- We strive to provide complete care for our patients. Learn more about all the services we provide.
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Mobile veterinary care provides a convenient way to meet your pets(s) wellness and minor medical care needs. Often this option reduces stress on pets and owners but it works best when certain guidelines are followed. When a pet is visited and examined in his/her own home, many are friendly and easy to work with. Others may feel more confident and even defensive on “their own turf”. So disclosing to us IN ADVANCE the general temperament of all your pets helps us to prepare for all possible scenarios. Also, if you have young children in the home during our visit, having someone to watch/entertain them while we work with you and your pets will help to reduce confusion and enable us to pay closer attention to your pets.
For wellness care we like to set up in a convenient room in your home for our exams and discussion. If you have a table or counter in a well-lighted room where we can work, this will help us tremendously. We appreciate having our client/patient forms either faxed/emailed to us in advance or readily available upon our arrival. We also request that you have any prior medical and vaccine history from previous vets for each pet. If possible, faxing this information in advance will help reduce visit time and cost.
We usually spend the first 15 to 20 minutes or so going over each pets history and establishing a game plan for the visit. We do utilize a “reduced vaccine protocol” as recommended by the 2011 AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) Vaccination Guidelines and the 2013 AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners) Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel Report. So knowing prior vaccine history and current lifestyle of each pet is very important in determining what is best for each individual pet. Once we have our game plan established for our visit, we will then proceed to doing exams and procedures on each pet individually as discussed. Generally we will spend about 10-15 minutes per pet with our wellness exams. “Minor medical exams” often will take a little longer and involve more extensive discussion. If we do end up spending excessive time trying to capture an animal for an exam, or if discussion/consultation becomes extended, additional fees may be incurred.
For Dogs: If multiple pets (especially small dogs) are to be seen, it is best to have them in a separate room for area of the house when we arrive and bring them one at a time when we are ready to start their exam. Having collars on dogs (and a leash within reach) is very helpful for working with them. Please be sure to warn us in advance of any pets that may be excessively nervous, aggressive or may bite. In such a case we may choose to place a muzzle on them for our safety and to distract them somewhat.
For cats: Please let us know in advance if sedation will be required to handle your cat(s). In such cases prior medical records are imperative. It is often best to put all cats in individual carriers just before we arrive so they are contained and don't run under a piece of furniture. If possible, a hard carrier with an easily removed lid is ideal if the cat is particularly nervous or fractious, so that we can work with him/her and have the calmest visit possible. Placing a towel over the carrier to make it dark and quiet also helps. If your cats become nervous at the sight of the carrier then it is best to set it out in an area they frequent several days before the visit so they are desensitized. It can even help to feed them or give them catnip in the carrier to further reduce their suspicions. Use of pheromone sprays like “Feliway” in the carrier can also help to calm them. If carriers simply stress the cat(s), then confinement to a small room without furniture (like a bathroom) is recommended. We do like to keep things as quiet as possible particularly when working with cats as this helps to calm them, enabling a more thorough exam and making the visit more pleasant and safe for all. In some cases despite our best efforts, we are unable to examine some cats and will discuss options with you. There will still be a call out and exam/consult fee in such cases.
One more thing, since Dr. Craig often works alone, if you are interested in having routine screening bloodwork done on your cat (including Felv/FIV testing) or small dog, please let her know in advance as this will require her to bring along a technician. Otherwise, a second visit may be required.
Senior Pet Care
As pets enter the “Golden Years” of life it can become stressful and difficult to transport them to their regular vet. Large breed dogs, in particular, may have great difficulty getting up and into a vehicle for transport. Smaller animals may also become extremely scared or panicked as their senses of sight and hearing become compromised with age. By coming to you during this stage of your pet’s life, we can help assure that your pet has the medical attention needed to provide maximum health and quality of life for as long as possible.
During a senior exam, we will meet in a comfortable area in your home and we want to gather as much information as you and your current veterinarian can provide so that we understand all of his or her needs and care. So having prior medical and vaccination history is very important. You can fax this to us in advance of a visit or provide it during our initial meeting. We will perform a comprehensive exam for our own records and then discuss recommendation and options for continued care. Often at this stage of life we can work in concert with your regular veterinarian for basic needs that are more easily met at home. If your pet develops an illness that would require transport to your regular vet for either more extensive diagnostics or hospitalization, we may be able to help with the transport.
Palliative and Hospice Care
As with human hospice, pet hospice aims to meet the physical and emotional needs of a pet nearing the end of natural life or with a terminal illness. It also strives to support the family at this difficult time. Hospice functions on the principle that death is a part of life…part of the journey we all must take. Our goal is to allow this journey to be pain free and with improved quality of life until the time comes to pass with dignity.
During our visits we try to use our time to gather as much information as possible about the pet and the family’s situation. We will also perform an exam on the pet to establish a baseline for his/her current state of health. The goal is to assess and improve quality of life for the pet and family so that as much time as possible with your pet is enabled. Often times a visit may last an hour or more, so setting aside enough time for our visit will allow us to establish your goals and help you care for your pet. It is also important that all family members that have a hand in caring for the pet are present so that we can gather input from everyone. Having any prior medical records from your regular veterinarian will also help us determine the best course of treatments for achieving our goals.
End-of-Life decisions are the hardest decisions pet parents face. It is equally one of the kindest gifts we can give to our pets to allow them to pass in the comfort of their homes, surrounded by those that love them the most.
Often times an owner may schedule a visit with the intention of euthanasia, when it may be possible to instead initiate hospice care. Obviously the sooner we are notified of such a debilitating illness, the better our chances are of improving quality of life for what time is left. We are happy to discuss the possibility of choosing this course of treatment, but we will also be very honest in our assessment of the pet’s condition.
If the decision has been made to proceed with the euthanasia then initially we may review the various options available for aftercare and will then take care of payment of services so it is behind us. We suggest that in advance of our arrival you consider the following options:
• Where do you want to say goodbye? (inside, outside, at a favorite place)
• Who do you want to be present?(family, friends, children, other pets)
• What are your aftercare wishes?(home burial, cremation with or without the
return of ashes)
• How can I remember/honor my pet? (clay paw prints, memorial plaques, jewelry)
• Would you like a memorial service during or after the euthanasia?
Once the formalities above are completed, sedation is given to allow the pet a gradual transition to sleep over 5 to 10 minutes. Once the pet is peacefully asleep, a tourniquet is placed and an area shaved for access to a vein. Then a final injection is given that slowly stops the heart. Our primary goal is to make this passing as peaceful as possible for all who are present, most importantly, your pet. We will proceed at a pace that is comfortable and unrushed. It is a time to honor your pet’s life as you say goodbye.
After your pet has passed, we will provide an impression of your pet’s paw in clay, if you desire. We will leave the impression with instructions on how to bake and harden.
For those wishing cremation for the pet, we want you to have the peace of mind in knowing that we only use the services of The Pet Loss Center of Melbourne, FL. We will transport your departed pet to The Pet Loss Center for the cremation service you select. The options are as follows:
• Communal Cremation: multiple animals are cremated together and the remains are scattered in a designated area. With this method, there is no way to have any portion of your pets ashes returned to you.
• Private Cremation: pets are cremated individually and remains are placed in an urn of your choosing. We assure you that there is no possibility of mixing of remains with other pets. In general, owners pick up their pets remains once they have been cremated, but a home delivery may be scheduled for an additional fee. We can review urn options in advance or at the time of the euthanasia.
The Pet Loss Center will treat you and your pet with the compassion and respect any family should be given upon the death of a very special member of the family. They will help to guide you through the grief process that follows such a loss and provide you with many options for memorializing your beloved companion, including memorial service options, urns for your pet’s ashes and personalized memorial pieces. We encourage you to visit their website for additional information at www.thepetlosscenter.com/melbourne-florida
If your pet passes away at home, you may also contact The Pet Loss Center to arrange for aftercare. Their phone number is 321-821-4871.
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