As many pet owners know, a trip to the vet is not always a day at the dog park.
To ease the process, a few animal hospitals in Northwest Indiana and the surrounding areas offer mobile veterinary services to serve the need of their clients — human and furry.
Bobbie Smith, manager at Arbor View Animal Hospital in Valparaiso, says there are various reasons its mobile veterinary service is so popular. “Probably our No. 1 reason is the pets are too big for the owners to get in themselves. Sometimes it’s a 100-pound lab that people aren’t able to get into the car, or the animal is not ambulatory.”
At-home veterinary care can reduce stress on patients.
“Definitely an at-home visit can sometimes lower their anxiety. If we can see them in their home, it’s worth a try on an animal that’s very anxious,” said Smith. “In cases where it doesn’t help the pet’s anxiety, it’s probably safer to bring the animal in in case we need to do some sedation or anesthesia. But if the animal is more calm at home and it works better for both of us, that’s perfect.”
During an at-home veterinary visit, the doctor and technician can perform wellness exams, sick exams, collect blood and stool samples, and offer euthanasia.
Coyne Veterinary Center in Crown Point offers at-home wellness exams and vaccinations, as well as other services, according to practice manager Jordan Moffett.
“A lot of people use it for older dogs that have a hard time leaving the house or injured dogs. At-home euthanasia is also very popular, so they are comfortable in their home environment. It’s more comfortable for the families, for the pets, they can mourn their loss in their own home,” Moffett said.
According to Smith, the in-home veterinary services are popular.
“We probably get at least three or four a week,” she said. “ It’s really all about the pets and what we can do to make the vet experience more enjoyable. If it’s in a home setting that’s great if the owners don’t have the ability to get them in and out of the car.”
Arbor View also offers a pick-up and drop-off service to assist those pet owners who may not be able to easily transport their pet to the animal hospital.
“We just started meeting the needs of what our clients are asking from us and it seems to work out pretty well for everyone,” Smith said.
Though the in-home services are convenient, they have limitations.
“We may not have availability for a house call the same day,” Smith said. “It’s easier to fit in a 20-minute appointment here than to incorporate a 30-minute drive there, then a 20-minute appointment, then a 30-minute drive back.”
Another limitation is geographical. “We have to stay in Indiana, and we usually don’t go any farther west than I-65,” Smith said.
Coyne Veterinary Center in Crown Point serves its home city as well as adjacent municipalities, Moffett says. “If you’re not a neighboring town, then we would refer you to one of our other clinics.”
Their other locations include Portage, St. John and several in Illinois.
According to Smith, because the at-home services require a doctor and at least one technician to be out of the office for a significant period of time, there is a travel charge in addition to the medical fees.
But for those not in need of a doctor, there are other options, Smith says.
“We even have some technician calls where people just need us to go out and trim nails. It’s more cost effective since the doctor doesn’t have to go.”
Arbor View's services are not limited to furry patients.
“All our veterinarians are trained in exotic animals,” Smith said. “There’s really nothing we won’t see here. We see pot-bellied pigs and pythons, we even had a 13-foot long anaconda.”
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