What are the advantages of using a housecall vet?

This service is primarily designed for two types of pet owners:   

1. Owners unable to bring their pets into veterinary clinics because they are unable to drive, do not own cars or cannot clear their schedules for a veterinary visit in the middle of a work day.

2. Owners with multiple pets, pets that are nervous or difficult to transport, clients with older pets that are difficult to get into and out of the car and clients seeking end-of-life care who wish to spend their last moments together with their pets in the privacy of their own home.

Regardless of whether you fit these descriptions, you’re welcome to contact HouseCollar Vet – many of my clients simply prefer the convenience that housecall care offers them, the comfort it offers their pets and the personal touch that comes with at-home vet care.

Note: Housecall services are not suitable for aggressive pets or owners unable to restrain their own pets.



What should I expect from a housecall appointment? 

New appointments can be scheduled by phone. Please leave a message if you reach my voicemail, and I will return your call as soon as possible. 

After we talk about your pet and the services you may need, I’ll schedule an appointment time to visit you and your pet(s). If you’re a new client, please fax or email me any previous vet records you may have for your pet, or contact your previous vet and ask them to fax or email them to me. This allows me to determine the best options for preventative and continued care before my visit.

If your pet tends to hide or escape, please isolate him or her in a room without hiding places before our appointment – cats especially have an uncanny ability of knowing when a vet is on the way! To start our appointment, we’ll discuss the patient’s health history. It often helps to refresh your pet’s history in your mind prior to the visit since these details can be difficult to remember on the spot, but are important to determining appropriate care.

Next, I’ll perform a complete physical exam on your pet, and you and I will discuss my findings, my diagnosis of any health issues, and my therapeutic recommendations. I have supplies of most injectable and oral medications that may need to be started immediately, and can prescribe additional quantities if needed. I can perform many common tests your pet might need, such as heartworm and feline leukemia tests, in your home; for more specific tests, such as wellness bloodwork panels, infectious disease titers, and urine cultures, I’ll collect samples to send to a laboratory for testing.    

After our appointment ends, I will complete your pet’s full medical record at my office and email you a copy of the invoice within 24-48 hours. I take extra care to write personalized discharge instructions for each pet and will forward any additional material you may need when I send the invoice. Keep an eye on your inbox for these materials and let me know if you have not received anything after 48 hours.

Note: Payment for each appointment is due at the end of my visit. Forms of payment include cash (exact change), check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express).



How long is a typical housecall visit? 

The majority of my housecall visits are approximately 1 hour for the first pet; this is uninterrupted face-to-face “doctor time” where all questions can be answered. Additional pets will take longer to examine – expect up to 30 minutes per additional pet depending on services performed. The longest part of the visit is getting a complete history and discussing diagnostic and therapeutic options. To increase efficiency, I recommend having previous medical records available for review and refreshing your pet's medical history in your mind prior to the housecall visit. An even better option is to have your pet's medical records faxed or emailed to me in advance.



Will a housecall cost more than a traditional vet visit?

Many housecall veterinarians charge slightly more for their physical exam fees because they provide much more face-to-face "doctor time" to their clients. This means any medical questions you have can be discussed with me, as opposed to a technician or receptionist.  

In addition to the examination fee, I charge a housecall fee based on distance from my clerical office in Golden Hill. Most people find that the value they receive in terms of the undivided, personal attention of an experienced, compassionate veterinarian is well worth the cost. This ability to dedicate more time is especially beneficial when evaluating complicated cases that may have many different clinical signs to monitor and treatments to administer, or evaluating criteria to determine whether your pet is in pain and how best to proceed. 

Only one housecall fee is charged per visit, regardless of the number of pets. 

Note: No housecall fee or physical examination fee is charged for euthanasia-only housecalls. 



Can my pet be euthanized at home? How much does home euthanasia cost?

Yes. At-home euthanasia can help you avoid additional stress associated with car rides and hospitals, making this delicate procedure as comfortable for you and your pet as possible. I take pride in the special care that I’m able to offer my clients and patients at that difficult time when euthanasia is the most compassionate decision to make for your pet.

All patients are sedated prior to euthanasia. This injection is given very similarly to a subcutaneous (under the skin) vaccination, and it helps your pet relax and provides extra assurance that your pet will feel no pain or anxiety during the rest of the process. The actual euthanasia solution, an anesthetic agent, is usually given in a vein and takes effect almost immediately.  

The cost for at-home euthanasia is $250, which includes travel to your home, an evaluation of your pet, sedation and euthanasia - with your pet's body left in your care. Evening, weekend and holiday euthanasias are available for an additional fee, and locations outside of central San Diego may incur an additional travel fee of $25-$150.



After at-home euthanasia, what do I do with my pet?

Prior to my visit, you should consider how you’d like to care for your pet’s body afterward. I can arrange for cremation of your pet with Angel Paws Pet Cremation (formerly Friends Forever Pet Cremation). Cost of cremation is based on the size of your pet and whether your choose communal cremation (no cremated remains returned; ashes are scattered at sea) or individual cremation (cremated remains returned in a cedar urn with a name tag, lock of fur and your pet's clay paw print). Please call 619-356-1747 for a personalized quote.

If you choose for me to arrange cremation of your pet, I will gently remove your pet's body after the euthanasia. If you choose an individual cremation, a representative from Angel Paws will contact you to let you know when your pet's remains are ready to be picked up.

If you would prefer to use another pet cremation service, you’re welcome to arrange with them to pick up your pet’s body after the euthanasia. If you would like to bury your pet's body, please verify the legality based on your city's ordinances.



Should I use a housecall vet exclusively?

Some types of care that your pet may need - such as x-rays, surgeries, and dental procedures - can’t be provided at home due to special equipment needs. While I can advise you when one of these procedures is necessary, I don’t have a facility at which I perform them myself, so I may need to refer you to a veterinary clinic for these services. I’m happy to suggest a clinic for you, but if you already have a veterinary clinic that you and your pet are comfortable with, I suggest maintaining that relationship for those situations where an office visit is necessary.

Also, since I run a one-person practice and am often in appointments, driving to and from appointments and on the phone with clients, I’m not always immediately available to answer my phone and make appointments for urgent health problems or emergencies. For rare situations like this, it may be helpful to retain a relationship with a traditional veterinary clinic and/or become familiar with the emergency vet services in your area. But whenever possible, I do aim to be available to my clients and their pets for all their needs.