Virtual veterinarian visits have become more and more popular in recent years, and they saw a steep increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, online consultations became a necessity but since then, many veterinary practices have retained this style of telemedicine. This is largely due to the significant advantages virtual vet visits have to offer, to the client, to the veterinarian, and indeed to the pet. So, what are some of the digital pet care advantages? Let’s take a closer look at why online vet visits have become so popular and how they could benefit you and your pet.
Benefits to you, the client:
You can obtain vital reassurance quickly
Sometimes, you might have to wait several days for a routine in-person appointment at your veterinary clinic. There are some problems that you know do not constitute an emergency but that still might be worrying for you, and in these cases, a few days can seem like an awfully long time. Virtual vet visits can often be arranged within a few hours and sometimes even within a few minutes, at any time of the day or night, if you choose to use a specific telemedicine provider (who isn’t your regular veterinarian).
This can save you several days’ worth of worry if they can provide some reassurance that your pet’s problem is not urgent. A veterinarian that you speak to online might also be able to provide some useful advice until you can see a veterinarian in person. Similarly, a virtual consultation with a veterinarian might confirm that your pet’s problem is urgent and advise you that you need an in-person appointment straight away.
They are less time consuming
An in-person to the veterinary clinic can take a significant chunk of time out of your day. Most people will aim to arrive 5-10 minutes before their scheduled appointment time. If the veterinarian is running late then you could be kept waiting 20 mins or longer. Most consultations are at least 15 minutes long and by the time you’ve scheduled in the travel time to and from your appointment, this could amount to the best part of a morning or afternoon!
A virtual veterinarian visit means that you can be getting on with the rest of your day until your scheduled appointment time. Even if they are running late, you could still fit in some jobs around the house until they call.
They can be less costly
Virtual veterinarian visits usually cost less than an in-person appointment. If your pet’s problem can be dealt with digitally then you have saved yourself the full cost of a consultation. Even if your pet does need to be seen in person after a virtual consultation, most veterinary clinics offer a reduced follow-up visit fee, so that you’re no worse-off overall.
They are convenient
Not only do you not need to leave the house, but you also don’t even need to get fully dressed for an online veterinary consultation. You can sit at a computer in your pajamas and slippers if you so wish and no one would know! You also don’t need to worry about whether the car has gas, or whether you need to allow time for traffic on your journey. Yes, the virtual veterinarian visit is definitely convenient.
You can talk to your own veterinarian from anywhere in the world
It’s worrying enough when your pet gets sick, let alone if it happens when you’re away from home. Online veterinary visits allow you to talk to your own veterinarian from (almost!) anywhere in the world. This is particularly helpful if your pet has an ongoing medical condition that your veterinarian already knows about.
Benefits to your pet:
They are less stressful
It’s not unusual for our pets to get stressed at a visit to the veterinarian. The travel, the strange smells of the clinic, other stressed animals, followed by being poked and prodded by a stranger, it’s no wonder our pets often don’t enjoy their veterinary visits. With a virtual consultation, your pet can be seen by the veterinarian without them even really knowing what is going on! They get to stay in the comfort of their own home…for now at least!
They might sometimes be the safer option
This is especially true if your pet can become aggressive at the vet. It is much easier for you to put your pet closer to your webcam so that the veterinarian can get a good look at an area than it is for them to approach your pet in person.
Some pets are not easily transported, particularly if they are very large, if they do not have very good mobility or if they have had a recent orthopedic procedure. A virtual veterinary visit saves you from having to lift your pet in and out of the car and can prevent you from injuring yourself, or your pet in the process.
Benefits to your veterinarian:
They allow your veterinarian to observe your pet in their natural environment
Your pet is much more likely to behave as they normally would in their familiar home environment than they are in the veterinary clinic. This can sometimes make it easier for your veterinarian to diagnose a problem.
Your veterinarian can ask to see things you might otherwise forget to bring to an in-person environment.
This might include food packets so that they can check ingredients or medications that your pet is receiving.
They are more environmentally friendly
With the ever-increasing costs of gas, virtual veterinarian visits not only can save you money, but they can also help save the environment! There will be fewer emissions from vehicles that would otherwise be required for transport and less disposable waste such as gloves and aprons that might be used during an in-person consultation.
They keep everyone safe
As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, virtual veterinary visits reduce the likelihood of disease transmission, not only between humans but between our animals as well!
Of course, virtual veterinarian visits can never fully replace in-person consultations, but no one can argue that digital pet care has its advantages! They can be less stressful and less time-consuming all round, in addition to the numerous other benefits. So, the next time you need a bit of reassurance about your pet, consider checking whether your veterinary practice offers virtual veterinary consultations. If you do not already have a veterinarian, then check out www.bettervet.com to find one near you.
Ensure your pet is nearby! This might include locking the cat flap to prevent your pet from disappearing and making sure another family member doesn’t take the dog out for a walk.
What sort of appointments can be done virtually?
This depends on the individual circumstances but could include medication reviews, post-op checks, behavioral consultations, re-checking a healing wound, and quality of life discussions.
What can an online veterinarian do?
They can usually offer advice about your pet’s problem and let you know how urgently your pet needs to be seen. If you are talking to your regular veterinarian online, they may also be able to issue prescriptions for medication.