Dr. Carol Selavka
of Charlton has started Baystate Mobile Veterinary Services, which provides animal owners with at-home care for their ill pets.
started the service about a month ago, driving a large van to the homes of animals in need of care.
The service is available to area residents; however, she
is willing to travel to residents statewide.
"There was a need for it in the area," Selavka
said in an interview inside the van last Monday.
Selavka, and her technician, Tanya Christian, can perform just about any type of care inside the van, including surgery, euthanasia and x-rays.
The new service is intended to reduce the stress on both the pet and owner, according to Selavka
"It just seems much more personal," Selavka
"It is just so much lower stress for them.
For example, Selavka
x-rayed a dog last week that had impaled itself on a branch.
Instead of the dog going to a regular vet, Selavka
did the scan on a digital x-ray machine in the van.
"The dog is doing fine," Selavka
Since starting, Selavka
done three calls daily, but would like to boost that rate to six.
serves many elderly animal owners, as well as the State Police's
Many families have also requested her
said, because it saves them time during their already hectic days.
Selavka's experience as a veterinarian for many years convinced her
the mobile services would work.
would often receive calls at her
old employer, Sturbridge Veterinary Hospital
, from people who were unable to bring their pets to the facility.
A departure from working in the confines of a brick and mortar veterinary facility, Selavka
said working the van presents unusual circumstances.
For example, whereas an animal might be taken to a closed room at a regular vet, an owner in Selavka's van sees everything being done to the animal.
The face-to-face communication, however, eases the owners' minds and reduces the chances of malpractice occurring, according to Selavka
"It's beneficial now.
It eases the owner," she
"It's just taking a little getting used to.
also uses the inperson care to educate owners, she
often gives them handouts she
prints from the wireless Internet setup in the van.
While business is just starting out, Selavka
is already considering future expansion options.
could renew her
Connecticut practice license and expand her
services to that state.
More care vans and staff are also a possibility, she
said, as well as other care equipment.
"Those are possibilities down the road," she
has also had to adjust to working in the tight quarters, which includes several cages and a surgical table.
ordered the van brand new after learning about them at several professional gatherings.
, the venture is only the latest chapter in her
years a veterinarian.
Having grown up in East Hampton, Conn., Selavka worked 10 years at Angell Animal Medical Center in Springfield, from 1997 until it closed in 2007.
She then worked at Sturbridge Veterinary Hospital.
Pining to work with animals, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a veterinary medical doctor degree in 1995.
She has been a veterinarian technician since 1995.
rolls down the road to her
next service call, Selavka
will remember why she
endeavored on the new service.
said referring to animals, "are part of the family."