Vet Visits During COVID-19
This year has brought shelter-in-place orders and caused businesses to close their doors either temporarily or–in some cases–permanently. Vet offices have not been immune to the effects of COVID-19. While many vets are not able to allow animals into their office at usual capacity, pets continue to need routine care and emergency treatments. And, even where vets are operating normally, pet parents may not feel comfortable visiting the office.
How have vets updated their procedures to accommodate pets while complying with COVID-19 protocols?
Many vets have shortened office hours to allow for cleaning and to accommodate staff leave as needed. In a survey of vet professionals in May, 80% reported that they had moved or were moving exclusively to curbside service or drop-offs only.(1) A large number of vets have decided to delay or even cancel non-critical visits, such as wellness visits, elective procedures and boarding services.
Another solution: mobile vets.
Mobile vets are vets on wheels that come to you, rather than having you go to see them. With the current circumstances, mobile vets may provide the solution for those who can’t–or choose not to–visit an office.
How Does a Mobile Vet Visit Work?
There are a couple of models that mobile vets can follow. Some mobile vets keep all equipment in a sort of souped-up vet van that they park for you to bring your pet into for treatment. More frequently, the vet will bring equipment into your home to set up. For this type of visit, the vet will likely ask for you to provide a well-lit area in the home with limited distractions (tv, running children, squealing tea pots).
What services can a mobile vet provide?
Mobile vet services vary, but you could expect to book a routine wellness visit, an exam with bloodwork and vaccines, or x-rays. Some mobile vets may perform spay or neuter services, but many prefer to do any procedures that need anesthesia at an office. Here's a short list of what you can call a mobile vet for:
- Wellness exams
- Spay & Neuter Services
- Skin & Ear Problems
- Fecal & Heartworm Tests
- Blood Profiles
- Minor Injuries
- Health Certificates
- Diagnostic Testing
You can find mobile vets that will also perform euthanasia services at home, where your pet can go peacefully without the stress that a vet office might cause them.
What are the Benefits of a Mobile Vet?
There are the obvious benefits of having a vet who will come to you during a pandemic: you can stay home, you don’t need to interact with other patients or pets, and you may not even have the option to go into your vet.
There are also benefits to a mobile vet under normal circumstances. In your home, the vet gets to observe dogs in their natural environment and might see things they wouldn’t have noticed at a vet office. In fact, domesticated pets tend to heal faster and respond better to vet care when removing the stress from the commute (2).
How Does the Cost of a Mobile Vet Compare?
The cost of standard check-ups and services themselves should be comparable to what you pay at an in-person vet visit. On top of that, you should expect a travel charge that may be $50-$75,(3) depending on how far the vet needs to travel to reach you. If you’re especially in the middle of nowhere, or it’s a particular challenge to get to your home, you might expect a higher visit charge.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Mobile Vets?
SPOT Pet Insurance does cover mobile vet visits with licensed vets, with the exception of travel costs. Services performed for covered conditions or wellness exams covered under any preventive care plans are eligible for reimbursement. SPOT is happy to be able to extend coverage to mobile vets during COVID-19, helping pet parents keep their pets healthy during outstanding circumstances.
How to Find a Mobile Vet Near Me?
Due to the access that the job requires, mobile vets are usually small local businesses. There aren’t any nationwide vets and only a few franchise models at this time. With this, the best mobile vet option for you will depend on where you are.
If you haven’t heard any recommendations from local pet parents, take it to the google machine. Search “mobile vet near me” and make sure you read reviews, just like you might with an in-person vet.
When you call to set up your appointment, be prepared to provide information about any aggressive or territorial behaviors your pet has. They can provide a list of best practices and services offered specific to their mobile clinic.
We hope you and your furry friend are keeping safe and healthy. And don't forget to get your quick, free quote below.