Hit the Road! The Benefits of Mobile Veterinary Practice title
By Zach Mills, DVM

he love of animals is one of the driving forces in the veterinary profession, but with the increase in demand for veterinary services, the added work can become overwhelming and veterinarians have less time to spend with pets in our clinics. In addition, veterinary professionals must deal with pet and caregiver stress, along with personal stress, and there is not enough time to meet demand, often leading to burnout.

DVM Stephanie Wolf is one of many veterinarians who experienced burnout when she worked at a clinic. Aside from the workload, she said that the emotional rollercoaster between appointments was a big contributor: “You’ll go in one room and give really bad news, then in the next room you’re delivering puppies,” Wolf said. “It was really emotionally intense.” This stress ultimately motivated her to leave her job at a clinic and join a mobile veterinary company, where she was able to maintain a healthier work-life balance and significantly reduce work stress.

In addition to reducing the risk of burnout, the mobile veterinary model has proven to provide the following benefits as well.

dogs with a heart iconMORE 1-ON-1 TIME WITH PETS
In a veterinary clinic, there are many demands on a veterinarian’s time, one of which is back-to-back appointments. There’s only so much that one can focus on in an examination room. Veterinarians don’t get the chance to sit down and deliver quality time with a pet that’s in the clinic because they have to rush to help another pet.

At-home veterinary care allows more time for veterinarians to spend with clients and patients. Distractions such as ringing phones and waiting room noises can be eliminated. Veterinarians in mobile practices can provide their undivided attention and care to their patients.

Veterinarians can also provide personalized care, such as suggestions on how to make home improvements to better accommodate pets with special needs. This personalized care from mobile practice puts less pressure on veterinarians, and provides the pet caregivers a sense that they are receiving the best care possible.

dogs in a home iconPETS FEEL SAFER AT HOME
Veterinary visits are necessary for pets, but these visits can be stressful. Over 75% of dogs show signs of fear on the examination table,1 and more than 70% of cats show signs of stress in the waiting room before they get to their appointment.2 At-home care provides a safe space where pets can get the care they need without stress and anxiety. Assessing a relaxed pet versus a stressed and fearful one allows veterinarians to have a more accurate understanding of a pet’s health and can help catch problems earlier.

This benefit is more pronounced with senior patients that might struggle with difficult car rides to the clinic. Some mobile clinics also provide at-home, end-of-life care, where pets are in a peaceful environment and surrounded by loved ones.

telephone with a medical symbol in a speech bubble iconHELPS CLINICS BE LESS BUSY
According to our DVM Stephanie Wolf, when she was still working at a vet clinic, 80% of cases she saw were “care cases that don’t need that escalation.” She further explained, “I would say only 5% of what I saw was a true emergency right now.”

During times when clinics are overwhelmed, by providing non-emergency support at home, pets who need immediate care are more likely to get the necessary help they need at clinics. In turn, veterinarians are reducing burnout for themselves and those around them.

person with a heart iconYOU HAVE MORE “YOU” TIME
Veterinary burnout can be caused by excessive workload. Veterinarians with a mobile vet practice, however, are in more control of their time. Veterinarians with some mobile companies schedule no more than eight at-home appointments per day. And by reducing distractions and the number of patients seen during the day, burnout can be reduced and allows veterinarians to do what they love doing—delivering the best care possible to the animals in our lives.
  1. Döring, D., Roscher, A., et. al. (2009). Fear-Related Behaviour Of Dogs In Veterinary Practice. Veterinary Journal (London, England : 1997), 182(1), 38–43.
  2. Todd, Z. PhD. How Many Cats Are Stressed at the Vet? (2016, Jun 22) Companion Animal Psychology.
Dr. Zach Mills headshot
Dr. Zach Mills is an executive-level animal health leader with expertise in veterinary professional services, strategic alliances, business development, strategy, and innovation, with experience in international, corporate, academic, and military contexts. Dr. Mills has worked in the professional veterinary services of four leading animal health companies and served as Head Veterinarian and Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for companion animal business for two companies. Professionally, Dr. Mills is the vice president of medical performance for The Vets, an at-home veterinary service operating across the United States.