People from my generation have probably heard the term "house call" but have never actually seen or had one. It is a throwback to a time when we all weren't in such a big hurry and and there was a nod to the fact that customer service could be good for the bottom line. I don't think I ever actually had a doctor come visit me at home, and I doubt a generation or two younger than I (at least here in the U.S.) even believe that there was a time when a doctor ever would come to your home.
Well, that may not exist for our medical industry, but today my dogs got to experience a house call. My friend and former boat broker Pete (who, by the way, I'd still recommend highly and I think may be the hardest working man in the boating industry) told us of a veterinarian in St. Augustine that does most (all?) of his work as house calls. While we currently have a car and can easily take our furry kids anywhere, there will be a time when that is not the case. Knowing that we can have a vet come to us is a great thing.
Reason for the vet visit was two fold. First, we wanted to make sure we had the dogs on the right preventative medications. In Colorado we have ticks and mosquitoes that can carry a few diseases, but things like fleas aren't a problem. In more humid environments where it just doesn't go below freezing that often (that is one of the reasons we wanted to do this after all), we could imagine that there are all sorts of new maladies that could befall our unsuspecting furry crew members. The second reason is that our older dog seemed a bit stressed during the trip and we wanted to make sure everything was OK since she has had some ongoing medical issues.
The vet arrived on time for our 1 pm appointment (Ok, he was a few minutes late, but I attribute that to the over zealous new security guards they've hired here at the resort). He came right out to the boat and we talked for a bit about the dogs history while sitting in the cockpit. Then he gave each dog a physical and we talked more about nutrition, preventative medications for the areas where we wanted to travel, dealing with high heat, protecting doggy eyes from the sun, and other issues. All in all I think the vet spent over two hours with us...I think the longest vet consultation we've ever had and we've gone to some very good vets in the past.
The vet seemed very knowledgeable about a variety of general veterinary topics and gave us a lot of good information to keep our kids healthy. He was also able to prescribe the needed medications and supply them right from his mobile "office". As he even noted, we "are pretty savvy pet owners" so I think we are pretty good at telling when we've found a top notch vet...and I think we have.
Cost wise, especially for a house call and the amount of time he spent with us, we thought it was very reasonable. There was a $55 (U.S.) "office visit" charge, the physicals were about $50 each, and the medications were inline with prices we found on the internet for the same medications. This is only a few dollars more than the vets back home would charge when we took them into the office for what was often a very brief encounter with the actual vet.
So, if you have pets in need of a veterinarian and happen to be somewhere in the St. Augustine FL. area, you might want to give Vilano Mobile Vet a try. Oh, and our dogs...they are doing just fine. I think they are enjoying the fact we are around more and will take them to fun places like the beach...which the doctor recommended we do often (so I think Madison and Tucker recommend the vet too).