Treatwell Pet Care & Veterinary Services of Ottawa - Mike Mossop
You provide delivery of pet food and medication in addition to Mobile Veterinary Services can you tell me how these two components work together?
The personalized delivery service is integral to Treatwell memberships as a whole. To start with, nutrition is a key part of preventive health care, so making it easy for our patients to get the best quality food is very important to us. Going beyond that, however, there are other, less obvious benefits. We do our best leverage the power of telemedicine for our patients by combining it with our delivery service. We can often address minor issues between regular exams with a simple phone call or email, followed by a delivery of a medication or prescription diet. Last but not least, deliveries are a great way to get to know our clients and their pets even better - it's always fun to stop by to say hi and to give out a few treats!
What made you leave the bricks and mortar veterinary model to start the mobile service?
Personally, I was getting burnt out with traditional practice and needed a change. It took some time and some soul-searching to figure what type of change was right for me, but mobile practice seemed to offer so much of what I was looking for that, in the end, I couldn't resist. Everything we do in mobile practice is a little more laid-back; appointment times are longer, and the pets are so much more comfortable in their home environment. In addition to that, starting my own business has allowed me to practice high-quality medicine, while also trying to deliver care in new and innovative ways.
The OttawaNeighbours team has a number of four-legged friends, not all of whom like to visit the vet. How do you lower the stress for furry clients?
We practice Fear Free medicine, which means we take great care to lower the fear, anxiety and stress of our patients while still getting the medically necessary exams and procedures done. There isn't one single thing we do to achieve this goal, but rather many small things. For example:
We use gentle handling techniques and lots of food-based rewards for distraction.
We carefully prioritize what is and isn't medically relevant for a particular pet. Sometimes less is more.
We track an emotional health record (in addition to a more traditional medical record) for each patient so we can better learn how they respond to handling, and to personalize their care even more over time.
When necessary, we'll prescribe pre-appointment sedation. This is a mild-to-moderate oral sedative a client can give their pets 1-2 hours prior to our arrival. That way everyone is nice and relaxed come exam time.
We do all of this where your pet is most comfortable - their home! Going mobile has been the biggest factor in making our patients more comfortable while they receive their veterinary care.
On a related note, I really like the way our set-up forces us to honour the Fear Free ethos. Everything we do with our patients is done with just 2 of us and is done in front of our clients. If there is any undue stress, we simply stop and come up with a better plan.
You cater to Ottawa's core and work on a membership model. How does this work?
We've structured our membership plans in a way that covers all of a pet's preventive health care needs, yet is flexible enough to allow for personalization. Both our membership plans cover twice annual in-home visits, all vaccinations, annual fecal testing, our delivery service and more. For people with active pets who spend time outside, upgrading from our Essentials Plan to our Premium Plan also covers all of their parasite prevention needs. Regardless of the plan a client chooses, we can always add additional services, tests or medications based the needs of a particular patient.
The real value, however, comes in-between those in-home visits. The membership model and the long-term relationship it promotes allows us to dedicate more time to solving problems via phone, email, text or video conference. Our goal is to reduce unnecessary clinic visits when some simple advice or a medication delivery will do.
Do you have a non-human best friend?
As it happens, I have two! Bruce our black lab is a great companion and helps keep us active, but our senior cat Roxanne holds a special place in my heart as the first pet I had as an adult.
What is the strangest pet name you have come across?
Tough call. Lately, I'm a fan of the name Wurphy... it's like Murphy, but with a twist courtesy of the 4-year-old girl in his life. Some past favourites include a cat called The Seventies and a dog named Sir Elliott Twinkle Bottom.
What is your favourite place in Ottawa for an off-leash walk?
Bruce Pit and Conroy Pit are always great for longer walks, but hands-down my favourite is definitely Lemieux Island. Our black lab Bruce isn't a big fan of the summer heat, so having the ability to cool off in the river is a major bonus. Plus, it's gorgeous! What's not to love about a dog park nestled between shady trees and the beautiful Ottawa River, with a view of Parliament to boot?!?
When you aren't tending to the people of Ottawa's best friends and companions what do you do for fun?
The last year has been a bit of a whirlwind. Not only have we launched the new business, but my wife and I also welcomed a daughter into our lives not too long ago. She's now 18 months old, so when I'm not working you can usually find me trying to keep up with her! That being said, I still try to find a bit of time to catch up with friends over a drink, a movie or a bike ride when I can.
Do you have a favourite spot for a snack or quick lunch when you are on the go?
One of the great things about being mobile is that we get to travel all over the city - lots of opportunities to check out new places as they come up, and revisit old favourites. While it's hard to pick just one, recently I'd have to say it's got to be Corner Peach, on Somerset near our office.
Any new things on the horizon for Treatwell/Mobile Veterinary Services of Ottawa?
Right now our primary focus is on providing excellent care and customer service, but we do have an eye to the future as well. We're currently looking into improving our software system to make it an even better user-experience for pet-parents around Ottawa. At some point we also hope to be able to expand in order to serve Kanata, Barrhaven, Riverside South and Orleans.