By Nina Silberstein
For those who have a pet, a visit to the veterinary clinic can sometimes be a stressful experience for both you and your four-legged friend. Whether your pet is older, fights getting into the pet carrier or is ill, there’s now a veterinarian who will come to you.
PNW Visiting Vet was the brainchild of Melissa Stephenson, DVM and Robin Bertke, DVM. Dr. Stephenson received her degree in veterinary medicine in 2008 from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
The two met when they worked in a traditional veterinary clinic and decided to go into practice together with a different business model in mind.
Dr. Bertke left the practice in December 2019 to return to her home state of Tennessee and Dr. Stephenson has since brought on one or two part-time technicians to assist on surgical days, as well as hiring an office assistant.
Stephenson has expertise with pets that have behavior issues, often from being traumatized by past veterinary visits. She is good with pet owners, who due to age or health concerns, are not able to leave their homes.
As one of her clients says, “If you have a 190-pound dog and he refuses to get in the car, you two aren’t going anywhere. It’s easier to bring the vet to him.”
Stephenson has been a mixed animal practice veterinarian for 10 years and has dogs, cats and horses of her own.
The Visiting Vet mobile unit will come to you for the full-service medical needs of your pet, from wellness examinations, vaccinations, internal parasite screening and heartworm testing to routine blood work, biopsies, urinalysis, x-rays, dental and end-of-life care.
They have a state-of-the art surgical suite and will perform routine spays/neuters and more complex surgeries such as mass removals with full anesthetic monitoring.
They also offer more than the traditional house call and travel to retirement homes, boarding facilities, doggy day care locations, hotels and even your workplace.
Dr. Stephenson provides comprehensive veterinary care wherever your pet may be.
Think of Visiting Vet like a pet’s primary care doctor, referring out for specialty treatment much like a person’s primary care provider would do.
If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Stephenson will refer you to a local veterinarian who specializes in oncology. Same goes for cardiac issues, neurological problems and the like.
Once the specialist determines a plan of care, then Visiting Vet will do the follow-up, manage medication renewals and make any adjustments if necessary.
If your pet is injured, they can do x-rays, but will partner with another mobile veterinarian who specializes in mobile ultrasounds.
The business rarely provides emergency care as they believe pets can be treated faster if they are taken directly to their local pet emergency room.
Dr. Stephenson finds that it’s rewarding to build relationships and help clients and patients who would otherwise experience barriers to care.
Because of COVID-19, their scheduling is very fluid and they are currently waiving their cancelation policy, asking folks to reschedule their appointments if they have any signs of illness or have come into contact with anyone who has. They practice social distancing at every appointment and offer telehealth visits if needed.
The Visiting Vet service area includes downtown Portland over up to NW 23rd (but not the westside), east to Troutdale but no further south than Milwaukie. They also serve Vancouver, Camas and Battle Ground in WA, and are currently scheduling out two weeks.
See their website for pricing and their online pharmacy.
PNW Visiting Vet
Photo by Robin Bertke, DVM