Vet telehealth refers to virtual check-ups and visits for pets. Interest in virtual telehealth solutions is increasing primarily because they’re significantly cheaper than traditional pet care (8 out of 10 pet owners avoid vet visits for financial reasons).
Virtual visits have proven to be a surprisingly effective way to assess a pet’s health. One study has found that pet telemedicine assessments were correct in 99.4% of cases.
An increasing number of startups are launching vet telehealth solutions, further accelerating this trend.
And there is plenty of room for future growth in this segment: forecasts show that this market is estimated to grow 3.5x over the next six years.
Vet telehealth is part of the Digital Pet Care meta trend.
The entire pet medical care process is rapidly going virtual.
In addition to virtual vet visits, people are now also buying pet medications online.
In fact, online sales of pet medications now represent 19% of total pet medications sales (this number has grown 3x in the last two years).
Which explains why even major players like Chewy have launched online pet pharmacies.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Question: What is Vet Telehealth?
Answer: Vet Telehealth is the use of technology to provide remote veterinary care. This can include virtual consultations, remote monitoring, and other telemedicine services. Vet telehealth, also known as telemedicine for pets, is a digital healthcare service that enables pet owners to connect with licensed veterinarians remotely. It allows pet owners to seek medical advice, diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and even prescriptions for their pets using online communication platforms, such as video calls or chat services. Vet telehealth provides a convenient and accessible way to access veterinary care without physically visiting a veterinary clinic, particularly for non-emergency situations or when in-person visits are challenging.
Vet telehealth is the ability to provide health education and care for pets remotely, using tools such as phone, text, video chat, or online platforms. Vet telehealth can help pet owners access veterinary advice and guidance without having to visit a clinic in person, which can save time, money, and stress.
Question: How does Vet Telehealth work?
Answer: Vet Telehealth works by enabling pet owners to connect with veterinarians remotely using technology such as video conferencing, messaging apps, and other digital tools. Vet telehealth works by leveraging technology to facilitate remote consultations between pet owners and veterinarians. Pet owners typically use a dedicated telehealth platform or application to schedule an appointment and provide relevant information about their pet’s condition. During the consultation, the veterinarian evaluates the pet’s symptoms, asks relevant questions, and may request additional information or images. Based on this assessment, the veterinarian provides a diagnosis, treatment plan, or recommendations. In some cases, prescriptions can be sent directly to a pharmacy for pickup or delivered to the pet owner’s home.
Question: What is the difference between vet telehealth and vet telemedicine?
Answer: Vet telemedicine is a subcategory of vet telehealth that involves the exchange of medical information electronically to improve the pet’s health. Vet telemedicine usually requires a vet-client-patient relationship (VCPR), which means that the vet has seen the pet in person before and can diagnose and prescribe medications remotely. Vet telehealth does not necessarily require a VCPR and can be used for general advice, triage, or follow-up care.
Question: What are the benefits of using Vet Telehealth?
Answer: The benefits of using Vet Telehealth include greater convenience for pet owners, reduced stress for pets, and improved access to veterinary care. Vet telehealth can offer many benefits for pet owners and their pets, such as:
- Convenience: You can access veterinary care from anywhere, anytime, without having to travel or wait in a clinic.
- Cost-effectiveness: You can save money on transportation, parking, or consultation fees by using vet telehealth services.
- Comfort: You can avoid the stress and anxiety that some pets may experience when visiting a clinic, especially if they are sick or injured.
- Continuity: You can maintain a consistent relationship with your regular vet or find a new one that suits your needs and preferences.
- Communication: You can communicate with your vet more easily and frequently, and share important information such as photos, videos, or medical records.
Question: What are the advantages of using vet telehealth?
Answer: Using vet telehealth offers several advantages:
- Convenience: Telehealth eliminates the need for travel and waiting room visits, providing a more convenient way to access veterinary care, particularly for minor issues or follow-up appointments.
- Reduced stress: Some pets experience anxiety or stress when visiting veterinary clinics. Telehealth allows them to receive care in a familiar and comfortable environment, minimizing stress for both pets and owners.
- Time and cost savings: Telehealth consultations can save time by eliminating travel and waiting time. They may also be more cost-effective, especially for non-emergency situations, as they can reduce transportation costs and potentially lower consultation fees.
- Access to specialists: Telehealth can connect pet owners with specialized veterinarians or experts who may not be available locally, providing access to a broader range of expertise.
Question: Are there any limitations or risks associated with vet telehealth?
Answer: Vet telehealth has certain limitations and potential risks:
- Limited physical examination: Remote consultations may not allow for a thorough physical examination, which can be crucial for diagnosing certain conditions or assessing the severity of an issue.
- Technical issues: Connectivity problems or technical difficulties can disrupt telehealth consultations, impacting the quality and effectiveness of the session.
- Inability to perform diagnostic tests: Telehealth consultations do not facilitate in-person diagnostic tests, such as blood work or X-rays, which may be necessary for accurate diagnosis in some cases.
- Legal and regulatory considerations: Telehealth services must adhere to local laws and regulations, and there may be restrictions on prescribing certain medications or providing specific treatments remotely.
- Emergency situations: Vet telehealth is not suitable for emergencies or situations requiring immediate, hands-on veterinary care. In such cases, it’s crucial to seek in-person veterinary assistance promptly.
Question: What are the limitations of vet telehealth?
Answer: Vet telehealth is not a replacement for in-person veterinary care and has some limitations, such as:
- Quality: The quality of vet telehealth services may vary depending on the provider, platform, technology, and internet connection.
- Scope: Vet telehealth cannot be used for every situation or condition, especially if your pet needs physical examination, diagnostic tests, surgery, or emergency care.
- Regulation: Vet telehealth is subject to different laws and regulations in different states and countries, which may affect the availability and legality of certain services or prescriptions.
- Responsibility: You are responsible for providing accurate and complete information about your pet’s health and history, as well as following the vet’s instructions and recommendations.
Question: What types of services can be provided through Vet Telehealth?
Answer: Services that can be provided through Vet Telehealth include virtual consultations, remote monitoring of pets with chronic conditions, and other telemedicine services. Vet telehealth can provide a range of services, including but not limited to:
- General health consultations: Pet owners can discuss their pet’s overall health, behavior, nutrition, and preventive care.
- Symptom assessment: Veterinarians can evaluate and provide guidance on specific symptoms or concerns, such as gastrointestinal issues, skin conditions, or minor injuries.
- Follow-up appointments: Telehealth consultations can be used for post-treatment or surgery follow-ups to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
- Second opinions: Pet owners can seek second opinions from different veterinarians without the need for additional in-person visits.
- Behavioral consultations: Veterinarians can offer advice and guidance on managing pet behavior issues, training, or anxiety.
It’s important to note that vet telehealth has certain limitations and may not be suitable for emergency situations or cases that require hands-on examinations or diagnostic tests.
Question: Is vet telehealth suitable for all pets?
Answer: Vet telehealth is suitable for many pets, but its applicability may vary depending on the circumstances. It can be used for dogs, cats, and other small animals in various situations, including routine health check-ups, minor illnesses, behavior consultations, or follow-up appointments. However, there are cases where in-person veterinary care is necessary, such as emergencies, serious injuries, or conditions that require physical examinations, diagnostic tests, or surgical procedures. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian to determine whether telehealth is appropriate for a specific pet’s needs.
Question: How do I choose a reliable vet telehealth platform?
Answer: When choosing a vet telehealth platform, consider the following factors:
- Reputation and reviews: Look for platforms with positive reviews and a good reputation among pet owners. Check for any complaints or concerns regarding their services.
- Licensed veterinarians: Ensure the platform employs licensed veterinarians who have the necessary qualifications and expertise in the relevant areas.
- User experience: Evaluate the platform’s user interface, ease of scheduling appointments, and communication options to ensure a smooth experience.
- Availability and support: Consider the platform’s availability, customer support options, and responsiveness to address any concerns or issues that may arise.
By considering these factors, you can select a reliable and reputable vet telehealth platform that best meets your pet’s needs and ensures a positive telehealth experience.
Question: How do I find a veterinarian that offers Vet Telehealth services?
Answer: You can find veterinarians that offer Vet Telehealth services by searching online or asking your current veterinarian if they offer telemedicine services. There are many vet telehealth services available online, but you should do some research before choosing one. Some factors to consider are:
- Reputation: Check the reviews and ratings of the service from other pet owners and experts.
- Credentials: Verify the qualifications and licenses of the vets who provide the service.
- Compatibility: Make sure the service is compatible with your device, operating system, browser, and internet speed.
- Cost: Compare the prices and payment options of different services and choose one that fits your budget.
- Coverage: Check if your pet insurance covers vet telehealth services or if you can get discounts or coupons from the service provider.
Some examples of vet telehealth services are TeleVet, Pawp, Dutch, Airvet, PetDesk, AskVet, etc.
Question: Is Vet Telehealth covered by pet insurance?
Answer: Some pet insurance policies cover Vet Telehealth services. You should check with your insurance provider to see if your policy covers these services.
Question: How much does Vet Telehealth cost?
Answer: The cost of Vet Telehealth services can vary depending on the provider and the type of service being provided. You should check with your veterinarian or telemedicine provider for more information.
Question: Is Vet Telehealth regulated?
Answer: Yes, Vet Telehealth is regulated by state veterinary boards and other regulatory bodies. These regulations vary by state and may require veterinarians to be licensed in the state where the pet owner resides.
Question: What are some common concerns about using Vet Telehealth?
Answer: Some common concerns about using Vet Telehealth include the quality of care provided remotely, the ability to diagnose certain conditions without an in-person exam, and the potential for misdiagnosis or incorrect treatment.
Question: Is vet telehealth secure and private?
Question: How do I protect my privacy and security when using vet telehealth services?
Answer: Vet telehealth services involve sharing personal and sensitive information about yourself and your pet online. To protect your privacy and security when using these services, you should:
- Choose a reputable service provider that has clear policies on how they collect, use, store, and share your data.
- Use strong passwords, encryption, firewalls, antivirus software, and other security measures to protect your device, network, and accounts from hackers or malware.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks or devices when accessing vet telehealth services.
- Be careful about what information you share online and who you share it with.
- Report any suspicious activity or breach of privacy or security to the service provider and authorities.
Question: What are some best practices for using Vet Telehealth?
Answer: Best practices for using Vet Telehealth include choosing a reputable provider, providing accurate information about your pet’s condition, and following up with your veterinarian as needed.
Question: How do I prepare for a vet telehealth visit?
Answer: To make the most of your vet telehealth visit, you should prepare some things beforehand, such as:
- Information: Gather relevant information about your pet’s health history, current condition, symptoms, medications, diet, behavior, etc.
- Questions: Write down any questions or concerns you have for your vet and prioritize them according to urgency or importance.
- Environment: Choose a quiet, well-lit, comfortable place where you and your pet can interact with your vet without distractions or interruptions.
- Equipment: Test your device, camera, microphone, speakers, internet connection, and platform before the visit and make sure they work properly.
- Documents: Have any documents that your vet may need ready to share during the visit, such as medical records, lab results, prescriptions, etc.
Question: What should I expect during a vet telehealth visit?
Answer: During a vet telehealth visit, you should expect to:
- Introduce yourself and your pet to your vet and explain why you are seeking their help.
- Answer your vet’s questions about your pet’s health history, current condition, symptoms, medications, diet, behavior, etc.
- Show your pet to your vet using your camera and follow their instructions on how to examine them physically if possible.
- Ask your vet any questions or concerns you have about your pet’s health or treatment plan.
- Listen to your vet’s diagnosis, recommendations, prescriptions, referrals, or follow-up instructions and make sure you understand them clearly.
- Confirm the next steps with your vet, such as scheduling another visit, contacting them for updates, or visiting a clinic in person if needed.
Question: What should I do after a vet telehealth visit?
Answer: After a vet telehealth visit, you should do some things to ensure your pet’s health and satisfaction, such as:
- Review the notes, summary, or transcript of the visit and keep them for future reference.
- Follow your vet’s instructions and recommendations for your pet’s care, such as giving them medications, changing their diet, monitoring their symptoms, etc.
- Contact your vet if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback about the visit or your pet’s condition.
- Share your experience with other pet owners or experts and rate or review the service you used.
Question: Can medications be prescribed through vet telehealth?
Answer: Yes, medications can be prescribed through vet telehealth in certain situations. Veterinarians can assess a pet’s condition remotely and prescribe medications when appropriate. In many cases, veterinarians can electronically send prescriptions to a pharmacy for pet owners to pick up or have the medication delivered to their homes. However, it’s important to note that there are regulations and limitations regarding the prescription of certain medications through telehealth, particularly controlled substances or medications that require more extensive evaluation or monitoring.
Question: How do I know if my pet needs an in-person visit instead of a vet telehealth visit?
Answer: Vet telehealth visits are not suitable for every situation or condition. You should take your pet to a clinic in person if:
- Your pet has an emergency, such as severe bleeding, breathing difficulty, poisoning, seizure, etc.
- Your pet needs physical examination, diagnostic tests, surgery, or other procedures that cannot be done remotely.
- Your pet has a chronic, complex, or serious condition that requires close monitoring or specialized care.
- Your state or country does not allow vet telemedicine services or prescriptions without a prior VCPR.
If you are not sure whether your pet needs an in-person visit or not, you can use a vet tele-triage service, such as VetTriage, to get immediate advice from a licensed veterinarian.
Question: How can I schedule a vet telehealth appointment?
Answer: Scheduling a vet telehealth appointment typically involves the following steps:
- Choose a telehealth platform: Find a reputable vet telehealth platform or application that offers services in your area. Some platforms may require you to create an account or provide basic information about your pet.
- Select a veterinarian: Browse through the available veterinarians on the platform and choose one that suits your needs or has expertise in the relevant area.
- Schedule the appointment: Use the platform’s scheduling system to select a convenient date and time for the consultation. Provide any necessary information about your pet’s condition or symptoms.
- Prepare for the appointment: Before the scheduled time, gather any relevant information, such as previous medical records, images, or videos that can help the veterinarian assess your pet’s condition.
- Connect with the veterinarian: At the appointed time, log in to the telehealth platform and connect with the veterinarian through the provided communication channel, such as video call or chat.