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Caring for the four-legged on four wheels

Mobile veterinary service comes to Sandy

Some dogs love to go for a ride. Others, not so much.

And what about cats? Or rabbits?

Dr. Melissa Adams knows that for plenty of pets, the slightest jingle of their owner’s car keys is enough to send them scurrying for a place to hide, turning a trip to the veterinarian’s office into an upsetting ordeal. With Mt. Hood Mobile Veterinary Clinic, she aims to take the tension out of medical care for Sandy’s companion animals — and the humans who love them.POST PHOTO: ELIZABETH WENDT KELLAR - Dr. Melissa Adams, owner of Mt. Hood Mobile Veterinary Clinic, and Certified Veterinary Technician Hannah Buchanan began offering mobile vet services to the Sandy area in February. Also pictured is Adams 5-year-old terrier mix Lily.

“It’s less stress for the pet, less stress for the people,” Adams said of mobile vet care. “They don’t get as anxious. They’re not shaking.”

Adams earned her veterinarian degree from the University of Illinois in 2007, and worked for several years in a traditional, brick-and-mortar vet practice in southern Illinois. During that time, she found many clients had needs that fell outside of what the clinic could provide, sometimes literally. For example, if a pet was too elderly, large or ill to be brought into the clinic, the vets would need to make a house call after the clinic’s regular hours or during lunchtime.

“There were so many people that would call and needed them to come out to them,” Adams recalled.

Realizing there was an unmet need, Adams began exploring how to launch a mobile vet practice. In 2013, she rolled out a four-wheeled facility that could travel directly to her clients and provide an array of medical services, including exams, vaccinations, routine surgeries such as spaying and neutering, dental care, blood work, microchipping and end-of-life assistance. Her friend Hannah Buchanan, a certified veterinary technician, came on as her first employee.

Then, in early 2016, the colleagues decided they wanted to move to the Portland area, where both have family. After a cross-country trek of 2,300 miles, Adams’ truck received a new look and a new coverage area that includes Sandy, Boring, Troutdale, Fairview, Eagle Creek and Happy Valley.

Adams said she plans to care primarily for companion animals, including dogs, cats and rabbits. She is also able to care for what are sometimes referred to as “hobby farm” pets, such as goats. Other pets, such as birds or ferrets, would be referred to a specialist.

There may be a perception that mobile vet services are more expensive than a traditional veterinary practice, but Adams believes her rates can compete with what is charged at a conventional clinic. There is a house call fee, but Adams said she tries to offset that cost in other ways.

Eventually, she hopes to begin offering a walk-up clinic one day a week for smaller services. There, clients could bring their four-footed friends to a public location and not be charged the house call fee.POST PHOTO: ELIZABETH WENDT KELLAR - Mt. Hood Mobile Veterinary Clinic is able to offer an array of vet services, including routine surgeries, vaccinations and end-of-life care.

She’s looking forward to meeting new clients and strengthening the doctor-client bond that can thrive with in-home care.

“That kind of relationship is what I strive for,” she said, “that they trust us, they trust me.”

For more information, visit mthoodmobile.vet.