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As pet parents, we tend to get anxious when our fur balls show the slightest signs of an illness.
Parents can tell when something is off, but how do you know if it’s trivial or something that needs immediate attention?
There is no need to call your friend from middle school who is now a vet or make an emergency trip to the hospital for nothing!
Telehealth for pets allows virtual vet visits to assess, diagnose, and even prescribe medications.
If you still haven’t stepped on the bandwagon of telehealth for pets, we are here to provide you with all the details!
We will discuss telehealth and how you can use it to benefit your pet.
So, get cozy with your furry friend and take notes!
What is Telehealth For Pets?
Telehealth is a broad term that means remotely accessing health care information.
It involves using healthcare services over a mobile app, text, call, email, video chat, or any other digital medium.
Telehealth for pets grew after COVID-19 when people could not leave their homes. But this trend is here to stay!
Telehealth allows you to talk to a vet without meeting in person. You can call or video chat with your vet right without any hesitation.
Remember: Telehealth is not a replacement for in-office visits. Certain circumstances require physical examinations at a vet clinic (we’ll talk more about these below!).
What Is Included in Telehealth?
Telehealth is an umbrella term that includes telemedicine, tele-triage, teleconsulting, and e-prescription.
Telemedicine means using digital communication to improve your pet’s health.
For example, you can video call your vet who performed a procedure on your pet.
They can assess your pet’s current condition and check if recovery is on track.
Teleconsulting is online advice from a vet. This is usually not urgent and deals with the mundane.
For example, you can consult a vet about your cat’s new food or daily nutrition intake.
E-prescription might involve receiving an updated prescription electronically to save you a trip to the hospital.
Tele-triage assesses if your pet needs urgent care at the ER.
Telemedicine vs. Teletriaging
State boards regulate telehealth services for pet parents.
There is a slight difference between telemedicine and tele-triage as it depends on the service provided.
As a pet owner, you need to understand this difference and the rules of the governing bodies.
This will allow you to opt for the appropriate services from your vet whenever you need them.
The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has given some general guidelines to follow while using telehealth services.
An important rule in telemedicine is establishing a Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship (VCPR).
VCPR requires a pre-established relationship between a vet and the client.
The guidelines for VCPR differ for telemedicine and tele-triage.
Telemedicine is the sub-category of telehealth exclusively for clinical practice.
The proper application of telemedicine is for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of an illness.
You need an established VCPR to avail of this service. Take a look at the example to understand VCPR in this case:
Suppose your dog had minor surgery at the vet clinic, and you must schedule a post-op to follow up. In this case,
- Your vet already has the clinical history of your pet.
- The vet has performed a physical examination of the pet at the clinic (ideally within the past year).
- You have an established prior relationship with your vet.
Now, you can use “telemedicine” services to schedule a virtual appointment with your vet.
The vet can assess your pet and suggest appropriate treatment and post-op care.
Tele-triage is useful in urgent situations where you are unsure of what to do.
These services include assessing if your pet needs in-person emergency care.
You don’t need to have an established relationship with a vet in this case.
Any available televet can look at the symptoms and guide you about the next steps.
Telehealth Services for Pets
Need to consult on trying a new diet for your pet? Maybe you’re anxious if your pet needs urgent treatment.
Telehealth services for pets can be a reliable source of information when consulting about something trivial or potentially serious.
Depending on the situation, you can utilize various telehealth services for your pet.
These services include:
Assessment and Diagnosis
You can use telehealth for pets to assess and diagnose diseases.
If you want to know what’s wrong with your pet, you can call or text your vet (a video call should always be preferred).
Discuss the symptoms with your vet. Show your pet on video and send pictures of the physical changes.
This will help your vet diagnose the issue.
Treatment and Prognosis
Your furry buddy can also receive treatment for an illness from a vet remotely.
Once the vet has diagnosed the issue, they can suggest appropriate treatment for the problem.
You can learn about the prognosis of the illness.
How long does the disease last, what is the expected outcome, and what can you do to mitigate it?
Apart from the diagnosis and treatment, any vet practicing telehealth can provide you with general consultation.
If you need guidance about anything or need to shoot a quick question, you can opt for general consultation.
The consultation will not involve the management of any illness but will resolve your daily concerns.
For instance, you can seek guidance from a vet regarding behavioral training.
Want your pet to stay healthy and active? Check out our detailed blog on the 10 effective ways to naturally boost your dog’s health!
Tele-triage is a vital service in telehealth. You can set a tele-triage appointment with a vet to see if you need to take any immediate steps.
Since your pet cannot tell you when something is seriously off, it is natural to get worried.
We might get worked up over nothing or ignore something potentially dangerous.
A vet should take a look and decide. You can seek a tele-triage appointment within minutes and go to bed peacefully.
Telehealth provides you with the service of e-prescription. The state laws differ in pet e-prescriptions.
In some states, you can easily get a valid electronic prescription and use it at a drug store.
Need a refill on meds? Save the expensive trip to the vet and get a prescription right on your phone!
Benefits of Telehealth for Pets
While it is not an alternative to regular vet visits, there are numerous benefits of telehealth for pets.
If you are still not convinced, here are some of the reasons you should consider telehealth.
Ping Your Vet Guilt-Free
Do you find excuses to ring your vet and feel guilty when it’s nothing?
Now there is a guilt-free method of contacting your vet for all the new pet parents.
You can contact your vet ASAP through the telehealth platform and talk about the itchy skin or minor rash.
Your vet will decide whether you should seek urgent treatment. Or all is well, and you can breathe a sigh of relief!
Save Yourself From the Google Rabbit Hole
When we don’t have emergency access to a vet, what’s the first thing we do? We GOOGLE it!
Google (despite being helpful sometimes) can lead you to improbable scenarios for a common symptom that will elevate your anxiety.
Save yourself from the Google rabbit hole and keep a vet handy. Telehealth for pets allows easy access to a certified vet in no time!
So, let’s not be google doctors and leave the job to the professionals.
Urgent Teletriage Can Save Your Pet’s Life
Not every pet parent is a medical professional to judge the symptoms of an illness.
Using telehealth for a tele-triage can save your pet’s life.
The vet can perform an urgent assessment and see if you need to run to the hospital. Maybe the issue is trivial and can wait till morning.
In both situations, telehealth lets you be on the safe side and consult a professional immediately.
Decreased Anxiety for Your Pet
Do you get scared going to the hospital? Pets get fearful too!
The fear-induced adrenaline in pets can mask the symptoms of illness.
By the time you enter the hospital, it is likely that the symptoms of the disease will magically disappear!
Video calling a vet and showing your pet’s symptoms at home can help your vet diagnose and treat effectively.
Save Time, Money, and Energy
A vet can easily solve routine problems and minor issues through a chat or on a call.
They have detailed notes about your pet and can guide you over the phone.
This is why telehealth saves time, money, and energy spent going to a hospital for every little sign of sickness.
When is Telehealth Advisable for Pets?
There is no denying that some issues do warrant a physical checkup.
But telehealth can often be your savior from multiple trips to the clinic.
These minor visits may include regular checkups for chronic conditions.
Also, the development of new symptoms that do not require urgent care and post-surgery follow-up sessions can be easily dealt with by telehealth.
If your pet is dealing with a long-time illness, you can schedule telehealth appointments for regular checkups.
Your vet will have all the necessary clinical history and can easily assess your pet’s condition over the phone.
Some chronic conditions for which you can switch to telehealth include:
Telehealth can also help you treat the symptoms of acute ailments.
If the symptoms of the disease are mild and non-threatening, you can schedule a video call appointment.
These acute symptoms include:
- Insect bites
- Mild stomach issues or indigestion
- Eye infections
It is important to know which symptoms are mild and which can indicate a serious underlying condition.
This is why you should read our article on the 25 Dog Health Symptoms that You must Address Right Away!
Remote appointments with your vet will reduce the time for follow-up sessions after surgery.
Your vet can analyze your pet’s condition over a video call and advise any necessary steps.
You can also ask questions or share any concerns over a simple text or call!
Best Telehealth Apps for Pets
Ready to experience telehealth for pets? Here is a round-up of the best telehealth apps you can use!
Televet is the best app for navigating remote appointments easily if your pet is already seeing a vet.
Just create a profile on the app and connect with your vet.
You can see the available timings and services provided by your vet.
Fill out a short form, and your vet will respond to you and schedule an appointment.
You can also select if you prefer to call or video chat!
Need a fast reply to a random pet concern? Try Chewy!
Chewy is an app used for ordering pet food and goods but also offers great pet consultation.
The telemedicine services provided by the app allow you to connect with a professional instantly.
It does not involve a clinical diagnosis, but you can get quick replies to your general questions.
Airvet’s network is best for dealing with emergencies.
You can talk to your vet (if they are already in the Airvet network) or any other licensed professional.
The goal is to connect with an expert urgently.
Telehealth for Pets: Final Words
Need timely medical help for your canine best friend? The answer is telehealth for pets!
Telehealth includes telemedicine, teleconsultation, tele-triage, and e-prescription.
These services allow you to access a vet remotely without leaving your home!
With these countless benefits, pet parents are rapidly switching to telehealth.
All you need to do is sign up on your preferred telehealth app and create a profile of your pet.
Once connected to an expert, you can easily manage acute symptoms, post-op care, and even refill on regular medications.
Haven’t tried telehealth yet? We suggest you do so soon—telehealth for pets is here to stay!
READ NEXT: Does Pet Insurance Cover Vet Visits?
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