From 2022 to 2023, the global market for virtual vet visits is expected to grow by almost 18% annually. With benefits such as lower costs and fewer hassles, there are many reasons more pet owners are opting for remote pet care. If you and your pet have never tried a virtual vet visit, this overview is for you.
Below, explore everything you need to know about preparing for a virtual vet visit. Preparing for your visit ahead of time will help you to get the most out of your online vet consultation.
- Virtual vet visits, also known as telemedicine for pets, are remote veterinary consultations conducted through digital platforms.
- They provide a convenient and accessible way to seek veterinary care without leaving home.
- Virtual vet visits can be a regular part of your pet's veterinary care routine, providing ease and accessibility.
What Are Virtual Vet Visits?
Virtual vet visits, also called telemedicine for pets, are remote veterinary consultations conducted over video or phone calls. Instead of physically visiting a veterinary clinic, pet owners can connect with a licensed veterinarian through a digital platform.
During a virtual vet visit, pet owners can discuss their pet's health concerns, receive advice, and even show visual cues like images or videos of their pet's condition. These virtual appointments provide a convenient and accessible way to seek veterinary care without leaving home.
Choosing a Virtual Vet
Searching for the right vet for an online vet consultation doesn't need to be difficult. Just as you'd properly research an in-person vet, you'll want to consider the same factors when choosing a virtual vet. Some factors to consider before seeking a pet health consultation online include the following:
- Prices and fees
- Customer reviews
- Available appointments
- Access to licensed veterinary professionals
- Supportive services offered, such as telehealth support
- Flexible care options
Although virtual vet visits are simple and easy, there are still a few preparations you should make to help your visit run as smoothly as possible. Before your appointment, ensure you have a strong, stable internet connection to eliminate potential disruptions during your pet's visit. You might also want to go to a quiet room away from other noise in the household to limit distractions.
Many pet owners find it helpful to have a list of questions handy before a video consultation. Preparing for a virtual vet visit with a short list will ensure you have the opportunity to thoroughly address all of your concerns. When creating a list, consider the following:
- What symptoms worry you about your pet's condition?
- If you are addressing a physical concern for your pet such as a new rash or mass, try to take a photo of it to show the doctor, especially if it’s on an area that is difficult to access.
- When did the concern/injury occur?
- What is your pet's mood like?
- Does your pet have a pre-existing condition? Be sure to have your pet’s medical records available.
- Are there any remedies or medications you've already tried? If so, have the dosages handy.
Before the visit, keep important medical information or updates accessible too. Most importantly, try to ensure your pet is near the camera. Your vet will want to see your furry friend for examination purposes!
During the Virtual Visit
During your BetterVet virtual visit, the provider will begin by asking you questions to gather vital information about your pet's health. Then, you will have the chance to discuss your primary concerns with the online vet.
Throughout your consultation, it's important to provide as much information as possible to support an accurate diagnosis. In some instances with advanced medical concerns, or if hands-on therapy is recommended, your BetterVet doctor may recommend an in-home visit to follow up. If your cat or dog is experiencing a symptom that is difficult to explain or show, you may wish to share video or photo content during the visit.
Pet parents will have plenty of opportunities to ask clarifying questions during the appointment. Some examples of questions to ask your vet include:
- When should I bring my pet back for another appointment?
- What side effects of the medication should I look out for?
- When should I expect my pet to show improvement?
- What should I do if my pet’s condition does not improve or worsens? What constitutes an emergency?
- What can I do to help support my pet's comfort?
Telehealth for pets is designed to help support both pets and their parents. Therefore, don't be afraid to ask as many questions as needed about your pet's health care or diagnosis.
After your visit, ongoing care is important to ensuring your pet's recovery process. Your vet will provide you with follow-up instructions at the end of your video vet visit. One of the main advantages of virtual veterinary care is the ease of communication. All of the necessary post-visit information will be available to you electronically, offering added convenience.
Based on the plan of action recommended by your licensed veterinary provider, consider what steps you need to take to support recovery. Whether it's picking up medication or scheduling a follow-up appointment, following expert guidance is the best thing you can do to support your companions.
Benefits of Virtual Vet Visits
Virtual vet visits offer numerous benefits for both pet owners and their furry companions. Here are some advantages to consider:
- Convenience and accessibility: Virtual vet visits allow pet owners to consult with licensed veterinary professionals from the comfort of their own homes. This saves time and eliminates the need for travel, making it more convenient for busy pet owners.
- Cost-effective: Virtual vet visits are often more affordable compared to in-person consultations. They can help pet owners save on travel expenses and reduce overall veterinary costs.
- Reduced stress for pets: Pets can feel anxious or stressed during in-person visits to the vet clinic. Virtual visits allow them to receive veterinary care in a familiar environment, minimizing stress and discomfort.
- Quick reassurance: Virtual vet visits provide prompt reassurance for pet owners concerned about their pet's health. They can be scheduled quickly, reducing waiting times and providing peace of mind.
- Enhanced safety: Virtual visits reduce the risk of disease transmission, both for humans and pets. This is especially relevant in situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, where minimizing contact is crucial.
- Supportive services and follow-up care: Virtual vet visits often come with additional services, such as telehealth support and electronic access to post-visit instructions. This facilitates communication and ensures continuous care for pets.
By considering these benefits, pet owners can make informed decisions about incorporating virtual vet visits into their pet's healthcare routine.
Try a Virtual Vet Visit for Your Pet
Ready to try a virtual vet visit to support your pet's health? Experience the ease and accessibility of virtual vet visits for yourself. With a focus on preparing for your visit and supportive follow-up care, virtual visits can become a regular part of your pet's veterinary care routine.
Book an appointment with BetterVet today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a virtual vet prescribe antibiotics?
During a telehealth consultation, a virtual vet cannot write prescriptions. However, a virtual vet can prescribe antibiotics during a telemedicine appointment if a Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship has been established (following state laws).
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't a virtual vet service do?
Virtual vet services cannot support pets experiencing serious or life-threatening symptoms. Virtual vet services are only to be used for non-emergent medical concerns. Always seek emergency veterinary care from a local clinic if you suspect your pet needs urgent help. Additionally, if your pet has not been seen in quite some time, he/she will likely be due for routine preventive care such as vaccinations and blood tests, which would be better achieved in person.
How much does a virtual vet cost?
A virtual vet’s cost will depend on your location and the provider. At BetterVet, a telehealth appointment is $49, and a telemedicine appointment (when a prescription is needed) is $69. Bear in mind that some states do not permit prescriptions to be written for a pet whom the doctor has not examined in person, but the virtual visit can be a great starting point to obtain insight and advice about your pet’s issue.
How long does an appointment usually last?
A virtual vet visit usually lasts between ten and fifteen minutes depending on the complexity of the issue you are calling about.
Can the veterinarian see more than one pet at the same time using telemedicine?
Yes, but you will need to book an appointment time long enough to cover both pets' health conditions. We recommend a minimum of 15 minutes per animal or per condition.
What sort of pets do virtual veterinarians help?
Virtual veterinarians usually help companion animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and other exotic animals like birds and reptiles if they are trained in this area. Make sure to ask your veterinary practice what pets can be seen during a virtual vet visit.
Are virtual veterinarians registered and licensed?
It’s important to check if the virtual veterinarian is licensed in your state. There are many overseas virtual vet services and not all countries have the same level of training to qualify as a veterinarian. If your virtual veterinarian is licensed in your state, you can be assured they have the appropriate level of skills and qualifications to help your pet virtually.