What is Telemedicine for Pets?

One of the few positives to come out of the COVID-19 crisis is a growing realization that we can save time and money by doing so many things remotely. It could be work, seeing a doctor, or even getting a medical diagnosis for a pet.

Telemedicine refers to how pet owners can access veterinary help, either through electronic or telecommunication services. Read on to find out about how telemedicine for your pets could benefit you.

When Do Vets Use Telemedicine?

Once the digital age began, vets and their clients started to find telemedicine useful in certain situations. These included:

  • During periods of extreme weather when there were road closures
  • When there was high demand outside regular office hours
  • When a person had limited mobility or lived in a remote place

During the pandemic, the demand for telemedicine has grown. Vets now use it to consult with clients, get pet histories, and even examine a pet virtually to diagnose and treat medical issues.

Research in human telemedicine has been positive. One survey showed a 79 percent satisfaction rate among patients.

What Symptoms Can Vets Diagnose Using Telemedicine?

Telemedicine works well for all sorts of issues. But, for life-threatening problems or emergencies, you should always take your pet to see the vet in person. 

Here are some of the problems and symptoms your vet might be able to diagnose or help with through telemedicine:

  • Allergies, itching, rashes, conjunctivitis, ear infections, and insect bites
  • Flea and tick infestations
  • Dietary care, weight management, and behavioral issues
  • Backaches, sprains, or soft tissue cuts and bruises
  • Mild coughs and bronchitis
  • Bladder infections, vomiting, and diarrhea 
  • Follow-up consultations after surgery

Are There Any Drawbacks With Telemedicine?

Although the time and cost-saving benefits are clear, telemedicine does have its limits. Your vet won’t be able to use technical equipment directly on your pet. If your pet needs an X-ray, that would mean a visit in person.

The most important thing to bear in mind is that telemedicine is not a replacement for emergency treatment. If you’re in any doubt about the seriousness of your pet’s condition, you should always err on the side of caution and go straight to your vet.

There may, however, be times when a quick online consultation eliminates the need to visit the veterinary clinic.

What Should I Expect Before My Pet’s Telemedicine Consultation?

You will need to be familiar with the particular app or provider your vet uses. Before the consultation, they should send you details about this. They should also inform you of the following:

  • An explanation of how telemedicine works
  • Costs of virtual consultations and what happens if there is a technical failure
  • Your payment options
  • How prescriptions and access to medical records will work 
  • How they will communicate with other veterinary professionals, if necessary

Your vet is also likely to ask you to give an “informed consent” before any consultation takes place.

What Should I Expect During My Pet’s Telemedicine Consultation?

During your virtual vet visit, you’re likely to need to answer questions like these:

  • What problem is your pet having?
  • How long has your pet been experiencing these issues?
  • How severe is the problem?
  • How does the problem manifest itself?
  • Does your pet show signs of being in pain?
  • What is your pet’s medical history?
  • Does your pet suffer from an allergy, or are you giving them any medication?

Your vet may ask you to direct the camera on particular parts of your cat or dog. Make sure you have a portable camera during the consultation to make these tasks easier. 

You could also consider enlisting the help of a friend during the consultation to hold up your pet or the camera for your vet. Depending on the problem, your vet may want to look at:

  • Your pet’s eye reflexes
  • The color of their gums
  • Your pet’s breath
  • Your pet’s ability to stand or walk
  • Any skin injuries or other types of wounds

What Happens After My Pet’s Telemedicine Examination?

Your vet will talk to you about possible diagnoses. Depending on the issue, they may suggest further tests and procedures. Your vet might also feel your pet needs a prescription that you can pick up or receive in an email.

Sometimes, a follow-up visit may be necessary. Finally, your vet will send you a post-appointment email outlining the details and conclusions of your online consultation, as well as what to do if further problems crop up.

Convenient and Cost-effective Consultations

At Cooper Pet Care, we understand the busy lives our customers can lead. If your cat or dog is experiencing a problem you’re concerned about, get in touch with us now for instant online access to a fully qualified vet.

We are also pleased to be able to offer straightforward, hassle-free pet insurance. This gives peace of mind for whatever the future might bring.

Get your pet the protection they need, today

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