Most people understand what a veterinary hospital or clinic is but when we tell people that we are a mobile veterinary service we often get a look of confusion. We have been asked if we do emergencies only or if we drive around in a trailer, with a mobile hospital. Although these types of services do exist, it’s not quite what we do. In fact we usually can not get to patients fast enough to deal with an emergency and we don’t treat animals in our minivan. Even clients who call us for our services have tons of questions.
Why do you practice veterinary medicine this way?
Each of us has worked in busy veterinary hospitals in the past and although we all loved our jobs we felt like something was missing for us. We knew that we were helping animals and caring for families but once we started mobile services it opened a whole new way of practicing. We feel better equipped to get to know our patients and how they actually respond to their environment and day to day stressors. We are able to spend more time in a more relaxed environment to gain more in depth assessments.
We also realized that this service benefited so many others. We are able to go to our patients and their families, rather than have them come to us. Busy families have been able to save time. People with mobility issues are better able to care for their pets’ medical needs and pets who are anxious do not need to get into a scary car or meet up with people or dogs in a strange environment that might make them fearful or aggressive. We find a sense of fulfillment in helping all of these pets and their families.
We offer a comfortable, private setting for difficult conversations and end of life including euthanasias. At home we have found that families are more comfortable and able to talk openly without fear of judgement. After difficult conversations or the loss of a pet there is no need for a distraught pet owner to drive home when safety could be a concern. This has always concerned us and so it is with relief and compassion that we feel blessed to be able to offer this service.
What services do you offer?
We offer a full range of services for our patients but in particular Dr. Henderson is certified in animal hospice and palliative care and has extra training in physical rehabilitation and pain management. This allows us to focus on geriatrics and end-of-life care in a more specialized manner. Below is a list of services we offer to our patients:
- Geriatric Examinations and Consults
- Palliative Examinations and Consults
- Quality of Life Consultations
- Decision Making Consults around End-of-Life
- In-Home Euthanasia
- Basic Grief Support and Referrals to Grief Support Professionals
- Hospice Care including Hospice-assisted natural death
- Animal Physical Rehabilitation at home including Laser Therapy and EMS
- Annual Examinations
- Preventative Care including Parasite Testing and Preventions.
- Medical Examinations and Consultations (diagnosis and treatment)
- Screening Abdominal Ultrasounds
- Nutritional Consults
- Weight Management Consultation and Plans
We will make the appropriate referrals for surgery, x-rays, dental procedures and hospitalization.
How do we find you if you don’t have a building?
You can contact us whichever way is most comfortable to you. We accept phone calls, texts, e-mails, even social media messages. We will respond as soon as we are able and take the time to answer your questions.
So what do you do all day? How do you care for animals if you don’t have a building?
We’re so glad you asked. We book an appointment at a convenient time for you and come directly to your home! There is no need for you to drive, to pack the kids into the car or to worry about your pet anxiously pacing or vocalizing on the way. You can be preparing dinner while we examine your pet.
We travel as a team, veterinarian and assistant, meeting our patients and their families in their own homes. Once we are invited in we take some time to settle in, allowing the pet (and sometimes the family) to relax and calm down. While getting to know everyone, or catching up, we get a medical history and set up any supplies that we need. We bring many of the tools that you would see at a brick and mortar clinic.
At this point we are able to perform an exam on the pet which includes a full physical examination from head to toe. We get a weight on one of our scales. The doctor examines their mouth and looks in their eyes and ears with an ophthalmoscope and otoscope respectively. She checks their skin and listens to their heart and lungs, as well as palpating their belly. The pets muscles and nerve responses are checked and a temperature is taken. We can do this on the floor, a chair, or sofa, or sometimes on a table. If the pet requires lab samples we can collect them right there in the comfort of their home. If a screening ultrasound is required, we can do that too! We spend our day traveling from one home to the other, caring for pets in a gentle manner where they are most comfortable and in conjunction with family members we create individualized treatment plans to meet the needs of each pet and their family.
What do I need to prepare?
You don’t really need to prepare much, unless you think that your pet will hide from us or if you would like a special area, pet bed or blanket for your pet. If your cat tends to hide we recommend that you confine them to one room where it is difficult to hide such as a small bathroom before we come. If your dog may be fearful or aggressive you may want to have them on a leash until they calm down. Otherwise we bring everything that we need for your appointment.
How long will it take?
Our appointments are usually 1-2 hours depending on the type of appointment and your needs. We are not in a rush and take the time to build a relationship with you and your pet. We want your pet to experience as little stress as possible and we allow them to come and go with as many breaks as they need.
Where are you located and what area do you cover? Are their other services like yours?
We are located in Caledon, Ontario Canada. We offer services to the communities surrounding Caledon such as Kleinburg, Woodbridge, Brampton, Nobleton, Schomberg, Tottenham, Beeton, Maple and King City.
For those of you not in our area there is a good likelihood that there is someone close to you who also offers mobile veterinary services. If you think that this is something that would suit you and your family why not check it out. Each mobile practice works a little differently and offers different services but most of the mobile veterinarians that we know are eager to introduce themselves and let you know how they can help.
How long have you been doing this? I’ve never heard of it before.
At Caledon-Vaughan Veterinary House Call Services, each of us has been in the veterinary profession for many years but Dr. Henderson started this mobile practice in 2012 and has loved watching it grow as we support more and more families each year. We all truly love what we do and are grateful to get the time to build lasting relationships with each of our families.
If you’d like more information about our service please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can call or text us at 416-894-3871 or e-mail us at email@example.com.
There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honour your calling. It is why you born and how you become most truly alive.Oprah Winfrey
Authors: Catherine Bryant and Dr. Janet Henderson
Congratulations on the new blog. So informative. I would love to learn more about animal behaviour. For example, why does my dog always take her first bite of food and spit it out on the living room rug then go eat in the kitchen and then go back to the living room for the last bite??
Hi Crystal, Thanks for your interest. I’m not a behaviourist but maybe someone else will be able to answer the exact reason why your dog would do this. It is pretty common. Maybe she is keeping some in safe keeping in case someone tries to steal her food from the kitchen, or maybe it is just a game for her. Stay tuned for some enrichment ideas to keep her thinking and active during meal time.
I think a mobile veterinarian is a great idea, especially for things like microchipping which are simple procedures. It is true that this service would benefit others because of busy families who have been able to save time. It also helps pets who are anxious.