When your dog isn’t feeling well, the last thing you want to do is deal with the vet’s office. Your furry friend can panic when you add the anxiety of a busy waiting room and other nervous dogs on top of his illness.
If you want a vet’s expertise without the hassle and stress of heading into the animal hospital, there are now veterinarians who come to your house for more personal and convenient service.
They’ll come to your house for more personal and convenient service.
We talked to Los Angeles holistic house-call veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney to find out how mobile practices work and what these vets can and cannot do from the comfort of your home.
How It Works
Mobile veterinary practices for large animals have been common for years, but house-call services for companion pets are now on the rise. Some vets even have fancy mobile units equipped with many of the tools in a physical office, performing spay/neuters, dental cleanings, and general surgeries.
“There are many issues which can be addressed on a house-call basis, while others are better managed in a facility,” Dr. Mahaney says. “Physical examination, sample collection—blood, urine, feces—for diagnostic testing, vaccine or medication administration, ear flushing, nail trims, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, and euthanasia are generally able to be offered at home.”
Vet services that are usually best suited for the office?
- IV fluid administration
- Radiation and chemotherapy
Some animal emergencies can be taken care of at home, such as:
- Diarrhea and nausea
- Eye and ear infections
- Skin irritations
- Assessment of sudden onset lameness
“Sometimes the emergency is the urgent decision to end a pet’s life after long-term illness has compromised quality of life, so I offer euthanasia services when needed,” Dr. Mahaney adds.
If you’re wondering how to find a vet who makes house calls, you can search this directory for house-call vets in your area.
When It’s a Good Idea
If you have a dog who has difficulty moving around, a house call might be in order. When Dr. Mahaney first started offering house calls in 2008, the majority of his clients were senior arthritic dogs.
“Transporting a dog already having issues with pain to and from the veterinary hospital for a pain-relieving procedure seemed less than ideal than the typically low stress, calm, and familiar environment of one’s own home,” Dr. Mahaney explains.
Skittish dogs can also benefit from in-home care and multi-dog households might find it easier to have a vet come to them. And if you’re looking for a more in-depth, personal experience, a mobile vet can be the way to go.
“My practice is a very personal one and my clients appreciate the individualized attention and open communication I provide,” Dr. Mahaney says. “I get to know my clients very well on a long-term basis and often work with multiple pets within the house.”
When a patient has a health issue that could be better addressed through a veterinary specialist, Dr. Mahaney refers them someone he works with in order to remain a part of the management and communication process.
Pricing and Other Info
Pricing varies on location, services offered, and urgency of the visit.
A San Francisco mobile veterinary practice lists prices on their website from $25 for single vaccinations to $200 for blood work to $800 for a complete dental cleaning under anesthesia. Follow-up exams are listed at $100, but initial consultations are not priced.
Gold Coast Veterinary Services in Connecticut says an average visit runs around $300. The 30-45 minute initial consultation runs roughly $150 with a surcharge of $107 for emergency cases.
Community Pet Outreach in Dallas, Texas offers basic services like vaccinations for as little as $12 and microchipping for $40.
At Home Veterinary Services in Portland, Oregon charges $164 for a house-call exam, labwork from $80 to $250 and in-home ultrasounds ranging from $500 to $1200.
The Bottom Line
Vets who come to your house are now more commonplace, and that’s a welcome relief to pets who panic when seeing the doctor in the office. While mobile vet services are generally more expensive than visiting a hospital, they aren’t too outrageous—after all, you’re paying for convenience and more personal treatment, which is worth it to some pet owners.