It’s 7 a.m when a 28-foot custom built and converted interstate commercial trailer is pulled into the parking lot of Ahwatukee’s Pet Planet on Chandler Boulevard.
When the trailer is unhitched, Dr. Kelly’s Mobile Surgical Unit is open for business.
And there is business, indeed – spay and neutering, mass removals, hernia repairs, even dental cleanings on cats and dogs.
Dr. Kelly Patriquin owns Dr. Kelly’s Mobile Surgical Unit with her husband, Doug. The couple and parents of two boys, 10 and 11, purchased the business, and one rig, last October from a retiring veterinarian who ran a spay and neuter clinic.
In July, Kelly purchased another trailer, enabling her to cover Ahwtaukee and the East Valley with one and Phoenix, Buckeye and Scottsdale with the other. Each mobile unit also has four nurses.
Kelly’s business is booming, enough so that the company is considering adding a third trailer.
“There are a significant number of pet owners that can’t afford what has become the standard pricing model of most veterinary surgical procedures,” said Kelly.
“When pet owners have to choose between paying their mortgage and a needed medical procedure for their pet, they can feel a lot of stress,” she added. “We help make that stressful choice easier for owners by being as cost-efficient as possible, and passing the savings on to our clients.”
The Phoenix native received her degree from Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997, then worked in private practice in Phoenix, Prescott and Portland, Oregon.
The stress of her own private practice, with its long hours and many weekends away from her family, prompted her decision to start the mobile surgical unit.
“There’s an obvious upside to owning your own practice. After owning a large, multi-doctor practice for several years, I was looking to make a change. Being able to use my skills and love of surgery to provide affordable care to pet owners that could not afford the procedure otherwise has been extremely rewarding,” said Kelly, who previously owned a four-doctor animal hospital for more than eight years.
“Another big, big change for me has been having quality of life with my family,” she noted, adding:
“The last 20 years I’ve spent working weekends. And there were evenings required. I used to come home after the boys were in bed. Now, with our Monday through Friday schedule, it’s great to have this time together.”
She said there are occasions when the Mobile Surgical Units do special events for rescue or shelter organizations and will open on what typically would be a day off.
Those are posted on their Facebook page, along with their schedules for both units, and maps to their locations.
Surgery long has been Kelly’s passion and she continues to pursue that.
“I have always loved surgery, and I pride myself on it. It’s kind of sad that we can’t do as wide a variety of services. For instance, I used to do more orthopedics,” she said.
It is not unusual for the Mobile Surgical Units to do procedures such as mass removal, including enucleation, or amputation.
All surgerical patients are fully anesthetized and digitally monitored, and the firm’s Facebook page is filled with grateful pet owners praising the quality and care of services done.
More common tasks are the administration of vaccines – including those for Lyme disease – insertion of microchips, tooth extraction and other dental needs and nail clipping.
All services are by appointment only.
“We started this mobile surgical business because we felt there was a need for affordable pet care surgical services. I’ve worked in clinics where they routinely charged three times what we do now,” said Kelly. “It makes you feel good providing these services to people at a cost they can afford.”
Melissa Porphir, manager of Ahwatukee’s Pet Planet, was one of those using the facility during a recent Mobile Surgical Unit visit.
“I took Gomer, my 13-year-old Chihuahua, to have four teeth pulled, and it went really well. He’s back to his bossy self, and it cost less than I expected,” said the Mesa resident.
She said she recommends Dr. Kelly’s Mobile Surgical Unit to friends when they stop in Ahwatukee or further east.
“I think they’re really professional and extremely cost-effective,” said Porphir.
Caring for pets is more than a job for Kelly, her husband and two sons, who share their home with two dogs – 12-year old Carter, a shepherd lab mix, and Thai, a year-old Beagle mix who was a gift for the boys. There are also two cats named Porkchop and Rook.
Prices are listed online at their website: DrKellysMobileVet.com and on their Facebook page.
Sample prices for services include dog dental cleaning and mass removals, both starting at $200. Cat spay is $60; dog spay and neuter is on a sliding scale based on weight. Up to 20 pounds costs $75 for spay, $65 for neuter; 80 to 100 pounds are $125 and $115, respectively.
Post-operative medications and IV fluids during surgery, when needed, are also available.
Kelly said she does not charge an office visit fee, and can provide free estimates by phone or text.
For appointments, phone 602-909-5383.
Information: DrKellysMobileVet.com or Facebook.