AUSTIN - Taking your pet to the vet isn't an easy task for most. Many animals don't want to go while others aren't comfortable once they get there. There is one Austin vet trying to bring the office to the patient.
Deborah Robertson lives in Austin and has owned her dog, SuzyQ, since she was a puppy.
"As a puppy, she was a terror," Robertson said. "I called her a terror because she had high energy all the time."
Now 13 years later, SuzyQ has grey whiskers and arthritis in her back legs, making it difficult for her to move around.
"She's getting stiff," Robertson said. "I have stairs, so I'm trying to accommodate some more flexibility beyond just the medication."
So about five months ago, while taking SuzyQ to the clinic, Robertson came into contact with Dr. Casey Hill, a veterinarian who has decided to expand her services beyond the office.
"I started the house call practice last summer," Hill said. "I got my first house call that summer in July. July 8."
While Hill works for a clinic along with these new services, she said she has always had an interest in being on the go.
"I was always intrigued in house call practice because a lot of vets want to own their own practice," Hill said. "This is kind of a way to do that."
This was the motivation behind Hill creating Doorstep Vet -- a house call euthanasia, hospice and acupuncture practice.
"Often pets are scared," Hill said. "It's just not something you want to do in that environment."
Hill visits SuzyQ regularly to help with her arthritis through her acupuncture. Hill said she practices Western medicine that is more focused on medical-based information.
"The points we choose are based on what nerves they interact with," Hill said.
Robertson said early on, there wasn't a change to her movement; however, after the second or third visit, SuzyQ started to have more of a pep in her step.
"I would notice a difference just in the lightness in her step," Robertson said. "She had a willingness to walk a little bit longer."
Robertson also said this type of acupuncture would be difficult to get done in an office.
"It wouldn't work any other way because SuzyQ gets so upset and just nervous," Robertson said. "It would not work for her if she had to go to the vet's office."
Beyond acupuncture, putting animals down -- where they are at ease -- that's something Hill hopes to give pets during their final moments.
"It would be a miserable last moment for them if they had to be in the clinic for that procedure," Hill said. "They just are so much more comfortable."
Dr. Hill is currently doing her house call duties part time while also working for a clinic, but she hopes with time, she can eventually make it a full-time practice.
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