Veterinarians who make house calls – The Royal Gazette

After a decade of providing stress-free healthcare to their animal patients, mobile veterinary business owners Lucy and Mark Richardson still marvel at the enthusiasm with which their business has been received.

The Richardsons started CedarTree Vets Limited on August 1, 10 years ago, betting that pets would be better served – and much happier – if they were cared for at home instead of dragged to a veterinary clinic. by their owners.

Dr Richardson said: “This year will be a special year for us. When we started, we didn’t know where we would be in ten years. It’s exciting to see where we are now.

Today, the Richardsons are joined in practice by veterinarians Erin Jackson and Lianna Aggarwal, and veterinary nurses Sam Trewick-Coleman, Chelsea Burrows, Emma Miller and Shaunte Young.

Morning and afternoon, Dr Jackson and Dr Aggarwal leave the Devonshire clinic in well-stocked vans, one heading west and the other heading east. They will each see 12 animals per day.

Home treatments may include pregnancy ultrasounds, blood tests, checkups, and heart checkups.

Community nurse Ms Miller also goes on the road, doing diabetes clinics, weight checks, nail clippings and administering some vaccines.

Procedures requiring assistance, such as x-rays, dental work and surgery, are carried out at the organisation’s fully functional clinic on Tee Street in Devonshire.

Dr. Richardson takes care of these tasks in the morning and does the management tasks in the afternoon.

The Richardsons started the practice after Lucy spent 10 years in a traditional veterinary clinic.

She said: “What we do as vets is we read behavior – and we do that very well after ten years. My daily reading behavior was stressful and not just on behalf of our patients, but also their owners.

“I had seen animals deal with stress for years and wanted to improve on it.

“I thought there must be a better way to administer animal care, including stress for the owner.”

“So we discussed and decided to give it a shot. We had no idea how successful it would be.

Pet owners who frequent the practice know their furry friends are less stressed when they receive a home visit from CedarTree Vets — and Dr. Richardson said she can back up their hunch with hard data.

Cats normally have a heartbeat of 150 beats per minute – but a visit to a veterinary clinic can produce heartbeats of 200 beats per minute.

Dr Richardson said: ‘It’s the cat telling you what’s happening to their cortisol, their stress levels. The higher the heart rate, the higher the stress.

“What we are used to as vets in clinics is 200 beats per minute. We accept that as a normal rate at the clinic, but it’s not a normal rate. That’s not true – the truth is 150 beats per minute.

She added: “When cats are stressed for an hour or two, their glucose levels rise in their bloodstream. We see that regularly; it’s stress glucose.

But in their mobile practice, Ms Richardson said: ‘We don’t have that now. He disappeared from our blood tests.

“As an owner, you intuitively sense that your pet is happier at home – but we can actually quantify this with beats per minute and glucose levels.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that CedarTree staff have been making house calls with treats in their pockets and sprayed their gear with cat- or dog-friendly pheromones.

Mr Richardson, managing director of CedarTree, said: ‘When we take the scale out, the puppies come and sit on it.’

Dr Richardson said: ‘Treats make us nice people from the moment we arrive. We joke that when the truck stops, it’s like the ice cream truck.

“We think and care about the animal’s perception of what we are doing. We try to make it not a miserable visit to the vet, but a joyful thing – they are happy to see us.

Dr. Richardson, who writes a column for The Royal Gazettesaid Bermuda was the perfect location for a mobile veterinary practice because of its size and the “feeling that people have for animals in Bermuda – we are a very animal-loving people, pets are part of family”.

She paid tribute to the staff at CedarTree Vets for the work they have done to help animal patients, their owners and the business navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Richardson said: “They are heroes to me, absolute heroes. They never failed to show up and do an amazing job.

“They were frontline workers from the start, taking care of this from the start and they did it with grace and confidence. They are wonderful people.

The Richardsons give back to the community with their support of lower-cost spaying and neutering programs at the SPCA and Cats Bermuda, and with their support of WindReach, where CedarTree provides free care and annual vaccinations to therapy horses from the organization.

To mark their 10th anniversary, CedarTree will be giving both the SPCA and Cats Bermuda ten free cat neuters or neuters.

They also welcome students during school vacations, including veterinary and veterinary nursing students, students pursuing other degrees, and high school students.

Students spend time at the clinic and also travel in company vehicles to accompany staff on home visits.

Dr Richardson said: ‘We think it’s huge – we love seeing these young people and hopefully they love seeing what we’re doing. We are very invested in the Bermuda community.

Lucy and Mark Richardson with their Doberman, Tia (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Lucy and Mark Richardson with their Doberman, Tia (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The CedarTree Vets Team (Photograph provided)

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