With the pandemic exacerbating challenges for pet owners to get their animals the care they need, two women created a business that brings veterinary technicians to their front door.
Co-owners Kristie McFarland and Janette Fetter came up with the idea for Peak to Peak Pet Services, an in-home veterinary nursing care company, early into the pandemic while they were both working together at the Longmont Humane Society. They recently launched in March this year and primarily work with dogs and cats.
McFarland and Fetter said there was a need before for in-home care, but that only grew with the COVID pandemic. With many veterinarian offices booking longer appointment times to meet health precautions, pet owners had a harder time getting on the schedule.
“COVID really actually brought it to my attention when I had neighbors like, ‘I can't get my dog in for a basic nail trim, can you come over and trim my dog's nails?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I could do that,’” Fetter said.
She added the pandemic disrupted some animal’s routines with people spending more time at home, which can cause behavioral and health issues. Fetter expects to see something similar happen as people are leaving their homes more frequently in Level Clear.
Fetter is the lead nurse, a certified veterinary technician and certified canine massage therapist. McFarland is working towards her veterinary technician certification at San Juan College. They drive to homes in Longmont and some surrounding cities and help transport animals to veterinarian offices.
Peak to Peak aims to compliment veterinarians, helping with procedures that may take up excessive time at the office, without replacing them. They often perform routine maintenance such as nail trims, anal gland expression and other services including insulin demonstrations, bandage changes, suture removals and subcutaneous fluid.
“Our goal is to be able to take some of that stuff, the routine things, off of the veterinarians plate, and be complementary to veterinary clinics,” McFarland said.
Veterinary technicians aren’t permitted to perform some procedures such as surgery, prescriptions or diagnosis. Peak to Peak can assist with orders from a vet, like administering insulin that was prescribed by a veterinarian. They are advised by a Dr. Kathy Whitman at another Longmont-based traveling animal care company, Bov-eye Veterinary Services.
As pet owners themselves — Fetter lives with her two dogs, two cats and her housmate’s dog, and McFarland has two dogs and one cat — they want to help others learn about their animal’s needs. They help with education, such as how to make an elderly animal more comfortable. Fetter said that they teach clients who are nervous to administer treatments and medication prescribed by their vets how to do so.
“Some of those people aren't actually comfortable doing it themselves. So we're there to help provide that service or give them the confidence that they need to keep doing it on their own,” she said.
McFarland said pet owners will sometimes forgo vet visits if it’s not convenient or they can’t get in for an appointment. Sometimes owners are noncompliant with the followup care that their vet instructed, such as bandage removals, she added, and it hurts the pet’s health down the road. Fetter added ignoring routine maintenance, including regular nail trims and dematting, can cause more serious health concerns.
“We want to make sure that these minor little details are getting taken care of. It doesn't seem minor and insignificant when you're in the clinic, but it's just the minor things that really help accentuate the overall health of the animal,” McFarland said. “If we can prevent that by being able to give some more flexibility, then our goal is to take some of that stress off of the clinics and to be able to give some care and education to the clients out there.”
While Peak to Peak offers a convenient solution for pet owners by coming to their home, it also benefits their animal. McFarland said animals can become stressed when out of their home environment and that can affect their vitals.
“If you have a very scared animal and they're already stressed, then you take them in for testing, you're getting an inaccurate reading,” McFarland said. “So if we can do things and in their own home, provide them that care, they’re less likely to show elevation or inaccurate readings. Get a better baseline for the veterinarian to make better calls about their health and well being.”