MVP in Today’s Woman

The Traveling Vet

by Alissa Hick

Since we can’t have a conversation with our pets, we have to rely on our senses to figure out what they might be feeling or thinking. Having a good relationship with your veterinarian can make determining your pet’s behavior or ailments much easier. We talked with traveling vetDr. Laurelee Rubsch about the importance of having such a relationship. She also debunks some common myths.

Dr. Laurelee, a Louisville native, has been practicing veterinary medicine for 18 years. In 2010, she started her mobile pet practice and makes house calls, which allows her to ease some of the stress that vet visits can cause for both pets and owners.

When she’s at a pet patient’s home, Laurelee and her veterinary technician can perform basic medicine, including blood work, urinalysis, and treating mild illnesses. Laurelee also has a clinical facility and lab she can utilize for surgeries and emergency situations.

“I pride myself on knowing families and all of their pets. I even address behavioral issues given how well I become familiar with the pets,” Laurelee says. “It is much less stressful for cats especially. It’s a different pace and style of medicine — it’s more personal. When you call, you reach me, the vet, directly. I try to keep it very affordable as well.” (There is an upfront travel fee that ranges from $45-$65 based upon distance traveled within the service area.)

Full physical exams are recommended every year for your pet to ensure good health and catch any medical issues ahead of time, Laurelee says. “Having a vet who will come to you makes it easier for pet owners to ensure they actually see a vet and not put off regular preventative health exams.”

In her spare time, Laurelee spends time with her daughter and her two cats, a dog (a puggle), three rescue rats, a guinea pig, and a special needs rescue squirrel named Lennie. Lennie is a non-releasable wildlife rescue Laurelee cares for, but she says that while squirrels might seem cute and cuddly, they make horrible pets. “Don’t try this at home — Lennie is one of a kind,” she says. Laurelee also helps out the Second Chances Wildlife Center, which works to conserve wildlife through environmental education programs and safe rehabilitation of orphaned, injured, or displaced wildlife.

Laurelee has even seen a few of our Today’s Woman staff’s pets. And she’s helped us to debunk some common myths pet owners might hear about. Are dogs really color blind? Are all calico cats females? We got to the bottom of these questions and more.

What you’ve heard: Dogs are color blind.
“Not true. Dogs do not see the same degree of color as humans do. They do not have the same rods and cones population as us. They can see some colors, but their spectrum is more limited than a human’s.”

What you’ve heard: All calico cats are females.
“The calico gene is primarily female, and about 97 percent of calico cats are female.”

What you’ve heard: If a dog’s nose is warm or dry, it means he is sick.
“This is not an accurate physical symptom of either dogs or cats when they are ill. There are much better ways to assess a pet’s health such as activity levels, eating and drinking habit changes, behavioral changes, etc. For example, a dog with a fever might have a warm nose just as a dog or cat that is dehydrated might have a dry nose, but these are not symptoms to primarily look for when assessing an animal’s state of wellness.”

What you’ve heard: Dogs eat grass to throw up.
“True to a degree. Some dogs will eat grass if they are feeling nauseous, but some just like the taste and texture of it.”

What you’ve heard: One year of a dog’s life is equal to seven years of a human’s life.
“Seven years is more of a general average. Really, it depends on the size of the dog. Giant breeds age faster than the toy breeds. A 1-year-old dog is really more of a teenager or young adult. You don’t usually see the same longevity in the larger breeds as you will in most smaller breeds.”

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