From the moment I found out our photographer Alan and I were going to visit one of our new partner companies, Vetco, I was excited for the opportunity to observe veterinarians and technicians take care of pets in the new world of the mobile Vetco clinic.
I’m a veterinary technician by training, but now write for Drs. Foster and Smith. I help out at our employee’s vaccination clinics, and have my own pets, but, otherwise, I don’t get much chance to see veterinarians and technicians in action.
I was not disappointed. Vetco has their system down pat, and they manage to do everything with care for the pet and pet parent. In fact, Vetco’s system reminded me of any annual wellness visit my pets would have at my own veterinarian.
WHAT IS VETCO?
Vetco is a mobile clinic that sets up in local Petco stores. There, dogs and cats can get affordable vaccinations, free wellness checks, fecal checks, heartworm tests, and more.
HOW DOES VETCO WORK?
When I first arrived, an admissions kiosk was set up in the main Petco aisle for check-in. The Vetco manager, Linda, and a veterinary technician, Miranda, were there to check everyone in, although they both did double duty if something needed to be relayed to the doctor.
- Virtual waiting line
- It’s showtime!
- It’s all about time
Clients were asked for a cell phone number. A series of text messages notified clients when it was their turn to see the veterinarian. This system allows the waiting area to be more private for each client and keeps dog interaction in a small area at a minimum. It works very well.
The clients were sent down to the veterinarian, Dr. Phillip Sower. He was at the exam table and behind him everything was set up for a cursory exam, vaccination, and heartworm testing, if needed. He was assisted by Fazal, a veterinarian currently getting his license to practice in Wisconsin. They both knew exactly what to do and say to keep the pet and client comfortable and to maximize ease.
Once the visit was over, the pet was given a treat (with permission from the pet parent), and payment was made at the Petco register.
There was some curious cases that came up while I was there:
1. “The pets always come first.”
Before the clinic officially opened, a Goldendoodle, Taffy, was brought in with a sore foot. Although Vetco is there for wellness checks and vaccinations, Dr. Sower agreed to examine Taffy’s foot. He cleaned the wound, applied antibiotics, gauzed and wrapped it. He sent Taffy’s parents off with advice on what to watch for, the name and address of the nearest ER veterinarian, and the recommendation of an e-collar to stop wound chewing.
2. “Do whatever you gotta do.”
The baying we heard throughout the store was evident from the minute the clinic started. It belonged to a beagle, “Gus” who was found about a month ago by Fred, the man who brought him in to the Vetco that day. The beagle had no tags and was not microchipped, but Fred did everything he could to find the lost pet parent.
Fred told the Vetco staff that he wanted to give his new companion the best possible care and that they should, “do whatever you gotta do” for his new friend, meaning all vaccines, heartworm test, fecal test, microchip, and the rest. Gus bayed in happiness as Fred walked out with a protected (and microchipped) dog.
3. “You’d better believe I took all three.”
Nationwide, more people bring dogs in for annual exams than they do cats, yet it is just as important. Vetco is so convenient and easy, Dr. Sower was able to see almost as many cats as dogs that day.
With three cats in a carrier and her kids in tow, a client, Angela, told me of recently adopting two cats. When she went to pick them up, she found there were three carriers waiting for her instead of two. “You’d better believe I took all three!” she said. Now Cream, Cookie, and Ninja have the love they need and a great home. It struck me then that this is what Vetco is all about: Someone can adopt a cat (or three) and be able to take them to an affordable, competent veterinarian with no appointment needed.
Everything was packed up efficiently, we said our goodbyes, and our photographer took a parting shot of the team at the Drs. Foster and Smith sign (Left to right): Miranda Bartel, Fazal Hussain, me, Dr. Phil Sower, Linda Lutz.
This wonderful staff travels from Milwaukee, and after Wausau heads down to Stevens Point for another three hours, so their Sundays are busy. Some mobile units have three clinics a day in different locations.
If you want to check out Vetco, I urge you to see what they have to offer. Click here to check for times and locations near you. With over 1,200 locations in over 30 states and convenient weekend hours, there’s really no reason not to see what this fantastic service is all about.