BY JACKIE CAHILL
Furry friends can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to Robert S. Hildreth, or “Dr. Bob,” veterinary doctor and owner of Guam Mobile Pet Services. Hildreth is making things a little easier for fur babies and their owners by offering in-house veterinary services.
As anyone with animals knows, a trip to the vet can be a traumatic experience for pets. “A lot of animals get very stressed out going to the clinics because of the barking dogs and the general chaos and the long waiting times,” Hildreth said. “It’s been shown that animals actually key off your car keys, and you grabbing your purse, things like that.” Conducting a vet visit in an animals’ home environment helps ease this anxiety.
Home visits are also convenient for pet owners. “If you’re going to wait to see somebody and have your dog serviced, isn’t it better to wait at your own house so you can get other things done,” Hildreth said. “Our business sells convenience in that service, and at the same prices, essentially, as the other clinics on island.”
Hildreth has worked in veterinary clinics for 40 years and has been a practicing veterinary doctor for 25. He holds a bachelor’s of science from the University of California Berkeley and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from UC Davis. He opened Guam Mobile Pet Services with his wife, Tammy J. Hildreth, in March. The couple runs the operation out of their Jeep Wrangler and home office.
“I do the medicine part; she does the assisting and a lot of the client communications,” Hildreth said. Starting the mobile veterinary service cost the couple upwards of $250,000, which included expenses such as medical equipment, inventory and vehicle costs, he told the Journal.
Guam Mobile Pet Services offers similar services as brick-and-mortar vets for similar prices since they don’t have overhead costs. “Everything you see in an outpatient clinic, we do,” Hildreth said. “So, everything from puppy vaccinations and wellness exams to dermatology … to internal medicine. We do full on blood work; we have the same blood machines as the other hospitals on island.”
Hildreth also has a portable x-ray machine, allowing him to do everything from pregnancy checks to broken bones. He even does light surgeries such as laceration repairs, removal of skin masses and simple fracture repairs. “We’ve actually done blood transfusions on dogs in people’s homes,” Hildreth said. “We treat pretty serious stuff because my background supports the ability to do that.”
Guam Mobile Pet Services operates Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. “However, the job is done when the job is done,” Hildreth said. Every day he drives a loop around the island, starting north in Yigo and heading south. On average he sees eight to 10 patients daily, but has seen as many as 22 in one day.
Hildreth provides “evidenced based” care, meaning he takes all necessary steps to properly diagnose a patient. “We’re committed to getting people answers and committing to take care of patients and understanding that their dogs and cats aren’t just dogs and cats, they’re family members,” he said.
Hildreth also believes in the importance of educating pet owners during a consultation. “We want [clients] to actively participate [in the process],” he said. “An educated client understands more about their patient and how to prevent disease and how to take care of conditions that are ongoing, and those are really important.”
The mobile clinic has seen a lot of growth in its first months and already has many patients. Hildreth said they are working on getting an actual surgical center where they can perform more extensive surgeries in the future.
Hildreth is also interested in teaching and mentoring those who are interested in the field. “We’re looking to possibly start a program of technician training,” he said. “We’re hoping to maybe have something next summer. That would be a class at one of the local universities for people who are already enrolled in the university who would be interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.”
Hildreth and his wife moved to Guam from California two years ago. “We plan to retire here,” he said, though he doesn’t think he ever will. “I really enjoy my job, that’s the thing; I really enjoy it. Veterinary medicine is a blast, it really is,” he said. “I’ve committed to this profession my entire life, since I was 14, and that’s not going to end until the day I die.”
Guam Mobile Pet Services can be reached by phone at 682-8890 or online at DVMGuam.com. mbj