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Contact & Appointments

Emergency Hospitals

PLEASE NOTE that our business hours have recently changed.  We are open Monday through Saturday each week.  We are closed on Sundays and six major holidays.

Dog and cat logo representing in home veterinary care, acupuncture, hospice, and pet euthanasia in Portland, Lake Oswego and surrounding areas.
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Portland house call vet examinations button. Portland in home pet acupuncture button

Veterinary Assistant or CVT Job Information

Online Application (please read description below before applying)

Our Mission

AHVS provides exceptional, personal and compassionate in-home veterinary care for dogs and cats through all of their life stages; we honor and nurture the human-animal bond and enhance the quality of life of pets and their owners.

Our Practice

At Home Veterinary Services is a small animal house call practice serving the Portland Metro area.  The practice was created in 2008 by Louise Mesher, DVM.  It has grown from a home based, single vet practice, providing part-time house calls to a full-time, multi-vet practice operating out of our current facility in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

In addition to Dr. Mesher, we have three associate veterinarians, Dr. Heather B. Dillon, Dr. Tisha Posey, Dr. Jennifer Leddy,  a part-time veterinarian Dr. Kristina Hogg, a full time practice manager, three CVTs, a veterinary assistant, and a client service representative.  Generally, one doctor and one technician or assistant travel together as a team.

We are open 7 days per week, excluding 6 major holidays.  Weekend appointments are generally reserved for sick, hospice and euthanasia care.  Most of our clients are within the core Portland metro area, but we do have some clients that live further out.

Currently, we also provide "technician house calls" with two CVTs or a CVT and an assistant two days a week.  We plan to expand our technician house calls up to three or four days per week.  Technician house calls may involve, blood collection, cystos for urine, in home x-rays, medication administration, nail trims and other comfort care.

Since we are growing rapidly, additional support staff is very important to ensure the continued high quality care and service we provide to our clients and patients.  This is an exciting opportunity for the right person, and we are searching to find the right fit.

Our Typical Clients

We have really amazing, devoted clients.  Our clients are great owners – very dedicated and compassionate. They make it a pleasure to visit them.  Our clients want the best and most personal service possible for their pets, with an emphasis on comfort and quality of life.

Our Typical Patients

Generally speaking, about 50% of our patients who senior/geriatric or who have high maintenance chronic diseases (some of which are in hospice care).  About 25% of our visits are with younger/middle-aged pets or multiple pet households (whose owners really love the convenience of house calls), and 25% are in-home euthanasia visits.  It varies from week to week, but that is the general break down of our visits and patients.

We love senior pets! We see disproportionately more geriatric patients than an average brick and mortar practice.  Generally these patients are animals that the owners have difficulty getting into a vehicle or that the owners worry about exposing to the stress or potential infectious disease risks of a clinic.  We see many animals that are palliative, and a growing number of animals whose owners are interested in help determining what their pet’s quality of life might be.  We have a special interest in hospice care which is major focus of our practice.

We also see a higher percentage of cats than a traditional clinic (about 70% of our patients are cats, so having very confident, yet gentle, cat restraint skills is a must).  For obvious reasons, clients love the fact they do not have to load their cat into a carrier and transport them to a clinic.  While we do still encounter cats who are fractious and hard to handle (sometimes requiring chemical restraint), often seeing cats in their home environment caries a much lower stress level for them, their owner and the care providers than in a  clinic.  Similar situations may also arise with fractious dogs, but it is not as common.

We do a fair number of euthanasia appointments – sometimes several per week.  Some of those euthanasia patients are pets we’ve seen before, but we do see a few each week usually that we have never seen before that are just euthanasia requests. Euthanasia requests are pre-screened by our client service representative, and occasionally by a technician or DVM prior to scheduling.  We do not perform “convenience” euthanasia.

Occasionally we expect to be euthanizing an animal and show up only to find that the pet has an ailment that is simple to treat, and we usually treat those conditions, or, if the owner refuses, then we elect to not euthanize.  This doesn’t happen often due to the sometimes lengthy conversations the owners have had with our client service representative, technician or doctor before our arrival.

A Typical Day of House Calls

Technician's arrive at the office at 8:30 am, and clock in, check the appointment schedule and their e-mail.  They will also check in with the customer service representative and/or the practice manager and begin getting organized for the day's house calls.  This includes printing the day's schedule (after any last minute changes by the client service representative, who maintains the schedule), organizing the inventory and equipment and ensuring it is loaded into the vans, and synchronizing a copy of the medical practice software database to the doctor's laptop computer (it is uploaded with the most current records daily before leaving the office).  Other duties during this time may include recalls, ordering supplies, special projects and other duties.

We try to book appointments that are close together geographically on the same day, if possible.  Appointment lengths vary depending on the nature of the appointment – we see sick animals, annual exam appointments, quality of life consultations, and euthanasia appointments. We do not do any dentistry or surgery. Anything requiring anesthesia or hospitalization gets referred to recommended clinics and hospitals.  We do have the means to administer light sedation, if necessary, for restraint or comfort of the animal. We perform a lot of blood work, FNAs, ear cytology, etc.  Begining in February, 2016, we will be offering in home x-rays to our clients.

We use eVetPractice, a cloud based veterinary practice software.  The doctors and technicians use laptops at appointments to record medical records and create/print invoices, rabies certificates, educational printouts, etc. for clients.  We have mobile Internet access and smart phones that are used to e-mail, call and/or text with the home office during the day.  The laptops also have reference materials for the doctors and educational material for clients.

We carry a small inventory of items in the vans with our most commonly used medications and a variety of analgesics, sedatives, and narcotics. The van's inventory is supplied from the main stock at the office.  We have an Internet pharmacy, Vetsource, which some clients use to order chronically used medication.  We rely more heavily on outside pharmacies and compounding pharmacies than most practices do.

Usually we will make 4 to 6 house calls a day depending on how involved they are and how many animals we see at each appointment. Multiple animal appointments are common. Most of the time we are done for the day between 5:30 and 6:30, depending on traffic, but we may fit in an urgent visit, or a visit may extend longer than expected, which may result in a longer day with a return time between 7pm and 8pm.

At the end of the day the techs will review the visit records to make sure nothing is missing or is need of updating, prepare any laboratory specimens for pick up, make recalls, and wrap up any other outstanding business for the end of the day.  Blood work is placed outside for the lab courier and any animal remains are placed in refrigeration for Family Animal Services to pick up later for cremation.

There may also be "overlap" days where a technician will be in the office all day.  On these days, the technician will work on special projects or assignments, assist the office coordinator by answering calls and scheduling visits, assist in any paperwork catch-up, complete re-calls, or other duties that may be assigned.

Who We Are Looking For

We are looking for someone with some experience, however finding a person with the right drive and fit in our team is more important.  The ideal candidate should have a passion for helping geriatric pets and their people enjoy their lives together in the best way possible. There is a heavy emphasis on client communication and education.  We try to be thorough, compassionate, personable and efficient.  We extend ourselves to give good client service and personal attention, and the successful candidate will enjoy developing these relationships with these exceptional owners.

We are looking for someone who enjoys creative problem solving and is okay with the occasional curve ball. The days are rarely boring, and the continued change of scenery is interesting.  The environment  is sometimes challenging with respect to lighting, examination surfaces etc., but most of the time it is workable – but we need someone who has a flexible, easy going nature.

A compassionate manner is of utmost importance.  We need someone who is thorough, and explains all the options to the owners. These are educated, involved owners who are often willing to do a greater degree of nursing care than many owners would be.  We support them in any way we can.

You will need to have a good sense of humor – both to get along with the witty staff and to appreciate the strange and funny things you will sometimes see.  Good stories are to be had here!

Excellent driving skills are also required.  Our technicians and assistants need to be able to drive confidently and safely in all weather and traffic conditions, have an excellent sense of direction, and be able to use a GPS system and follow directions.

Weekend shifts (day time) will be required.  We would appreciate someone who is willing to work at least one, if not two days on the weekends with some of the days rotating with other assistants.  A weekday (preferably Thursday) would also be available.

What You Can Expect From AHVS

For the right person, this will probably be the best job you’ve ever had in the vet industry. Our employee's call it "the unicorn of jobs."  It brings that relationship with the client and patient down to a very simple level without all the distractions of a clinic.  There will not be as many opportunities to use technical skills specifically, but you are given the freedom to develop a relationship and rapport with the client that can be truly rewarding every day.

Many animals are completely different in their own home.  Most of us got into this industry for a love of animals, but we see them faced with an inherently stressful situation when they are brought into a clinic.  In the client's home, you will get to appreciate their unique personalities as they bring you their favorite ball or rub up against the catnip pocket in our treatment bag.

Compensation, Benefits & Work Schedule

Compensation will be based on experience and areas of expertise.  Employees who work at least 32 hours per week are eligible for an excellent benefits package including employer paid medical, dental, vision and other benefits.

Each work day will generally be from 8 to 12 hours long.  New employees will be expected to work part or full weekends.  We will consider applicants interested in full-time or part-time work.

Summary

We are confident that for the right candidate, this will be a rewarding, fun, and interesting position.  We wrote this extensive description because we knew that many technicians have never done house calls before, and we wanted you to be able to imagine your day.  We hope that many of your questions are answered here and that people who are truly intrigued with the prospect of this unique opportunity will inquire and apply.

If, after all this, you are still interested, please complete the online application.  If you have any questions about the process, you may Practice Manger, Ryan, at [email protected].

Thank you!  We look forward to hearing from you!

Online Application (please read description above before applying)