An at-home veterinary business hopes to de-stress pet care—for animals and their owners alike
The On Demand culture that has inspired the home delivery of everything from planned meals to dry-cleaning services has disrupted the pet care model, too.
FetchMyVet, a Fort Lauderdale- based startup hatched in 2016, aims to reinvent the relationship between pet owners and their veterinarians by bringing the latter to the former. All of FetchMyVet’s concierge services, from regular check-ups to emergency visits and vaccinations, are completed in patients’ homes, from Jupiter to Pinecrest.
“The idea really sparked not so much from the pet parent’s perspective but more from the pet’s perspective,” says Tarek El Gammal, FetchMyVet’s president. “Many are either too old to go to the vet, or they’re sick and it’s just an added stress to be in that clinic. And the vast majority of cats don’t even see a veterinarian. … We’re many times the first vet to see that cat.”
Given that I own two dogs who have been years overdue for their annual checkups, I decided to book an appointment. Dr. Yolanda Ochoa, a 25-year practitioner of in-home veterinary care, arrived promptly for the appointment, alongside veterinary technician Renee McDonald.
Dr. Ochoa and McDonald engaged in a comprehensive dialogue about the pets’ medical history and snapped photos of their food before spritzing the exam table with a pheromone spray— intended to reduce the animals’ anxiety, part of the company’s mission to offer a “fear-free practice.”
The doctor then performed an extensive “nose to tail” inspection of each pooch, drew blood from their jugular veins, and collected fecal samples. The test results came to me via email the next day, alongside itemized “report cards” on the pets’ complete health. Like many 21st century transactions, the entire process was smooth, tech-forward and paperless.
“Thirty to 40 percent of our clients make less than $50,000 a year. It’s a more personalized service and a more comprehensive service, but it’s not necessarily to say that we’re not accessible or affordable compared to other clinics for mass appeal.” -Tarek El Gammal
For some patients who enlist the business’ services for specific issues, the at-home treatment can make all the difference. “There was a Chihuahua not long ago that had respiratory problems,” El Gammal says. “And he had gone to the vet multiple times, and all the vets had prescribed different things. They weren’t sure what may have been causing that specific respiratory problem. When we went out, we came to find out that the baseboards had mold, and he was so low to the ground that he was inhaling that.
“The spark [for the business] came from the stress perspective, to reduce the stress on the pet, and for the pet’s parent. But it ultimately merged into providing better care, and that’s ultimately what we’re here to do.”