A Fur Parent’s Guide To Using Vet Telehealth Care Platforms

By Tom •  Updated: 05/30/21 •  6 min read
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With the advancement in technology and an increase in internet use, there’s been a gradual transition to everything online. Healthcare provision is no exemption. Doctors and pet veterinary service providers who, a few months ago, only offered face-to-face consultations have moved some of their services online and now offer telehealth services. 

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Regardless of your pet’s type and size, you can seek veterinary telemedicine services, especially when dealing with minor pet problems that don’t require you to visit a veterinary health worker in person. 

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This guide has what you’ll need to know about pet veterinary telehealth care, including what telemedicine is, how telemedicine works, and much more. Continue reading to learn more. 

What Is Telemedicine? 

To understand what telemedicine is, you need first to know the term telehealth. 

Telehealth is the use of technology to deliver healthcare education and information to patients without physical contact. It’s the delivery of health-related services via digital communication technologies.

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Telemedicine, on the other hand, is a subgroup of telehealth. It involves using communication devices to pass medical information electronically from a health worker to a patient. 

When it comes to veterinary medicine, you can talk to your pet veterinary service provider through phone calls, texts, video calls, email, and other communication apps. This allows your pet veterinarian to give you real-time advice on how to take care of your sick animal. Veterinary telemedicine works best when there’s a previous veterinary client relationship. 

Finding A Reputable Doctor

If there is no relationship established between you and your pet’s telehealth vet, be sure to do your homework on the clinic you choose. For each location, go through client reviews and ask the doctor for their history and background should you decide to make an appointment. Don’t be afraid to shop around and get a second or third opinion if you’re unsure about the doctor’s analysis. Your pet’s fate rests with this professional individual, and you want to be sure their diagnosis and recommendations for therapy are well researched and correct. You never want to have an instance where you didn’t do the proper legwork and your pet becomes more ill than they were before because you found an online telemedicine doctor that wasn’t reputable. If it’s a situation where you’re in-person and telehealth doctors are different, be sure to get your pet’s records so once you head back to your original pet doctor, you have all the notes from the virtual visit. 

How Does Veterinary Telemedicine Work?

There’s not much difference between human and veterinary telemedicine. When your pet is unwell, you can reach your pet veterinarian byway of a telecommunication channel to provide information about your pet’s condition. 

A veterinarian can use either medical history or physical examination to gather information about your pet. When it comes to telemedicine, the medical history method is the most effective. The veterinarian will require you to provide information about warning signs you may see in your pet.

The date you first saw symptoms and whether your pet’s condition is or isn’t improving will help the doctor find a possible diagnosis for your pet. Having a thorough timeline about your pet’s signs and symptoms is as vital as taking your pet to the vet for a physical examination.

Physical examination is a method where you’ll be required to provide photos and videos of the affected pet, including the affected parts of the body. The veterinarian could also ask you to examine your pet by yourself and send your findings. For instance, they might ask you to take your pet’s heart rate and send the report to the office.

If your pet’s condition isn’t dire, the veterinarian may prescribe medication or provide options for treatment. Minor concerns like common flu, diarrhea, and mild limping can be addressed through telemedicine. However, if your pet’s condition worsens, the doctor may decide to drop in at your home for a check-up.  

What To Do If Your Pet Can’t Be Treated Through Telemedicine? 

While telemedicine can tackle a wide range of pet symptoms, it can’t address serious injuries or severe chronic conditions. In telemedicine, the veterinarian can only provide medication to relieve symptoms. Should a situation arise where your doctor can’t adequately collect enough information during a telemedicine examination, a trip to the hospital may be inevitable. Your pet doctor might recommend an in-person examination and to run some tests to assess the severity and get to the root of the problem. If not, your pet’s condition might deteriorate which could require further tests, another solution that can only be done in-person.

Your vet doctor will be able to provide the next course of action after your pet has been physically evaluated, such as if they’ll need to be hospitalized. If your pet does need to stay at the hospital for a few days, telemedicine could be used to monitor the progress of your pet after they’ve checked out. For instance, if the veterinarian wants to do a post-surgical re-check or annual examination on your pet, they can use telemedicine platforms to monitor progress. 

Though sometimes telehealth and telemedicine might not provide an opportunity to perform a thorough pet examination, the veterinary can be able to gather comprehensive information to help diagnose your pet.

Takeaway

Pet veterinary telemedicine has become the best option for people who are working from home and unable to physically bring their pets to the doctor. For instances like finding solutions to minor ailments and medication for their pets, telemedicine is particularly beneficial if it’s impossible to physically visit your pet veterinary due to distance and other barriers. For instance, it could be hard to find pet veterinary service providers in remote areas, forcing people living in those areas to opt for telemedicine. Be sure to do thorough research to find a reputable pet veterinary telemedicine provider online. 

Taking good health care of your pet is as good as taking care of your own health. Don’t wait until your pet’s health deteriorates, but rather deal with the symptoms as soon as you see them. This’ll ensure you don’t lose your pet or spend a lot of money to treat a condition that could’ve been managed if treated earlier. 

 

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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