Have you wondered about using a mobile home visit vet?


Many of you often ask me about using a mobile home visit vet to care for your pets. Is it a good idea? What kind of treatment can mobile vets offer?  Would a home visit vet be a good idea for my nervous cat?

Rather than give my take on the matter, I thought I’d introduce you to Dr Ari Ende a Sydney mobile vet who’s company Vet Around covers Eastern, Inner West and Botany regions of Sydney.

Dr Ari Ende from Vet Around Sydney home visit vet discusses what it’s like being a mobile and home visit veterinarian in Sydney.

Watch the video or read the transcript below. Oh and apologies for the sideways video, Facebook doesn’t like landscape view! If you have any questions about what we discussed please ask below! Enjoy.

Ask Us Anything with Dr Ari Ende

Ask Us Anything with Dr Ari Ende

Posted by Your Vet Online on Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Dr. L: Dr Leigh Davidson Your Vet Online
Dr. A: Dr Ari Ende Vet Around

Dr. L: Yeah, we’re live.

Dr. A: That was quick.

Dr. L: Hey everyone. It’s Dr. Leigh here from Your Vet Online and this is “Ask Us Anything”. Today we’re talking to Ari Dr. Ari Ende. He just…

Dr. A: Hello everyone!

Dr. L: He doesn’t like my Kiwi accent.

Dr. A: Ende. It’s all good.

Dr. L: And we’re going to talk to Ari, Ari does work as a mobile veterinarian and where he hoons around to everybody’s houses

Dr. A: I don’t know about hooning…. I drive safely.

Dr. L: He drives safely, okay, Well, all I know is I don’t know how you deal with Sydney traffic

Dr. A: hahaha it does get testy sometimes.

Dr. L: Getting here was hard enough and I was late Sorry guys. Anyway, we are just going to have a little chat to him about how his business works and how and what happens with mobile vets and how they come to your home and what they’re able to do for you. It might be a little bit different to your regular in practice consult. So, Dr Ari welcome.

Dr. A: Hello. Thanks for having me.

A little bit about Vet Around Sydney

Dr. L: So how long has Vet Around been going on for?

Dr. A: I started Vet Around ahh this is the 8th year. Sorry. Just have to make sure my work experience students are safe.

Dr. L: yes

Dr. A: Crossing the road there with my kid. I started the business about eight years ago

Dr. L: Yes

Dr. A: So, this is the 8th year or seven and a half years ago or so

Dr. L: Yes

Dr. A: After having tried to sort of do some other things in regular veterinary hospital practice and have built it up over the years on my own although I have recently taken on a new vet.

Dr. L: yes

Dr. A: Which is nice finally in the making I’ve been trying to do that for a couple years

Dr. L: So did that mean you never got a holiday?

Dr. A: It’s interesting you say that. Two weeks ago, I had the first Saturday off I had in 8 years. So, when I started it was seven days a week, I brought it down to six days a week because I needed a day off.

Dr. L: yes!

Dr. A: but I always wanted to get the name out there and get everyone you know and get people in touch with the business and now I’m sharing weekends. So yeah, it’s been less because you know the life of vets you work long hours but I guess that’s it. But it’s just been me until now and it’s been hectic, but it’s been fantastic and it’s been growing very nicely. I think the demand for mobile and home veterinary consultations is huge.

Dr. L: Yes absolutely.

Dr. A: Definitely changing.

What kind of consults can mobile vets perform?

Dr. L: So what kind of cases can you assess at someone’s home?

Dr. A: Good question when I started the business I was wondering you know how much am I going to be able to do and my goal when I started it was actually to have as little compromise as possible.

Dr. L: Yes

Dr. A: And I still wanted to practice great medicine and all of that. I come from very good hospitals and so I did the best that I could to set up the van which we’re sitting on, you can see behind us, we’ve set it up with everything I needed for a typical home consult.

Dr. L: Lots of stuff.

Dr. A: OK I take in what I need, what I take into people’s homes is pretty much what you would see in a consult room in a regular vet hospital.

And I always wondered how much or how little am I going to be able to do it. But to be honest in the eight years I have been offering mobile veterinary services, I can do almost everything.

Now obviously there are some constraints because I don’t typically have a nurse with me at the moment.

Dr. L: Oh.

Dr. A: But people are amazing and are more than happy to help out holding etc.

Dr. L: yes

Dr. A: And even just getting like pathology samples like bloods for blood tests that kind of thing. I thought that was going to be really tough but I’ve certainly learned some good techniques and probably well over ninety percent of the time I can get what I need.

Do you need to sedate the animals more?

Dr. L: So, does it mean you use more sedation because you are by yourself? That could be something that would worry some people?

Dr. A: So alright. I don’t actually sedate animals in people’s homes.

Dr. L: OK

Dr. A: And I don’t do that largely because I don’t consider it a one hundred percent safe without any backup of oxygen and hospital gear and things like that if the animal is having an adverse drug reaction.

Dr. L: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. A: There’s one medication that I would be more comfortable using as a sedation but I mean the idea in many cases is that the animals are calmer in the home than in the hospital.

Although, it doesn’t always work that way. Some of the animals are still very stressed but the benefit is they’re still in their home environment and then we do what we need to do and finish up and leave, the animals don’t have to travel in the car and get even more stressed.

Dr. L: Yes.

Dr. A: So, I don’t like sedating in homes because I don’t consider it 100% safe.

Dr. L: Okay.

Dr. A: But I do have an arrangement with a hospital in the middle of the Eastern suburbs area and looking to getting more partnerships with hospitals, so when we do need a hospital, they are available. We will do procedures there with my colleagues, so I do follow the patient through.

What can a mobile veterinarian do at your home?

Dr. L: Makes sense. Sounds really good. So, I want kind of procedures can you do at someone’s home? Do you surgeries in your truck or do you do dentals or do they all go off to a clinic?

Dr. A: I do reasonably basic procedures in people’s homes like really basic wound management. I’ve got a stapler so I can staple wounds but I won’t do too many large stitch ups.

I’ve got local anaesthetic and things like that but I won’t do anything where the animals will still require sedation or anaesthesia.

Dr. L: Ok.

Dr. A: Now there are some mobile practices that do some surgical procedures in their vans I tend to do all of my… you’re getting a little funky.

Dr. L: We’ve just been told our camera is sideways. Sorry I don’t know

Dr. A: How was that?

Dr. L: I don’t know how this happens. I don’t get is this it but. How does this happen? Oh dear, you’ve really put up a …

Dr. A: Oh yeah because it is sideways. Because the phone is sideways.

Dr. L: Yeah so sorry guys. I don’t know how we’re going to we can hold it like this.

Dr. A: Yeah, we can hold it like this.

Dr. L: Thanks Phil for telling us that. We’re back

Dr. A: Hello. She’s the IT person.

Dr. L: Oh, my goodness.

Dr. A: I don’t do anything in the van. I do everything in people’s homes and for me I mean the idea is to go into someone’s home, so I don’t want them to bring the animal out and put it into a carrier and stress it out and put it into the van.

Dr. L: That makes perfect sense.

Dr. A: I’m avoiding doing things outside the home and again as I say if the animal needs to have any hospital care, I do routine things like dentals and dissecting and lump removal and other surgeries at the base hospital and if they require overnight stay or more long-term stays  I do it together with my colleagues at the base. There are also some people that will offer dental hands scales anesthesia free.

Dr. L: Oh, no we don’t like those.

Why mobile vets don’t do anaesthesia free dentistry

Dr. A: These are extremely controversial arrangements and they’ll do it in people’s homes or you take the animal to them but we strongly advise against that.

Dr. L: yeah

Dr. A: It’s, it’s not, it’s not fair for the pet well there are lots of reasons, the stress on the animal is actually higher if they’re not sedated or anaesthetised

Dr. L: Really high

Dr. A: And you know there will be claims that they’ll just sit there in a towel but realistically there’s a genuine welfare issue but more importantly you can’t actually clean the teeth probably.

You can’t get under the gum line.

You can’t go with it where the calculus and whre the dirt actually is and do an effective job and especially for any other more advanced work like extraction.

So, I don’t do any dental that isn’t under anesthesia.

Dr. L: I think also you can’t really do a really good examination of the whole oral cavity, like how do you actually probe each tooth individually when it hurts? I can’t even, I can’t even go to the dentist without it hurting.

Dr. A: Yeah.

Dr. L: I don’t know how you can do that.

Dr. A: Any little bit of pain, even if it’s not hurting that much, the animals are still going to be stressed out by that and they’re going to get frightened and especially in many dogs Dr Leigh knows, the two molars in the back. All the other tooth can look fine and then we get them anaesthetized and open up the mouth and then the two at the back are rotten and need to be removed.

Dr. L: Yeah

Dr. A: And you can’t examine that in the conscious animal. So, it’s just not fair, I don’t do dentals in people’s homes as a bottom line anyway and I don’t think it’s best practice.

Dr. L: Yeah right

Dr. A: So yes, so I decided to just do that.

What area does Vet Around Sydney cover?

Dr. L: So, oh yeah which areas do you actually cover? You are called Vet Around Sydney. So, do you actually do the whole of Sydney?

Dr. A: Not yet I can do it but obviously there will be some travel involved for some areas that are further out so it just depends on what people are prepared to do.

At the moment, the core areas would probably be Eastern Suburbs, inner city, Inner West, Lower North Shore.

And then I am spreading further out that might have gone further out than that and now that I’ve got another vet as well so there’ll be two vans on the road which is very exciting.

She’s great, she’s got amazing feedback already, Dr. Amelia Fung and so we’re hoping to get out into other areas as soon as possible.

Dr. L: Oh cool

Dr. A: Which will happen, so just ring and ask it’s all good.

When are home vet visits recommended?

Dr. L: And so, are there any situations where you think some animals would really benefit from having a home visit rather than actually going into the clinic?

Dr. A: There’s a few and when I started the business I sort of thought it would, I would only be seeing a certain type of patient or type of client but really, it’s kind of across the board. There are people that are getting all sorts of different consults for various reasons.

I mean the typical patient that people first think of is a really scared cat.

Dr. L: Yes

Dr. A: Cats don’t like to travel, some do but most don’t and they get very anxious in the car and stress and pant and all that.

So anxious cats and there’s a lot of anxiety in our dogs and cats these days and getting them into the hospital can be very tricky.

So that’s, that’s the more obvious one that people think of and then the next obvious ones that people think about geriatric patients especially large breed dogs or any dogs that have arthritis or any other issues.

And people, you know I’ve got amazing clients.

Going into people’s home’s is a very personal type of consultation and I get to know people well and I get to know the pets in a way you wouldn’t get in a hospital to a large degree and these people are trying their hardest not to stress the animal out at all and that is why they bring me into the home.

Dr. L: Yeah

Dr. A: So Geriatric animals they just feel like well they’re a bit older and I don’t want to move them around and if I don’t have to then we can do it in their home.

Dr. L: Yeah

Dr. A: Obviously we can’t do everything and they may still require hospital care but I’m doing a lot of, I am doing a lot of geriatric type work these days.

Another one that’s a sadder one to talk about but becoming far more common now is euthanasias.

Dr. L: Oh yes

Dr. A: But that’s the reality, we know that our pets can’t live as long as us and we know we probably are going to have a few in our lifetime. And we know they’re really just a part of our family as any of our kids are

Dr. L: Oh, for sure.

Dr. A: There are a lot of home euthanasias, while everyone says to me oh you this must be so hard, is the hardest thing to do.

Yes, in some ways it is but it’s also the most rewarding as well because I’m really facilitating people doing the best that they can for their animal and I just don’t want to move their pet at the most important time and I want to make it as peaceful as possible.

Dr. L: Yeah, I find that’s one of the best things in some ways about our career in some ways it’s because we can facilitate that peaceful ending.

Dr. A: That’s right, it’s a privilege and it’s very much taken very seriously.

Dr. L: yeah

Dr. A: Absolutely. You know people put that responsibility onto us and we ourselves that’s what we studied and it’s hugely important.

What do you enjoy most about being a mobile vet?

Dr. L: Yeah and I guess one of the cool things getting off that subject is that you get to hoon around when it’s a beautiful sunny day like oh my goodness everyone. How nice is this weather?

Dr. A: I do take it good with the bad. I will have to say it’s not all beautiful days. My car reached 48, 47 degrees 48 degrees mid-summer last summer. And I actually left the car running with the air conditioning on while I did some consults because I just couldn’t get back into afterwards.

Dr. L: Oh goodness

Dr. A: You know as you say go in people’s homes…

Dr. L: Ooh hey.

Dr. A: Bad doggy

Dr. L: We’ve got the dog here

Dr. A: This is Brody my dog who’s wandering around on the road.

Dr. L: He’s going to stay here. Hi

Dr. A: Say hi to everybody. Brody is a geriatric dog actually he’s gone 12 years.

Dr. L: he’s got smelly breath; can we do a dental on him?

Dr. A: he does. Interesting that you say that I do you need to do a dental on him put we can’t anaesthetize him because he’s got a cardiac condition and he has idiosyncratic reaction to isoflurane, to the anesthetic drug

Dr. L: Oh, my goodness.

Dr. A: So, he tries to die when we try to anaesthetise him, so we can’t do that anymore sadly. But anyways we’ll cope.

Dr. L: Yeah.

Dr. A: We’ll cope with that.

Dr. L: Yeah, he’s an old boy. 12 years is a really good age

Dr. A: Yes, it’s really good, that’s true.

Dr. L: It is. So, what’s your favorite part of being a mobile vet, not just being a vet but specifically being a mobile vet?

Dr. A: There are quite a few reasons I think but I have to say my favourite part really is actually going into people’s homes and you know I really value my connection with people as much as I do with the animals.

And our job is very largely relating to people and their pets and as in the people that love their pets and we’re actually providing a service that they get that their pets live as long as possible. (Wind)

So my favourite part is just meeting people in their homes and then I especially if it’s a puppy consult or kitten I get to play with people’s pets in their home in the morning and it’s hard to leave sometimes.

And it’s lovely and the style of relating to my clients in that way is lovely, so that’s by far the best part of the job yeah but I also obviously I’m a vet and it’s very much like medicine, challenging cases so there’s all of that as well and we still get to do all of that of course.

Do you use a base hospital?

Dr. L: Do you have a few clinics that you utilise if you need to have the pets go into like say hospitalization because they’re really, actually sick.

Dr. A: Until now I’ve only needed the one in the Eastern Suburbs, but now that we’re hoping to spread a further around, we’ve got two vans on the road we’ll be, I’ll be approaching other clinics and getting some arrangements

Dr. L: If anyone’s keen put your hand up, any clinics out there? Dr. Ari needs you.

Dr. A: It works very nicely and I think it’s quite lovely that the hospitals I go to now are quite lovely and we all get on very well and it’s just a nice way getting out there as well.

Dr. L: Yeah you know that’s cool.

Dr. A: That makes it easy for everyone.

How to get in touch with Dr Ari Ende of Vet Around Sydney

Dr. L: Cool. So if people were really interested in getting, having a mobile vet come to their home and in particular you, how do they get hold of you?

Dr. A: Well probably the best place to start is to ring my mobile but go to the website I would suggest which is www.vetaround.com.au Am I allowed to say that?

Dr. L: Of course, you’re allowed to say it.

Dr. A: Vetaround.com.au and all information is on the website and there’s a contact number at the top and at the bottom.

Dr. L: Awesome.

Dr. A: And we spread that around to the vets

What if it’s a pet emergency?

Dr. L: And what if it’s an emergency

Dr. A: good question

Dr. L: Do you, are you able to do those emergencies or are you sort of like arggh

Dr. A: Yeah

Dr. L: we might not be answering your phones.

Dr. A: It’s a really good question and it’s a tough one for mobile work because we don’t have ambulance status, we can’t go through red lights.

But we would like too.

So, it would really vary, well I mean I do have the base hospital so you can go straight into there if you need to.

And I also use all the referral hospitals that are the emergency.

That’s one thing but the other thing I always tell my clients is to just call because if I’m available I’ll come straight away. If you can’t get through because the vets are out on the road then you’ve got my base or the referral hospitals. So definitely call.

When I started off it was a lot quieter, I was going to all of the emergencies because I could.

Dr. L: Yeah

Dr. A: But fortunately, it’s gone very well and people are taking up the business a lot. Taking up the home consults a lot. So, as we’re busy it’s hard to get there straight away.

Let’s look at the van

Dr. L: Yeah nice fair enough. I think we should have a look at your van.

Dr. A: You want to see the van?

Dr. L: Let’s see if I can lay this out. Just going to swap sides, oh look at this oh my goodness

Dr. A: This is my wonderful large storage shelving, fridge for all the vaccinations and everything in there. Printer, label printer when I started off, I didn’t want to, I don’t want to compromise, to be able to provide everything we need.

Dr. L: that’s cool.

Dr. A: So, all my stocks goes in this shelf over there that pulls out.

Dr. L: Yeah

Dr. A: This is a cold cabinet. It’s not actually working and I’m getting a friend of mine to fix it.

Dr. A: That’s why it’s empty because it’s going to be replaced in about a week.

Dr. L: Yeah

Dr. A: But all my drugs pharmacy stuff is here.

Dr. L: Yeah

Dr. A: And that pulls out as well.

Dr. L: Cool

Dr. A: Scales that weigh up to two hundred kilograms and scales that weigh up to 15 kilograms.

Dr. L: Oh wow. Do you have x-ray?

Dr. A: I have my mobile ultrasound.

Dr. L: Oh ultrasound.

Dr. A: I don’t have x-ray.

Dr. L: you don’t have x-ray.

Dr. A: It’s hard, it’s hard to do it with dogs and cats, they won’t just stand there and you can stand behind the leg and you can’t restrain them night.

Dr. L: Yeah that’s so true.

Dr. A: And the middle section is for transporting animals or people

Dr. L: Oh, okay cool. Let’s have a look at the markings. So, when you see this van around town, Vet Around go stand next to it, and then you can wave, and there we’ve got the dog.

And so, look at the number here and that’s the website. Anyways it’s been so good talking to you Ari.

Dr. A: It’s been great talking and thank you for the opportunity.

Dr. L: No worries and I hope you guys have got some good value out of this and if you have any questions pop them down below and Ari and I will try answer anything for you.

Otherwise, you guys have a great rest of the day. We’re going to get back to work. See you.

Dr. A: bye.