Do you have trouble getting your dog into the car? Or maybe you don’t have transportation at all. Does your dog get carsick? Are you making multiple trips to the veterinarian because you have more than one pet? Or maybe you’re struggling to get all of your dogs into the car and to the vet at the same time because gas is so expensive right now. Perhaps you’re just too darned busy.
For these reasons (and many more!), a mobile vet might be just the solution you’ve been looking for!
Mobile vets (or house call vets) have been around forever, although the regular brick & mortar clinics are certainly more prevalent and well known.
Mobile vets are licensed and must have their facilities — usually a clinic on wheels — inspected regularly, just like a regular vet clinic.
A house call pet facility could be a modified vehicle (like a van, truck, or motorhome), a home office, or basically any place where animals are treated or kenneled.
Many varieties of mobile veterinarians exist, and a mobile vet’s services run the gamut from conducting monthly neighborhood clinics for spay and neuter services, to bringing state of the art equipment to your door for full-service pet care, and everything in between.
Veterinary Clinics vs Mobile Vets
There are advantages and disadvantages to both veterinary clinics and mobile vets — for both patient and doctor.
A clinic DVM can see many more clients in a day’s time and usually has set working hours, but must maintain an office and staff. There is usually at least a modest lab and x-ray equipment on-site, and most clinic doctors will be able to handle any emergency.
A house call vet sees fewer patients in a day, maintains an office-on-wheels, but can have a more flexible schedule and smaller staff (if any at all).
My mom answers the phones for a mobile vet in the Nashville area, who started her business over 20 years ago when her children were very small, and the cost of starting up a regular clinic very large. Dr. Jan found the flexibility of her mobile vet schedule made raising young children much more manageable. And being in the Nashville area, she cares for the animals of several Country Music stars, so my mom occasionally gets to speak to some pretty famous pet owners!
Aside from the convenience of not having to take your dog to the vet’s office, one advantage to a pet being treated in his own home environment is reduced stress — for the dog and you!
There’s also an advantage for the veterinarian, who has an opportunity to see firsthand what your pet’s living environment is like. This could help explain specific allergies or behaviors, for example. A mobile vet will also be able to see your pet acting more normally, without the distractions or interruptions that can occur in an office setting.
Services Provided By Mobile Vets
You might have to check around to find a mobile vet that offers the specific services you need. Most will at the very least offer vaccinations and wellness checkups, but you might need to go to a regular animal hospital for more serious illnesses or surgeries.
That said, some mobile vets these days have large modified vehicles with all the bells and whistles – digital imaging, equipment for surgeries, and much more.
Emergencies, especially after hours, might be referred to your local emergency animal clinic, but a good number of mobile vets do respond to them.
Mobile Vet Fees
Prices for services provided by mobile vets are going to vary — just like prices at regular brick-and-mortar vet clinics do.
One thing to note is the fact that some mobile vets charge a flat rate “per trip” for services rendered, whether they’re treating one pet or more on that particular visit. So if you have one dog or a whole kennel of pets, the per-visit charge would be the same. Of course fees for vaccinations, fecal checks, meds, etc. would be added to that (just like any place), but mobile vet services can be a pretty sweet deal if you have 2 or more animals!
What is the cost difference between going to a vet clinic and having a vet clinic come to you? It is pretty obvious that the mobile vet appointment will need to be a certain percentage higher in order to cover travel expenses and the time that is lost in between appointments. But the return on this investment is, of course, less stress for the animal (and for you), an exam that also includes a more natural observation of the animal in familiar surroundings, and often a more extensive visit with the vet. Source
I’ve Used Mobile Vets Before
If we didn’t live out in the sticks, we’d definitely take advantage of a mobile vet service more often.
The times we were able to have a house call, we appreciated not only the convenience but the more personal attention. Another plus: it’s difficult for my husband to get out much, and this way we could both be involved in our pet’s care and any on-the-spot decisions.
In the event that you’ve been holding off adopting a dog because it would be tough for you to get him to the veterinary clinic, you may want to check out the mobile vets in your area. It might be the happy solution you’re looking for!