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Action Care Vet Featured in Southern Maryland Newspapers Online!

Author: Dr. Krasznay

These vets go to the dogs … and cats and birds

Friday, Feb. 9, 2007

By Carrie Lovejoy

Staff Writer


Click here to enlarge this photo

Staff Photos by Gary Smith

Diane Krasznay, right, and her veterinary technician Samantha Bowling hold Tiger, a 14-year-old cat, during an exam inside the Action Care mobile veterinary clinic. Krasznay’s Mechanicsville home is the base for her mobile veterinary clinic.


Click here to enlarge this photo

Veterinary technician Gina Krouse and Dr. Mark Hocking watch as Arthur, a 25-year-old cockatiel belonging to Kevin McDermott of Waldorf, flaps his just-trimmed wings. McDermott and Arthur visited Hocking’s mobile veterinary clinic, which is based in St. Leonard but was parked in Waldorf at the time.

When Karen Kelley had to make a serious and difficult decision about her pet of 17 years, she found the help she needed from Rhya Marohn.

Marohn is a veterinarian with an office that she takes to her patients, and to Kelley, that was a comfort that she might not have found by transporting her dog to a traditional office.

‘‘She’s offering a wonderful service,” Kelley said of Marohn. Kelley’s dog, a black and white peekapoo named Buddy, had been in the Kelley family for 16 years, since he was a year old.

‘‘We were joined at the hip for all those years,” she said.

But as 2006 came to a close, it became clearer that Buddy’s time with the family was ending. ‘‘A couple days after Christmas it reached crisis stage,” Kelley said, so she called Marohn. The veterinarian was able to come to Kelley’s home and put the dog to sleep without the stress of taking him to an office.

‘‘It was so much easier on everybody,” Kelley said. ‘‘If I ever have another pet, I will always take them to her. … She was just wonderful.”

Marohn said she just got started with her mobile business last fall. The story of her career is a winding one, which includes being in the Army, going to veterinary school and just finishing law school.

‘‘I was going to do animal law,” Marohn said, but found what she really wanted was to work with the animals themselves. Also, the job gives her more time with her children, who are 4 and 5 1⁄2, because of the flexible hours.

The overhead for Marohn, who works out of her minivan and her White Plains home, includes just the equipment that she takes from home to home. She said she does not have radiology and surgical equipment like some vets, but she is just getting started. She also has no other staff.

For Marohn, the biggest draw of being a mobile vet is working with people and pets in their own environment.

‘‘It’s just really great to see how much people love their pets,” she said. With home visits, cats don’t have to go through the stress of being placed (or wrangled) into a carrier. Of course, that doesn’t mean cats are exactly happy to see her walk through the door.

‘‘I have to pull a lot of cats out from underneath beds,” Marohn said. But when she is finished with their exam, ‘‘they go back to their favorite spot in the window or whatever.”

Candace Guyther opened her mobile service based in Leonardtown, Vet A Pet, part time in 1991 and by 1992, it had turned to a full-time practice.

Guyther said she most often does routine checkups and vaccinations for animal owners who either want the convenience of a home visit or are unable to go to an office. When the business first started, she said it was a novelty.

‘‘There weren’t any mobile vets doing small animals,” she said. Vets have always made farm visits for large animals like cows and horses so the animals do not have to be loaded onto trailers when they need care.

Now, Guyther has a busy schedule between the mobile appointments and her stationery office, especially in the summers. She said she thinks people want to spend their summers working in their yards rather than in a waiting room.

Owners of multiple pets are big customers because of the difficulty of bringing several dogs into the office at once.

Being a mobile vet has its problems, too. Guyther said some pet owners might have large dogs that can cause trouble for the vet.

‘‘I have had skirmishes” with dogs whose owners could not control them. She said she brings an assistant or insists that the owner control their pet.

In her years as a mobile vet, Guyther said she has neutered a dog on a table in its owner’s home, and has taken X-rays and performed laser treatments on her visits. Most are visits, though, like the one to home of an elderly woman who has a difficult time handling her dog, which needs blood tests.

Another customer is a paraplegic who is unable to drive and needs help getting his cats vaccinated.

Diane Krasznay runs Action Vet Care from her Mechanicsville home, but all of her visits are at patients’ homes. She said her patients are usually looking for convenience.

‘‘A lot of people have multiple pets,” Krasznay said. ‘‘It’s great for people that have disabilities, the elderly, stay-at-home moms … busy, working people.”

Krasznay said she is able to offer flexible hours and gets a lot of Saturday appointments. She said there are some things about being mobile that are more convenient for the vet, as well.

With inventory in her home and no rented space, she said the cost is a little less to run the office. She has a part-time staff so that she can have someone with her at every appointment. ‘‘It makes my time a little more efficient,” she said. She said she has been running the mobile office for a little more than a year. ‘‘There is definitely a demand for the service.”

After 18 years of working for a traditional animal hospital, Mark Hocking decided he was ready for something new. He started researching the mobile vet business and found that he could purchase a truck that would include just about everything a veterinarian needs, including a surgery suite. Six years ago, he found a used truck and after a few years, decided he needed a new one all his own.

‘‘We just had a brand new one custom-built,” Hocking said. The truck is 26 feet long, and he said the inside looks just like a regular medical office. ‘‘It’s a lot nicer to be able to get out and about.”

Hocking echoed the sentiments of the other vets, saying it’s easier for people who are disabled, elderly or who just have too many animals to bring them to the office all at once.

Hocking has basically eliminated his stationary office, now using a room in his St. Leonard home where his wife and an employee take calls, make appointments and keep patient charts. The only thing he does not have is a place to keep animals for long-term care. In instances where that is needed, he refers patient owners to a more traditional hospital, he said.

E-mail Carrie Lovejoy at clovejoy@somdnews.com.

http://ww2.somdnews.com/stories/020907/indybus85627_32139.shtml

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