St Francis Veterinary Group
Lee Fike, D.V.M.

Basically, there are only three things that can't be done during a housecall.

At right, we see my friend Dr. Mark Revenaugh, house- and farm-call veterinarian extraordinaire, working at a New Jersey facility that cares for animals who appear in movies.

1. Major surgery. This needs to be done in a hospital with all the right sterile instruments, anesthesia machines, and hi-tech monitoring equipment. I use the surgery facilities in a colleague's hospital when necessary.

All kinds of animal dentistry, including teeth-cleaning, dental surgery and extractions, and dental X-rays are included in this category, since they all require general anesthesia.

It's important that our small veterinary patients are closely monitored as they recover from anesthesia in a warm and comfortable environment.

2. Hospitalization of sick animals.

Here we see a dog that's being kept in the hospital in order to administer intravenous fluids over the course of a day and a night. That's not something one can do at home.

If your dog or cat requires hospitalization you'll be referred to a 24 hour care facility.

We can, though, give subcutaneous (under-the-skin) fluids at home to animals who need to be rehydrated but aren't sick enough to require IV fluids.

Common examples include cats with kidney failure and dogs that ate something that makes them repeatedly throw up.

3. Imaging.

We can make X-rays at one of my colleague's hospitals if necessary. If we need ultrasound exams, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized axial tomography (CAT scans), or any other advanced imaging technique, it will mean being referred to a specialist.

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© 2005 Lee Fike
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