'Dr. Pat' provides in-home veterinarian visits

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comApril 23, 2013 

The doctor's office is a 1997 Toyota 4Runner with 215,000 miles on the odometer.

Patrice Holt, known by her customers as "Dr. Pat," is a Columbus veterinarian who visits the animals she treats rather than the other way around.

In November, she closed her Cooper Creek PetCare Hospital on Milgen Road and began Cooper Creek Mobile Petcare.

She had worked in the building since 1997.

"There is a lot of stress maintaining a building and staff," said Holt, 54. "I have a lot less overhead now."

Just high gas prices.

While the practice of a veterinarian making house calls to treat small animals has been in existence for awhile, maybe 30 or 40 years, Holt remarked, "It is kind of a new concept here."

Currently, she has a "small but loyal" clientele.

Among her patients is a nine-year-old retriever shepherd mix named Phoebe who shares her home with owner Sonya Slessman in Midland, Ga.

Slessman said there is less stress when her dog is getting a vaccination on the back porch, surrounded by familiar sights and smells, than in an office.

She knows her pet is getting all of the doctor's attention.

"Dr. Holt answers all of my questions," Slessman said.

She said Holt really cares about her patients and that when a previous dog of hers had to be put down, Slessman said, "The doctor cried with me."

Holt said there is less stress on pets when they are in their own environment. They are often calmer and less aggressive. Some animals do not travel well.

The American Association of House Call and Mobile Veterinarians says that an in-the-home veterinarian can see if a pet's problem is caused or aggravated by something in the environment in which it lives.

Holt said that in her practice owners need not worry about their pet getting fleas or catching an illness from some other animal in a waiting room.

The people who benefit the most from a mobile service, she said, are the elderly, young parents and people who have multiple pets.

Currently, Holt does not have a mobile unit in which she can take X-rays and or surgical procedures. She hopes to have one soon.

If she believes an animal needs an X-ray taken or a procedure she can't perform, she gives a referral to another doctor.

"I have a good working relationship with several local veterinarians," she said.

Holt provides routine preventive care. She does physical examinations, weight management, vaccinations, deworming, blood work and trims nails. If the pet is a bird, she'll clip the wings.

Holt, who has two cats of her own, will work with any small animal, be it a dog, cat, snake, rabbit or chicken.

She once treated a hamster that had congestive heart disease. It lived another eight months.

Holt did her undergraduate work and received her veterinary training at Tuskegee University. She graduated in 1982.

Her father was in the Army and was stationed at Fort McClellan when she was born in Anniston, Ala. She lived for awhile in Vicksburg, Miss., but most of her childhood was spent in Chicago. The eldest of four children, she always loved animals and the dream of being in the medical field came early in her life.

Her first veterinary job was with the Atlanta Humane Society. She moved here in 1988 and spent time as manager of the Animal Emergency Center.

She is active at St. Mark United Methodist Church, and in her free time, she enjoys reading mysteries and caring for her plants.

Her business has a Facebook page, and she can be reached at 706-569-8999 and pahdvm@gmail.com.

"I work with animals, but I consider myself a people person," she said. "I love interacting with pet owners. I help some of them find the proper pet."

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