There are a variety of reasons why a house visit may be requested. The pet may be very sick, transport may be difficult, you may be too infirm to take your pet to the surgery or it may be for euthanasia when it is felt that this would be less stressful at home.
House visits do tend to be quite expensive because they involve a vet and often a veterinary nurse traveling out from the surgery to see you. House visits often take quite a long time and are usually done in the middle of the day routinely. This is the time of day when all the morning consultations and surgical procedures are done and the afternoon ones have not yet begun.
If you would like a house visit then call to arrange a time convenient to yourself and the vet, taking into consideration the clinical condition of your animal. You may be asked to come into the surgery rather than have a house visit if the vet feels that your pet's needs can be fulfilled better that way. (For example if it sounds as if diagnostic tests, surgery or complex treatment may be necessary when you describe your pet's condition). If this is the situation for you but transport is difficult, most vets will be able to suggest taxi firms and other pet transport providers who would be happy to take you and your pet along to the surgery.
Vets will often phone you before they set out from the surgery to confirm the visit and to make sure you are in. It is often helpful to give directions or details regarding parking to the vet at this time. All vets will try to arrive promptly to your home but do allow for traffic congestion and remember that if an emergency case were to come in the vet would have to attend to that first.
When the vet arrives, often with a vet nurse, they will identify themselves if they are not already known to you. They will usually bring in with them any equipment they feel they will need. Try to arrange for the consultation to take place in an area with good light and enough space to work effectively. It can be helpful if the number of people and other animals in the room can be kept to a minimum.
What happens from this stage depends upon the reason for the visit and will be similar to the consultation or procedure done at the surgery. In uncomplicated cases treatment will be provided and any need for a follow up visit will be discussed. If further treatment or tests are required the vet may offer to transport your pet to the surgery for this to be done. If in the sad situation of your pet being put to sleep the vet will be able to take the body to the surgery if you do not want to bury your pet at home.
Many veterinary surgeries request that payment is made to the vet at the house visit. Usually cheques or cash are acceptable but change for cash payments may not be carried. I hope this gives a reasonable guide as to what you might expect from a vet at a house visit, be aware however that some vets may differ in their approach and house visits may not always be possible. Consult your own veterinary practice to find out about their house visit policy.