Doc makes house calls for furry patients

Dr. Sue Preston calls her new veterinary practice Vet in Motion. Her patients, if they could talk, might call it the pet de-stresser. Instead of people taking their dogs and cats to the vet, Preston goes to them. She shows up in her mobile clinic, a specially equipped van built by a company in Ohio, relieving the stress that most pets feel by visits to a clinic and the accompanying sights, sounds and odors. Preston, who has more than 20 years of experience as a small-animal veterinarian, says her Eatonville-based Vet in Motion is patterned after others that have become popular in other parts of the country. She said pets and their owners alike tend to be more relaxed when the animals can be at home. That's particularly true for cats, which so dislike being stuffed into carriers or makeshift contraptions for a trip to the vet that they scratch or bite their owners. That's why cats generally get less medical care than dogs, even though even though there are more cats than dogs in U.S. households, Preston said. Some of the care Preston provides is cutting-edge. Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT). is the same treatment that chiropractors administer to humans. LLLT, which helps bodies self-heal through stimulation of cells by light photons, has been used in Europe for 40 years, is relatively new in the United States and even newer in veterinary medicine. But it has gotten results in healing wounds and treating conditions such as arthritis, allergies and diabetes, Preston reported. She used the laser treatment to help heal an injured leg on her own dog, Lucy, a pit bull she adopted as a stray. Preston noted that a dog's age, whether it's obese and other factors determine how well it responds to laser therapy. But not all dogs respond to conventional surgery, either, she added. In addition to medical care, Vet in Motion offers at-home euthanasia, as well as hospice for chronically or terminally ill animals. Pawspice Care, as Preston calls her service, can prolong quality life for a beloved pet. For instance, older cats commonly develop kidney disease but can live with it for years if they're given fluids with a needle - a burden Preston can take off their owners. Preston used a Pawspice program on one of her own dogs after it developed lymphoma at the age of 15. A moderate course of chemotherapy added a few months to Molly's life for "happy walks and good family time," Preston said.. Preston also helps owners decide when further treatment will be fruitless and to end any unnecessary suffering by their pets.


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