects snakes and never leaves his house, or someone who spends thousands on clothes for their pet.
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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 people’s homes.
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?