Throughout my career in veterinary medicine, I have practiced both in numerous facilities as well as practicing as a mobile veterinarian since the mid-eighties. I have discovered that those vets who choose housecall practice have a unique insight into the health of the pet living in the home environment. While obtaining the history of my patient, I find myself looking around the home for factors that might contribute negatively to their health. I observe the interaction between humans and other animals. I see, smell, and feel the environment. My history is affected by the situation in the home. In contrast, the clinic veterinarian is only able to hear and believe what is told by the owner in the exam room.
The number one reason people state as to why they chose a housecall is the negative experience simply getting to the hospital. People report that their pet becomes very agitated, eliminates all over, becomes aggressive, or causes considerable damage to humans or themselves. The majority of these pets, when examined in their home, remain calm and friendly when trust is gained and are gently handled. Even the most fearsome pets can be examined, permit laboratory sample collection and receive treatment without sedation. Sedation can be used if there is no other option and can safely facilitate needed care.
Behavioral issues almost always require a home visit to observe the pet while exhibiting the undesired behavior. At the time of the visit a remote pet-cam video recorder may be strategically installed to further determine cause and effect. In multiple pet households where behavior problems may be complicated and magnified it is particularly beneficial to manage and treat in situ when the natural balance of interactions can be assessed. The advantage of a veterinarian Provider over a trainer or behaviorist who may or may not be licensed, is the ability to rule out medical problems masquerading as a behavioral problems can be ruled out before pursuing behavior modification or treatment. Many times the busy hospital practitioner is limited in time, and as in human medicine is more likely to throw a psychotropic medication at the problem.
In summary, the unique perspective of the housecall veterinarian combined with the reduced role of stress on all parties involved, makes home pet medical care a valuable and often necessary choice. Please feel free to comment on your experiences with housecall service and what services you would like to have handled at home.