In short, yes. If you ring a vet practice and ask for a home visit, they will often be able to arrange a mutually convenient time to come out to you. We can all appreciate the desire to have your veterinarian visit you at home instead of having to find the time to take your pet to the clinic. But there are some scenarios in which this just isn’t possible, or it’s just not in the best interests of your pet.
Home vet service or a home visit?
It depends on your local vets as to whether or not they are able to accommodate a home visit for you. Some vets aren’t able to provide this service because of constraints on manpower, for example.
Even if they do offer it as a general rule, whilst your vets may do everything possible to see your pet at home, please be aware that they might need you to be flexible. A veterinary clinic can often have a number of emergencies that arrive at the same time and this could mean that your veterinarian has to help another poorly pet before they can get out to see you.
Alternatively, there are a growing number of independent, dedicated home veterinary services running these days. Often made up of one or two vets, with or without the assistance of a veterinary nurse. This can be an ideal option for clients whose routine vets can’t offer a home visit service. These services are complementary to your own vets because many of them will not be able to offer out or hours or emergency care to your pet, in which circumstances you’d need to contact your normal vets.
Can I ask for a home visit for anything?
This is key and we urge owners to be open-minded when requesting home visits for their pets. Why? Well, put simply, for the good of your pet.
What you may interpret as your dog just being a bit quiet, having had an upset tummy for a few days, we would see as a list of various different things that could be going on. Several of which could be very serious, requiring timely diagnosis (through imaging, blood tests, etc), to give your pet the best care possible.
Your vet might see things from a different point of view, because they have the experience to know that things often aren’t as straight forwards as they might appear. So whilst you might prefer a home visit, if they recommend a trip to the clinic it’s best to follow their advice.
Where we are concerned that your pet will need urgent investigations, we will always recommend that you bring them to the clinic. Similarly, the pets we see through the emergency service are generally quite unwell and require the services of the clinic. Please be aware that most dedicated out of hours services will not be able to offer a home visit. This is because of a duty of care to those pets that are being treated or are recuperating.
The reality is that, whilst home visits are a great option for vaccinations, worming, prescription checks and minor ailments, they may not be when your pet is seriously unwell.
Why is my home visit more expensive than in the clinic?
Depending on your vets or chosen home veterinary service, the cost may be more than a normal consultation at the clinic. This relates to the cost involved in having a practice vehicle (such as maintenance, insurance, petrol etc) as well as the indirect cost of removing a vet from the practice during the working day. This affects the overall caseload of the clinic, and the business model as a mobile or home vet service.
Can I have my pet put to sleep at home?
In many cases, this is something that can be arranged. It is often more comfortable for the pet and owner to have these final moments in a familiar place with familiar faces. Give your vets a ring if you think the time is coming and you might prefer to let your pet go at home. Read more about end of life care and how your vets can help during this time in our recent blog series.
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