Whether you have an American Shorthair, German Shepherd, or Bearded Dragon, telemedicine for pets is changing how pet owners interact with their primary veterinary care providers. During the Covid era, people are relying more on digital interactions with their vet than in-person visits.
As businesses close and in-person visits become impossible, veterinary telemedicine is now at the forefront of innovations in veterinary care. Consulting with your vet on the phone, via Skype or Zoom, or even text or email is all considered telemedicine. It’s an incredibly efficient way to get advice on potential hazards to your pet’s health and even more information on topics that aren’t as pressing.
If you’ve felt like the stress of a vet visit during the Covid pandemic isn’t worth it, consider giving your vet a call. Most veterinary clinics in New York remained open throughout the year, and many vets offer online services as an alternative to an in-person consultation. All that is required is for the vet to have seen your animal in person at least one time, and you can schedule a telemedicine appointment.
Why Is Telemedicine for Pets So Common Now?
As we all know, Covid struck New York City hard. Businesses were forced to close due to social distancing measures, and people often didn’t feel comfortable visiting essential businesses that remained open anyway. However, pets still need care, regardless of a pandemic going on outside.
Telemedicine during Covid for pets became a way for vets to provide care to their clients and patients without dealing with the dangers of an in-person visit. Through online correspondence, a vet might be able to diagnose the issue and prescribe medication that you can pick up yourself.
Further, Covid has put a strain on veterinary clinics, even if their business is still able to operate. Clients weren’t coming in, and pets weren’t getting the care they needed. Vets need to make money too, and telemedicine for pets became the best way for them to maintain their income and provide adequate care to their patients.
People also often rely on their vets for advice about other, non-life-threatening issues. Telemedicine is an excellent way to receive qualified advice from your trusted vet so you can avoid that Google search rabbit hole that might cause more problems than it solves.
Do I Need a VCPR for a Telemedicine Consultation?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, vets need to have an established veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) to diagnose and prescribe medication to your animal.
However, with Covid wreaking havoc on our normal ways of doing business, many governments have relaxed the requirements for VCPR. As such, you may have access to more vets other than your primary care provider for a telemedicine consultation.
The increase in telemedicine availability has led to an explosion of more and more people adopting the practice. Whether these regulations stay in place after Covid has passed, only time will tell.
What’s the Difference Between Telemedicine and Teletriage?
While telemedicine is growing in popularity, it’s not always an option for pet owners. This is especially the case if it’s a new pet that hasn’t seen your primary vet yet. Teletriage is a viable alternative for many people seeking advice, especially if this issue is non-life threatening and doesn’t warrant an emergency clinic visit.
Teletriage is medical or pet care advice that isn’t given by a licensed veterinarian. As such, you can’t get a prescription or qualified medical care from a teletriage service. However, you may get answers to other questions.
Teletriage, and telemedicine, are fantastic resources for answering questions like, “Is the food my dog stole safe for him to eat?” or, “Is my cat’s litter box behavior normal?” Even if you feel like your questions aren’t appropriate for a medical professional, a teletriage service might be able to help you and provide some advice on the next steps to take.
How Expensive is Telemedicine for Pets?
The cost of telemedicine for pets varies depending on which clinic you use and also which app you use if any. There are many telemedicine apps available that instantly connect you with your vet or another vet within your network. Some apps charge a monthly subscription fee, while others have a one-time fee that varies with each provider.
However, your vet might offer a telemedicine service directly. You can contact them to see if they do, and often they will give you a better price than an in-person visit. If you’re calling outside of office hours and it’s not an urgent issue, then a teletriage service might be a good option as well.
The real advantage of a direct telemedicine service with your veterinary care provider is that they typically have access to your pet’s medical records. While it might be more expensive than using one of the apps that are available, knowing that they have personal knowledge of your animal might be worth the cost.
Is Telemedicine for Pets Right for You?
You might be hesitant to try out this game-changing service with your pet(s). However, telemedicine for pets shouldn’t be intimidating. It’s a very straightforward and easy way to consult with your veterinarian, without exposing yourself to the risks of the Coronavirus.
If your veterinarian offers direct telemedicine for dogs or cats, then you should give it a try if your pet is experiencing some problems. They’ll often give you solid advice on how to solve your pet’s issues from home, and also some tips for pet care that you might not think of.
There are a plethora of telemedicine apps available that cater to different types of pet owners. Telemedicine for cats might not be the same process as for dogs, so it’s important to get an understanding of how one service compares to others.
However, telemedicine is not a viable solution for a medical emergency. If your pet is experiencing life-threatening problems, you should take them into an emergency clinic immediately for proper care.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/brFsZ7qszSY
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