This on-demand vet service is a great alternative for New York City pet owners
Kim RenfroJun 16, 2016, 01:04 IST
Kim Renfro/Tech InsiderWatching my cat get a shot wasn't fun, but it was better than visiting a vet's office.
Raising a cat in New York City is no walk in the park. I have two.
Aside from the struggle of finding a pet-friendly apartment to rent, there's the challenge of hauling food and litter home with no car. But the real test comes when I need to take one (or both) of my cats to the vet. Between getting them into a cat carrier, hailing a cab, possibly being rejected from said cab because of my animal accessories, and then panicking about my cat-child's emotional state, it really has become a chore I dread.
That's why I jumped at the chance to use VetEasy - a house call veterinary service that offers general wellness visits and in-home vaccinations for Manhattan pet owners.
Meet Zelda. She is a literal creature of comfort, and the last thing I ever want to do is shove her into a cat carrier. Just look at that innocent face.
This is my second cat, Lily. Though Lily had a first round of vaccinations when she was a kitten, I had been a neglectful cat mother and failed to get her vaccinated again.
The time had come for me to finally get update vaccination shots for both cats.
Enter Dr. Danielle Chapman, the Chief Veterinary Officer of VetEasy. She arrived at my apartment with a handy wheelie bag, ready to pamper Zelda and Lily.
Dr. Chapman and her assistant Ashley immediately set about turning the living room into a pseudo-exam room.
VetEasy is designed for wellness care, not emergencies. "Generally we want to be managing healthy pets or pets with minor illnesses — things that do not require surgery, sedation, or X-rays," Dr. Chapman explained.
"So we are limited to doing blood draws and injections and basic care like vaccines," she said. Since that was all my two cats needed, VetEasy was the right choice.
Zelda, ever the social creature, volunteered to go first when she hopped onto the table. Dr. Chapman and Ashley began their comprehensive exam.
Zelda had a slow, normal heart rate. Dr. Chapman explained that most pets will be more relaxed during house calls.
One reason pets become stressed or anxious during vet visits is all the smells from other animals.
Generally most animals are stressed out when they get to the vet clinic in some way because they associate it with being ill or being poked," Dr. Chapman said. "But all the sounds and smells alone is eliminated with house calls.
Unfortunately, Zelda was still on the receiving end of lots of poking. Dr. Chapman took her temperature with a rectal thermometer.
But Ashley's firm grip kept Zelda unexpectedly calm throughout the process.
Then came the needles. Once again, Dr. Chapman and Ashley expertly handled Zelda, rearranging her on the coffee table.
She kept calm throughout the two separate vaccine shots.
After they were done, Zelda went right back to exploring the house. Dr. Chapman pulled out a small tablet and jotted down some notes.
Next up: Lily. She was definitely more frightened than Zelda had been. I expected this, since Lily has a more skittish personality.
We had taken Zelda to the vet about a year prior due to a small emergency, but Lily hadn't been subjected to a vet's visit since she was a kitten. But Ashley made sure to comfort Lily between sections of the exam.
I can only imagine how much worse Lily's anxiety would have been without a house call.
Dr. Chapman took Lily's temperature as well, and then set about getting the vaccines ready. She also took a fecal sample from our litter box to test later for parasites.
"[Manhattan] seemed like a good place to start ... giving people a chance to keep up with their pets’ wellness in particular, being that they have busy lifestyles sometimes you forget to do your vaccines or go into the vet regularly every year for a check up," Dr. Chapman said.
This was certainly the case with me. It was a relief to finally have both Zelda and Lily up to date with vaccines. After Dr. Chapman and Ashley left, Zelda seemed relieved too.
Lily seemed resentful of the whole process, but it had to be done. At least she was able to go straight back to bed, without a traumatizing carrier journey home.
Two days after the visit, Dr. Chapman emailed me the results of the parasite test and Zelda and Lily's rabies vaccine certificates.
The verdict? I would absolutely use VetEasy again in the future.