The anatomy of a housecall visit
Making the appointment. You call, you leave me a message. I call you back, we agree on a time for the visit. For flexibility, I will give you a window of time in which to expect me, such as 4-5 pm.
Preparing. You gather your pet’s records and set up a well-lit place for the exam. Generally a large
bathroom works best. Clear the counters and have a couple of old towels
available. Confine cats an hour before my arrival.
Note--please don’t confine cats in a bedroom. It is very
difficult to get a kitty out from under a bed, and somehow that’s just
where they go.
Arrival. I drive up, park at your house and ring your bell. After introductions have been made, you show me where your pet eats, sleeps, plays.
Getting the history: You talk, I listen.
Together, we review your pet’s medical records, including vaccination history, blood tests, medications, current symptoms. I may ask to see your pet’s bed, food, play area.
The exam. I will check your pet's eyes, mouth, ears. I will feel the lymph nodes for enlargement or asymmetry. I will use a stethoscope to listen to the lungs and heart, noting any alterations in rhythm or sound quality. The abdominal palpation will begin just behind the ribs and end under the tail, sometimes even involving a rectal exam. I may manipulate the joints or do more detailed neurologic testing. I will assess your pet’s weight, coat quality and check for external parasites.
The consultation. When I am done with my exam, I will tell you what I found, and together we can discuss the options. I will make notes on my computer, including my recommendations.
What about the cost? You will receive an estimate for any injections, tests, etc so you will have a reasonable idea what to expect before any work is done, and an opportunity to decline services you don’t want. After all, it’s your pet, and you make the decisions.
Next comes the diagnostic and treatment phase. Sometimes this means giving injections, or a blood test, sometimes it’s more a question of changing the diet or starting pain medication. Some animals require only that their owner hold them for this part, others will need a sedative for calming and safety.
What if the pet needs tests that cannot be performed? If I cannot accomplish what needs to be done, I will do what I can and we can work out a plan tailored to your pet’s particular situation. I can refer an animal to another hospital for x-rays or other tests, or for treatment I cannot render, such as ongoing IV fluid therapy.
When does money change hands? Pay me by credit card online with Paypal or write a check before I leave. I will tell you when to expect test results.
You will receive a written copy of my notes for your records.
Finally, after I have gone, you will hug your pet and be so happy you could do all this at home.
You tell all your friends what an amazingly stress-free day it was, and how happy you are to have avoided the hassle of a routine visit to a vet clinic.