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

Receiving your pet's medical care from a housecall veterinarian has certain advantages.

1. It's less stressful for your dog or cat. Some animals don't like to ride in the car and they may get carsick.

Once they arrive at the veterinary hospital, many animals are anxious or over-excited in that environment, making evaluation difficult.

JaRoop, at right, rarely misses the opportunity to relieve his bladder and have a healthy bowel movement when he is placed in the car in his carrier.

2. It is more convenient for you. This is especially true for people with disabilities or limited mobility, people who can't drive, people with multiple pets, and people with small children.

At left, we see Angel and Java, two of my patients who are much more relaxed at home than they were in the vet hospital.

3. It saves time. For people who are busy and have lots of demands on their time, a housecall vet who comes to you saves you from the necessity of taking the time to load up the animals, drive to the animal hospital, sign in with the front desk, and wait in the lobby to see the doctor. Any "waiting" you do with a housecall veterinarian is in your home, where you can get other things done or just relax.

4. Animals may have problems that make it especially difficult to transport them. For example, it can be hard to get a large dog with a severe lameness into your automobile, or an animal might have seizures that are aggravated by car trips or the sights and sounds of the animal hospital.

Kai, pictured at right, was so sick he could barely move. He was a big dog, and getting him in and out of the car was a chore, especially with him not helping. It turned out he had hypothyroidism, easily diagnosed with a blood test at home. He responded well to treatment.

5. It might be more useful. Evaluating an animal in the home environment will yield more information on his or her behaviour and on what the potential health risks are. There is more time for a real one-on-one consultation. All your questions will be answered and together we'll create a custom-made plan for your pet's health.

6. It's more fun. A home visit is less formal and everybody's more relaxed. We can have the consultation in your kitchen, in the back yard or patio, by the pool, or wherever your and your pet's favorite place is.

Spot, on the left, thinks fun is always the best option.

7. When the sad time of euthanasia comes, most people would prefer to have it done at home, where the pet is comfortable and where it's more private.

That's Fred on the right, hiding behind his favorite plants in my house in Ft. Collins, Colorado. I had Fred while I was in veterinary school. Fred died in 1988, 2 weeks before I graduated, of Feline Leukemia Virus. Dr. M. K. Kline, who is now the premier veterinary oncologist in Tucson, was an oncology resident at the time and did absolutely everything possible to help me save him. Feline Leukemia Virus has gotten more controllable since then, and I'm committed to helping Tucsonans keep it from infecting their cats.

Fred was a rare and beautiful spirit, and I'll never forget him.

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© 2005 Lee Fike
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