A New App Will Soon Bring Veterinary House Calls to Portland

Heath care for Portland pets is about to be even more convenient than it is for humans.

Portland already has a cat rapper, dog hotels and even a short-lived dog cafe. It's also the home of the Licki Brush, a silicone tongue that humans can put on their tongues to lick their cat to increase bonding.

But on January 30, being a pet in Portland is about to get even better. Actually, heath care for Portland pets is about to be even more convenient than it is for humans.

VetPronto, a San Francisco startup that allows pet owners to connect with mobile on-call vets, will soon launch in Portland. It's kind of like PostMates, but instead of a guy delivering a crispy chicken sandwich, a veterinarian will deliver pet care.

Portland will be the 11th city the app will launch in.

"Portland is an amazing pet town. I think people like animals more than they like people," says the app's co-founder Joe Waltman.

VetPronto wanted to increase the transparency using on simple pricing. They work with local vets and charge a flat rate of $150 for any issue, plus ten other conditions with flat rates. For example, if your dog has diarrhea, you pay $150 for the house call, $50 for the fecal test and $25 for the medication.

Many vets work somewhere else full-time, Waltman says, but are looking to make an extra income, similar to Uber drivers. While a veterinary clinic can pay them about 20 percent of each visit, VetPronto pays them half the visit value, on average.

"There are a lot of vets looking for work. There's a bit of an oversupply of veterinarians right now," Waltman says. "We like to think we're giving them a potential better work option where there's more flexibility."

He says that each VetPronto customer also must undergo a background check before veterinarians are allowed to come to their homes.

But once they're there, Waltman believes pets receive better care.

"We feel comfortable saying you'll get much better care in the comfort of your home. The doctor can observe the animal in their natural environment. They get so wound up at a clinic, oftentimes the stress caused by going to the clinic does more harm than what they came for in the first place," he says.

Unlike Uber, VetPronto isn't truly 24/7, it's more like 8am-8pm, seven days a week, but they can almost always do a same-day visit.

"I feel like we are riding an encouraging trend," Waltman says. "Uber and Postmates are allowing consumers to tolerate and expect much high convenience and customer service."

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