Indiana mobile veterinarian takes pet care on the road
Instead of coaxing his three cats and sheltie into the car to travel to the veterinarian, Carmel member Jon Stowell relies on his mobile vet to travel to them.
Since 2011, his primary vet for everything from routine vaccinations to tooth extraction has been Dr. Erin Zaring of highly rated Curbside Care Mobile Veterinary Clinic. Her clinic is based in Zionsville, Ind., but travels to treat patients in a specialty RV built as a fully-equipped, mobile vet office.
“My animals have always known when they’re going to the vet,” Stowell says. “This is just a way different experience.”
The two Indianapolis-area mobile veterinarians, both on the northside, are part of a growing breed of animal doctors who bring their veterinary offices to the homes of their clients.
In their mobile vet units, they offer pet exams, surgery, blood work, shots, X-rays and most routine animal care.
“I can do everything on the road that I could do in my office,” says mobile vet Dr. Jason Herrmann, who started Noblesville-based Mobile Veterinary Care in 2004.
Herrmann serves the north and northeastside of Indianapolis up to Anderson, Ind., making five to six stops per day as a mobile vet to see animals at their homes. He also has a brick and mortar vet office location and second veterinarian to help with emergency cases and additional appointments. He charges a $52 trip fee to cover travel time, but otherwise, his prices compare to other area vets.
Zaring, who founded Curbside Care in 2010, services the northside of Indy and northern suburbs — a wider net, she says, than she’d be able to serve if she had a veterinary practice at one location instead of a mobile veterinary unit. She charges a flat trip fee of $49 and also offers the range of pet services any small vet clinic would. The mobility also allows her to make observations about the home life of the pet that may affect treatment plans and to offer options like in-home euthanasia.
“Any pet is going to benefit from the mobile care because they are less stressed, they don’t have to ride in a car or wait in a waiting room,” Zaring says. “You really do feel like you’re walking into a regular vet clinic — you forget you’re walking on an RV.”
Dena Baker, founding director of the American Association of Mobile Veterinary Practitioners, says mobile vets still represent a niche within the veterinary profession, but they attract pet owners who might not go to a traditional vet office because of physical limits, time constraints, or desire to avoid stress for their pets.
When Indianapolis members Barry and Patricia Dreikorn’s 26-pound semi-feral cat Semaphore needed vet care and later to be euthanized, they knew he wouldn’t go into a carrier.
Instead, Mobile Veterinary Care came to their home near Fort Harrison State Park. “We were amazed when we saw the [RV],” Patricia says.
While it won’t replace their primary vet, she may use him for another of her cats, Merck: “He locks his knees and you cannot get him into the carrier.”