Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Friday, February 16, 2007

A house call from the vet!

For regular readers, you know that a great veterinarian, Dr. Hanna Ekstrom, helped my nearly 20 year-old cat Cagney pass into kitty heaven from the warmth, security and comfort of our house with Oscar and Mistletoe right next to her and me.

As I wrote at that time, this vet would be welcome in my home any time because of her nurturing and knowledgable treatment not just of Cagney, but of my other three pets as well. She gave my two dogs and wiley little kitten the once over to make sure they were firing from all cylinders, even helping Oscar deal with his arthritis.

A month later, I decided to ask her to make an official house call to examine and treat all three pets - and I'm more impressed than ever.

Even with her travel fee, it's less expensive to have her come here to administer to multiple pets than to take each of them into an office. She can also see how they live, how they interact and how they are treated in real life.

She's not shy about making behavioral modification recommendations, either. Seeing what a swing-from-the-rafters kitten Allie Cat is, she recommended I put dry food in a small container that makes lots of noise when I shake it to call her. And to make that her primary source of food.

This little tip has paid off tremendously. She comes when she's called - with the help of the food noise most of the time now, but is starting to come without it as well!

Perhaps most importantly, the animals aren't upset about being taken out of the home and having to wait at the veterinarian's office, surrounded by so many other animals experiencing an array of medical conditions and illness.

Major work, such as teeth cleaning and specialized care such as cardiology, still has to be done by veterinarians in their offices, but just about everything else can be taken care of by Dr. Hanna and one of her assistants who is always on hand and their truck loaded with medical supplies needed to treat pets of every variety.

I have to admit Allie Cat wasn't enthused about receiving her leukemia and rabies shots from the gentle vet, but Oscar and Mistletoe were just a little gaga as she examined and treated them.

One thing about being treated at home: I remembered every little thing that I was concerned about for each animal - Oscar's eyes (easily treated with eye goop), Allie's crazy-wild jumps that leave her smashed into walls, tables and chairs ("Don't worry, she'll self-regulate.") and Mistletoe's sudden extreme fearfulness following a full dental treatment ("She'll be back normal soon here.")

I always forget things when I go into an office - even if I have my trusty list about what's up.

Anyway, I thought you'd enjoy hearing about Dr. Hanna, and to know that lots of veterinarians across the country are starting home visit practices as well. Their security as well as your own always has to be a priority - them coming to your residence for the first time, as well as you having a new person and their assistant in your home.

Mine was a "seamless" experience the first time she came. She came in and, with her assistant, got to work immediately, was thoughtful and nurturing as Cagney passed away in my arms, two Pomeranians next to her, a little kitten sitting on her back.

The second visit was even more rewarding because everyone is basically well.

Her priorities are our animals, which us animal lovers really appreciate more than anything.

I am *so* glad I discovered her and that veterinarians like her are helping our furry, feathered and scaley friends in the comfort of their own homes and cages without freaking them out!

I'll take pictures of her next visit so you can see for yourself. :-)


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