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Mobile Veterinary Service for Dogs and Cats

WebMD answers commonly asked questions about housecall veterinary services for dogs and cats.
By Sandy Eckstein
WebMD Pet Health Feature

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.

 

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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?

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 environment.

 

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.

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