What is the difference between a house call and a visit to the clinic?

Waiting Room
Exam Room

Heart to Home Veterinary Services provides a throwback approach to veterinary medicine while providing convenience for modern day pet owners. House call services are most notable in veterinary medicine on the large animal side of practice where patients are too large or too many to easily transport; hence it was customary for the vet to come out to the farm for veterinary care. It is not uncommon, even now, for large animal veterinarians to also treat dogs and cats while on a farm call. As veterinary medicine and the popularity of owning companion pets grew, it became apparent that veterinarians could see significantly more animals in one day if they came to a single location for care. Today, this is the industry norm in small animal veterinary medicine.

You will find a few similarities between a visit to the veterinary office and a house call visit. Initially, we start the same by discussing your pet’s history and your concerns. I provide a comprehensive physical exam and carry with me the tools of the trade, a stethoscope, scale, ophthalmoscope to check eyes, and otoscope for ears. We are able to provide vaccinations and collect samples for a variety of laboratory tests. The Fuzzbucket, our traveling exam room (check out the blog here), is outfitted with a microscope to check ear and skin samples for infection or abnormalities, and centrifuge for processing bloods samples for submission to the lab. I carry inventory to treat many common issues that may ail your pet and for those medications that I do not carry, we will work together to source those and get your pet what they need. 

One of the major differences is that a house call service provides the convenience of staying in the comfort of your own home rather than blocking off time in your day to travel to and wait at the veterinary clinic. Much like other home services, the convenience allows you more time and flexibility. In addition, a house call affords more face time with me, your veterinarian, to discuss your concerns. I want to make sure we take the time so you understand what is going on with your pet and feel confident and comfortable with the information shared. Consequently, the cost of a house call is understandably higher than a standard office call at the vet clinic that you have to travel to. With that being said, that is the only major price difference you will find. We are competitively priced with local brick and mortar clinics for our other services, laboratory testing, and medications. 

There are some limitations that need to be considered when thinking about scheduling a house call visit. It is best to think of Heart to Home Veterinary Services like a clinic, not a hospital. Very much like you would go to see your regular doctor for a checkup or other non-urgent ailments and go to the hospital for more urgent injuries or illnesses. We cannot hospitalize patients, take x-rays, or perform procedures that require anesthesia in your home or in the Fuzzbucket. Under circumstances where these needs are required, we can work together to find the best option to receive the proper care. It is important to note that we are not an ambulance or have the ability to provide emergency care that requires immediate results. These cases are best addressed at the nearest emergency clinic (see here for more information). 

No one enjoys waiting unproductively when there are more pressing matters to attend to at home. With our house call services, the waiting room is your living room so you are free to carry on with your day. We understand there is a balance between convenience and the value of your time. We make every effort to stay on schedule and arrive at the appointed time. However, there are sometimes delays, such as traffic, that are beyond our control. We will do our best to contact you as soon as possible to keep you posted on any delays or in the event we can arrive earlier. Please give some leeway for early arrivals or unforeseen delays. 

I hope this answers some questions for those inquiring minds. I realize there are many things for owners to consider when choosing a veterinarian and I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

See you soon!

Dr. Debbie Anello

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