I have written before about the benefits of being a house call veterinarian and being a house call client, but perhaps the most important “being” in the house call equation is the patient. MOST of us do not look forward to going to see our doctors and our pets feel pretty similarly so here are just a few of the reasons that they might also opt for a house call.
Here are the top five reasons for becoming a house call patient:
1. Rides in the car are then associated with fun only. This is nice for all involved but in particular for pets who get nervous in the car. This also is helpful because when a pet is sick and feeling more prone to nausea, pain or hypersensitivity, driving in a car may exacerbate all of these feelings.
2. Less stress! There has been a huge push in the veterinary world to do our best to provide “Fear Free Visits” for our patients. It has been demonstrated in innumerable ways that fear/stress has a number of physiological implications and psychological effects on animals when they enter a hospital for an appointment. Fortunately hospitals have made many changes in their processes to diminish these effects, but for pets who are easily stressed, house calls are a great option. The ease of the visit on them–familiar bed and toys nearby when things get stressful–the time spent in the visit is pretty short comparably, and there is virtually no “waiting” for the visit to begin.
3. Less exposure to other sick animals. By being seen at home, particularly when one is sick and potentially immunosuppressed, there is less chance of picking up anything from other sick pets.
4. There is greater accuracy in blood results and physical exam findings. As mentioned previously, there are many animals who react with fear to their visits to the hospital, which can affect things including temperature, blood pressure readings and glucose levels. While your pet may not have an inherent opinion on whether they care about the accuracy of their exam, they definitely care about not getting their temperature taken or blood drawn again.
5. For pets who are prone to aggression, particularly around other animals, being treated at home not only diminishes the exposure and the wind-up anxiety they can experience during their appointment, but it also decreases the stress the pet parent often passes on to their pet in that situation.
As veterinarians, we try very hard to make a visit to the hospital as easy, pleasant and fear-free as we can for our patients. For some pets, it is a joyride all around, and they love the experience. For those who do not feel that way, house calls are a wonderful alternative.