How This Ottawa Veterinarian Found a Niche in the Pet Industry

An Ottawa veterinarian predicts mobile practices will gain popularity in Ottawa to serve pets better in the future. 

Mike Mossop, who works for the Mobile Veterinary Services of Ottawa, started Treatwell Pet Care to care for pets in the comfort of their own homes. While his target client was young professionals, he has worked for a wide range of pet owners since establishing his practice in October 2018.

"Whether it’s someone who has an anxious pet, whether it is somebody who is anxious themselves, or has mobility issues, or simply doesn’t have a car – we’re finding clients from all different walks of life," Mossop said. 

Mossop’s veterinary technician, Connie Velton, said she was surprised by how many different people their practice benefited.

"We have people that are handicapped, or just have mental health issues and it’s hard for them to leave the home," Velton said. "You leave knowing that you’ve really helped them and their pet."

Mossop agreed that mobile veterinarians benefit the pet, the owner, and the doctor. Having practised veterinary medicine for 10 years, he said wanted to try something different in his field after feeling burnt out by the fast-paced environment.

Mossop said that while vet offices see many clients in a day with limited times for check-ups, home appointments can last up to an hour and a half.

"Going into people’s homes, you get a whole different view of the situation than you would at a clinic, where you meet somebody for 20 minutes on your turf," Mossop said. "It’s not the same as going into their house and seeing how they live and how their pets live."

Because of the mobile service, Treatwell focuses on preventative care for pets. However, Mossop and Velton sometimes work outside those boundaries to meet their clients’ needs.

"Even euthanasia appointments," Mossop said. "People are generally just very grateful that we’re able to come and make that part of the pet parenting experience more easy and peaceful for them."

Mossop said he knew he wanted his next role to be customer-focused and low-stress for the pets.

"Going to people’s homes seemed like the best customer service we could offer," he added. 

Sean-Daniel Neve, owner of a four-month-old Blue Healer and Scotch Collie mix, is supportive of the service. He said his main concern is to find someone to maintain his pet's health. However, he added time and money are constraints for many pet owners.

According to RatesSupermarket.ca, the average cost for owning and caring for a cat in the first year is $1,921, and $2,600 for a dog. 

"Most of my money goes toward taking care of my dog, which I don’t mind, because he takes care of me," Neve said.

Velton said one of her favourite parts of the job was her opportunity to serve their clients well. She added for those who care for their pets and don't mind paying, it can still be difficult on their finances. 

Serving the elderly is also a growing market for mobile practices, as they have trouble taking their pets to clinic, and simply enjoy having company in their home, according to Velton.

However, Mossop said the market for mobile vets is probably underserved.

"As time goes by, the mobile practice will become more and more prominent," he said.