Veterinarians traveling to treat animals are nothing new, volunteers Monica Turenne, DVM, of Four Paws Veterinary Wellness. "In the past, visiting vets were mostly for large farm animals, and, when the vet would visit, people would ask, 'Hey doc, while you're here, can you vaccinate my dog and cat?'"
What is new are local vets whose entire practices are based on in-home care for household pets. Annie Staebler's Ann Arbor Mobile Vet was the first two years ago, and Turenne followed last year.
Turenne says the timing was right: "The road was already paved for the move to an all-house call practice … People and pets needed veterinarians to come to their homes for euthanasia or because their pet could not leave their home or they themselves could not get to the vet."
Turenne and Staebler both say their primary motive for going mobile was their desire to provide physical exams, blood draws, vaccinations, hospice care, and euthanasia free from distractions like phone calls and emergencies. (They refer emergencies, as well as surgical, x-ray, and dental cases, to brick-and-mortar clinics.) But with no building rent, expensive equipment, or large pharmaceutical inventories, mobile vets also have significantly lower start-up and operating costs. Both vets employ a licensed tech and spend an average forty-five to sixty minutes at each appointment. They say exam costs are comparable to those of other vets', plus house call fees of $25-35 (or mileage for longer trips).