Mobile vet service expands
A veterinary service that visits its animal patients rather than put them through the stress of visiting a clinic, is growing in size and popularity.
“Home visits are less stressful for the animal and the owner, compared to them coming to the waiting room and mingling with other animals,” said Lucy Richardson, co-owner of Cedar Tree Vets.
Increasing demand for home visits has resulted in the Devonshire-based veterinary practice now adding an assistant vet to its team.
The concept of bringing the consulting room to the pet and its owner, rather than the other way around, came to Dr Richardson when she experienced the stress of waiting around at a doctor's office with her young son.
“We got delayed and my boy was getting stressed; I was getting stressed, and I started thinking how much I would pay to get out of this and have someone come to see me instead.”
She said it also got her wondering about the animals that she saw as a vet when they were brought to the clinic and had to wait to be seen.
“I got the idea that they were getting stressed coming in, and being in cages and being around other animals. That made me wonder if we could do anything better.”
The train of thought led to the idea of a veterinary service that primarily makes home visits to see pets with their owners.
Dr Richardson, who graduated from the University of Edinburgh, initially tried out the idea with friends who had pets to see if she could do the job as a mobile vet.
Soon afterwards she recruited nurse Lyndsay Terceira, a qualified veterinary technologist, who added momentum to the service and helped re-evaluate everything.
“Because I now had someone to hold the animals, that helped to take the business in a new direction.”
Cedar Tree Vets caters for “companion animals”, which includes cats, dogs, hamsters, birds and horses. Three years ago the business acquired a property on Tee Street where it is now based. There is an equipped animal clinic were low numbers of pets can be seen for surgery, one or two at a time. In-house surgery and digital radiotherapy, ultrasounds, dentistry, and physiotherapy are among services offered.
But the practice mostly concentrates on taking its services into the community through home visits. Explaining the difference in experience for animals who are seen at home, rather than visiting a veterinary office, Dr Richardson noted that cats would have a raised heart rate of 200 beats per minute when they were at a clinic, compared to 150 bps when they were seen at home.
“They are not being stressed by a car ride and being in a box.”
Being in proximity to other stressed animals at a clinic also adds to a pet's stress levels. Dr Richardson said this can make it harder to “see through” the stress and tension to the pet's underlying ailment. That issue is overcome by home visits, where the animal and owner are comfortable in familiar surroundings.
She praised her strong team that have helped make Cedar Tree Vets a success. She said: “I work with the most fantastic women. They are a very good team. Lyndsay, my nurse, has brought so much to the table and so much to the role. Phyllis (Madeiros) is the receptionist and she joined about 1½ years ago. She is very compassionate to the animals.
“Dr Erin Jackson joined a few weeks ago. I needed help and did not want to slow down the practice. She is a compassionate person.”
She also mentioned the solid support of her husband Mark Richardson, who is co-owner of the business and managing director.
Cedar Tree Vets' collective compassion for animals was seen earlier this week when, in the aftermath of the Devonshire Marsh fire, it offered free check ups on any animals affected by the fire, such as those experiencing breathing difficulties.
The rapid growth of the practice is in direct response to the increasing demand for home visit veterinary service. Speaking about that success Dr Richardson said: “It was something I had never expected in my wildest dreams.”
Cedar Tree Vets can be contacted on 333-7077. There is a website at www.cedartreevets.com and a Facebook page at Cedartreevets