Pets are a great source of friendship and companionship. They are valued as family members by most pet owners and, without a doubt, help with the emotional and social support needed to enhance one’s well-being. It is only right that pet owners give back the support their pets need. Like human beings, pets require attention and medical care. For your pets to have a long and healthy life, you should take them to a trusted veterinarian for regular checkups and vaccinations. Responsible pet ownership means spending time and money on your pets. You have to make sure that you can afford to look after them and have prepared enough resources for food and shelter and health care, illnesses, accidents, and other unexpected expenses.
Having a pet is a commitment not merely of time but also money. The American Animal Hospital Association reported that pet parents spent about $72.56 billion in 2018. In 2019, pet spending soared to $95.7 billion. Besides pet food, veterinary care is the second biggest expense at $18.11 billion in total. Certainly, online veterinary service has contributed to this. This is because millennials prefer to communicate through technology and are virtually connected 24/7.
Millennials make up almost 25% of the current population, numbered at 72.1 billion, leading to widespread online health care services. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce compared millennials’ lifestyle choices with that of the baby boomers and found out that millennials prefer pet ownership to marriage and children. Millennials would much rather spend on their dogs than they would on their lifestyle. Technology has become a part of their lives, and telehealth is becoming mainstream in health care for both humans and pets. 40% of millennials say that telemedicine is a very important option. The best method to connect and cater to clients is online. It is important to understand what it is, how it works, and how to utilize it efficiently.
The pandemic increased the need for online veterinary services. In-person consultations for animals were temporarily suspended, and it was the best time for veterinarians to expand their reach through the Internet (telehealth, telemedicine, and teleconsultation).
What are veterinary telehealth and telemedicine services?
Have you sent photos of your sick pet and ask your veterinarian for some professional opinion? How about when you are on vacation and want to contact your veterinarian for a quick pet consultation? These are all examples of telemedicine. The American Veterinary Medical Association or AVMA discloses that telehealth is ‘the overarching term that encompasses all uses of technology geared to deliver health information or education remotely.’ At the same time, telemedicine is ‘the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications regarding a patient’s clinical health status.’ Phone calls, email, chat, video messaging, and video conferencing all comprise telemedicine. If you text your veterinarian to follow up an appointment, chat with them to get lab results or call them to consult about your pet’s behavior, you are already using telemedicine.
Online veterinary service might just be an integral part of modern-day health care. AVMA encourages the use of technology in veterinary care while ensuring professionalism and high-quality service. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) has emphasized that veterinary telemedicine must only be done with an existing Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) is established before the veterinarian can treat your pet or even prescribe medication. This means you and your veterinarian have a formal relationship and that the veterinarian must know or have seen your pet well beforehand. In this way, a bond is formed between the veterinarian and client where they understand what the diagnosis is, prescription, and where you are going with the treatment plan.
Among the fifty states, forty-six require a valid VCPR for a veterinarian to diagnose, treat, and see the animal/s of a client. However, there is an exception to this. Veterinarians do not need VCPR requirement in emergency advice or consultation until the veterinarian can see the animal. In the present, AAVSB is looking at the amendment proposed in the criteria of VCPR requirement by Oregon, Florida, Utah, and Georgia.
What is e-prescribing or electronic prescribing?
E-prescribing or electronic prescribing is an act of digitally generating, transmitting, and filing medical prescriptions. Veterinarians can transmit prescriptions directly to the pharmacy, which improves accuracy and patient safety because pharmacists do not have to interpret handwriting or call in prescriptions. Requirements for electronic prescribing differ from state to state.
How it works
Some companies provide pet owners with an accessible and convenient telemedicine option. They offer services that comply with VCPR requirements and are internet-based through a mobile app or a website portal. Pet owners are given access to video consultations by their trusted veterinarian. This is accomplished by downloading the mobile app or opening the website. Pet owners then type in the information needed and see if their veterinarian is online for a video consultation.
How about a consultation without VCPR?
Pet owners who want to consult a veterinarian online without VCPR would either utilize teleadvice or teletriage services. Teletriage is an act of performing emergency animal health care services for life-threatening animal health situations such as pet poisoning or other causes that need immediate veterinarian advice. Pet owners get advice or instructions like animal CPR or poisoning mitigation techniques. In this case, a veterinarian can only provide general advice and triage.
Teleadvice happens when clients contact the site with a question, and the site searches for information related to the question. In teleadvice, any pet owner’s advice should be general in form and not specific to an animal.
In non-VCPR consults, veterinarians are only provided with limited assessment methods through visual information like videos, photos, or animals’ medical records reported by the pet owner. This is why there should not be any diagnosis, prognosis, or even treatment included.
Why use online veterinary services?
Pet owners with busy schedules have difficulty complying with requirements for follow-up checkups, and some are reluctant and anxious to transport their senior or terminally-ill pets. A 3 AM emergency could be mitigated with the veterinarian’s useful knowledge and information. There are pet owners who have questions about the day-to-day aspects of owning a pet, like grooming, behavioral health, and nutrition. Veterinarians who are available 24/7 can cater to these clients. These are some examples of cases that call for virtual animal health care services. Virtual care services will make it easier for pet owners to access veterinarian consultation. Pet owners do not need to line up at the hospital or clinic to consult minor issues. Also, many sites offer regular visits that you can pre-schedule at your own convenient time. Lastly, online veterinary services let you get veterinarian advice anytime.
When conditions call for immediate in-person or emergency veterinary care?
One should seek immediate in-office or Emergency veterinary care if your pet is showing the following symptoms:
- Choking or difficulty in breathing
- Eye injury
- Severe bleeding
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Fractured bones
Benefits of online veterinary services
The utilization of telemedicine will bring beneficial effects not only to the animals but also to the environment. Pet owners do not have to travel; therefore, carbon emissions production is one of the great impacts of online veterinary services. Virtual consultation makes it possible for the veterinary team to get a more accurate read on how the animal or pet is doing. Clients appreciate online veterinary services and are more responsive when it comes to assessment and follow-ups. This is because they do not need to take some time off work to talk to their veterinarian or leave their homes for a small errand. Hence, increased compliance and better client experience. No more staying in waiting rooms that may stress your pets out. A low-stress environment like your home is even more helpful to veterinarians. Some follow-ups and prescription refills do not need clinic visits. So, it’s easier to accomplish these with online veterinary services.
Online veterinary services may have quite a few advantages, but this is not to say that it should replace in-person consultation, diagnosis, and treatment. Nonetheless, it has helped veterinarian maintain their obligations to help their clients, especially during difficult times like a lockdown crisis due to a pandemic.
Things to consider before using an online veterinary service:
When searching for the best online veterinary services, don’t take everything as it is. Have a little skepticism and look for sites you can trust. We want no less than the best for our pets, and it pays to do your homework! When looking for online veterinary services, ask these questions:
- Do the company’s veterinarians bear a veterinary professional license?
- Does the website have clear and distinct features?
- Do they guarantee real-time response?
- What are the services offered, and what are their professional fees?
Have no idea yet or can’t decide which online Veterinary Services to visit? Check out these 10 Best Online Veterinary Services Sites:
- Pet Coach
- Banfield Pet Hospital
- Pet Poison Helpline
Petzam is a VCPR-compliant online veterinary service that lets clients connect to licensed veterinarians through their mobile app. You can download the mobile app for free, and the account setup is easy. Consultations are done by video calling, which allows pet owners to contact their veterinarian in real-time. Since the company is complying with the VCPR requirement, it is expected that the vet has seen or physically examined the pet before using the mobile app. Petzam does not suggest using their services in replacement for an in-person consultation.
Veterinarians carefully assess your pets and decide whether you need to take them to the hospital or not. Pet owners who want to contact veterinarians who are not online can use the mobile app’s feature called “Schedule Request” and request a consult. Payments are done through the app and are automatically deducted after the video consult.
- Contact Info
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: +1 800 616 3120
Founded in 2015, TeleVet is a telemedicine company that enables veterinarians to communicate with their existing clients through the site or a mobile app conveniently. Originally, the company was called Horse Facts and provided services on the sale and care for horses. The founders then realized the lack of technology in veterinary services and transformed the company into an online veterinary service. They believe that rendering services digitally can help clients and veterinarians communicate better. TeleVet helps reduce phone calls and administrative work for veterinarians by establishing veterinary software that handles an all-in-one platform. Video calls, photos, chat, and notes are all integrated with one client conversation.
Also, to maintain continuity of care, your pet’s medical records, video chats, and appointments are stored in the clinics’ practice management systems. Presently, 6,500 veterinarians use Televet across the nation. Its diagnostic, consultation and prescription services are all VCPR-compliant in all participant states. You can be sure knowing that you, as a client, are involved and engaged in your pet’s health. Setting up your account is easy. You can instantly connect with your vet and in TeleVet’s network to see exactly how much your vet charges you and their availability. TeleVet plans to establish a subscription model and create a savings account to encourage pet parents to look ahead and save money for pet care. This, in turn, makes the clients feel like an advocate in the well-being of their pets.
- Contact Info
- 823 Congress Ave Suite 300, Austin, TX 78701
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: (205) 809-0158
PetCoach is one of the leading online veterinary service companies today. It was founded by Brock Weatherup, a Petco executive who thought about an app that can quickly provide in-demand answers to pet questions. In 2017, a pet retailer called Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. or Petco acquired the company and established a PetCoach physical store like a cross between an animal hospital and a pet shop. Its primary services include veterinary care, grooming, and dog daycare. It also has pet products that pet owners will have to arrange before purchasing through a cashier-less transaction. With PetCoach app, clients can expect straightforward veterinary answers and advice from licensed veterinarians and pet experts.
There are about 400,000 articles that you can browse from the app. If you opt for a private chat with an in-home veterinarian or a pet expert, you can do so by paying a $5 fee and scheduling an appointment. PetCoach is revolutionizing the way pet parents provide the best care for their pets. Pet owners with no access to a nearby animal hospital or a local veterinarian can turn to PetCoach to deal with common pet problems. Its millions of users are still advised to see a veterinarian in-person when their pets manifest symptoms that need immediate intervention.
- Contact info
Puppy Wellness Plans | Dog Wellness Plans | Kitten Wellness Plans | Cat Wellness Plans
Banfield Pet Hospital is the country’s largest privately-owned veterinary company. Warren J. Wegert founded it in Portland, Oregon. The founder’s vision was to help strengthen the bond between humans and pets through pet care education and understanding the value of community. Since its inception in 1955, Banfield Pet Hospital has served millions of animals in 1,000 clinics all over the United States. Its main mission is to maintain quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency, and convenience in the services it provides. Pet owners subscribe to any of the Optimum Wellness Pet Plans (for dogs and cats).
Banfield has an impressive optimum plan inclusive of early screening for serious illnesses, two comprehensive physical exams, and vaccinations. To know your options, Banfield lets you put in pet information and gives you three choices depending on the type of pet, age, and other factors. Besides high-quality veterinary service, the plan includes access to Vet ChatTM where you can talk to a vet anytime. Download the mobile app and start your membership.
- Contact info
- 18101 SE 6th Way, Vancouver, WA 98683
- Email: WebSupport@banfield.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone 866-894-7927 / 877-500-2288
Eligible States: Nationwide | Cost: Calls $39.99 per session, Chat $39.99 per session, Email $4.99 per session, Unlimited call, chat and email support $16.99 per month
WhiskerDocs is the first online platform that connects pet parents to telehealth experts and veterinarians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can send in your concerns through calls, chat, and emails. A feature you will love about WhiskerDocs is that calls respond in just 28 seconds, while email replies usually take 4 hours. They offer both single appointments and subscriptions. A yearly subscription will help you save as much as 25%, with no limit to what type of communication you opt for. What’s even better with their annual subscription is that you can add one more pet and get 75% off.
Veterinarians and pet experts will answer any pet question you have and guide you through recommendations, care instructions, and minor treatment (when applicable). Even the less-pressing questions are catered upon, like answering queries on what pet clothing or bed size pet owners should get. Register through their website or simply download their app PocketVet. Their live veterinarian will help you make the best decisions for your pets. Clients are even thankful for follow-up concerns after consultations to ensure the pet’s issue is resolved. COVID-19 pandemic has brought WhiskerDocs and Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group to team up, helping New York pet owners get free access to their chat service.
- Contact info
- 9933 Lawler Avenue, Suite 325, Skokie, IL 60077
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 1-800-873-8838
Get direct advice on your pet’s health, nutrition, or other concerns from verified veterinarians, pet experts, and trainers through AskVet. AskVet is another online veterinary service that offers round the clock virtual pet care in real-time. According to the company, all AskVet veterinarians have an average practice experience of 12 years. These experts can evaluate your pet’s situation, educate you about pet health, and give advice without the need for in-person visits. Clients will love that there’s no need to set up an appointment to talk to veterinarians. Access AskVet through their website and sign up for an account for free.
The company is looking to launch AskVet mobile app in the future. It will enable clients to use an even more convenient and easy way to contact vets, and it will come with a customized pet health score and action plans. AskVet has partnered with Royal Canin to provide free chat access for pet parents who have been finding it difficult to get veterinary service because of COVID-19 restrictions. For more information on this service, you may visit Royal Canin.
- Contact info:
- 809B Cuesta Drive #2132, Mountain View, CA 94040
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PetDesk is best for millennials who want less phoneline and a more convenient pet care service. Download the PetDesk app, sign up for an account, and add your veterinarian into your account. The company supports over 2,400 veterinary practices in the United States. PetDesk allows you to manage your pet’s health in a better way without going out of your house. It does a great job of changing pet parents’ outlook on veterinary care services. There is no need for vet staff to call clients and waste time doing the same thing to remind pet owners of their appointments. PetDesk does all of that.
Reminders and follow-ups are automated and sent through emails, text, and app notifications. Store important documents and information on pet consults, vaccination, groomer, sitter, and more in one place.
- Contact info
- 2044 1st Ave. San Diego, California 92101
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 844-PET-APPT (844-738-2778)
Pet poisoning is a regular occurrence that puts your pet’s life at risk. When this happens, immediate action is needed. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reported 213,773 cases in 2018 involving potential poisoning and managed more than 230,000 cases in 2019. Also, the American Animal Hospital Association stated that there was a surge in pandemic-related pet poisonings. It’s no doubt that animal poison centers are crucial in pet care. You can prevent these from happening by educating yourself through online pet poison centers. The Pet Poison Helpline is a triple licensed animal poison center that provides top-quality veterinary services. You can access their one-minute pet clinic that lets you get educational videos on pet poisoning. When you suspect your pet has ingested poison, you can call them immediately at 855-764-7661. Once they receive your call, they will have to evaluate your concern, give you emergency instructions, and consult with your trusted veterinarian. The Pet Poison Helpline website provides a whole lot of information on toxins, first aid, poisonous plants, to mention a few.
- Contact info:
- 3600 American Boulevard W., Suite 725, Bloomington, MN 55431
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone 1 (855) 764-7661
Another VCPR-compliant online veterinary service company on our list is Anipanion. Like most online vet companies, Anipanion aims to make the process of vet consults easy for pet parents. All you need to is download the app and register. To set up a virtual visit, you must first contact your veterinarian, sign up for an account, and put in information needed about you and your pet. You may also submit a chat request with photos, videos, and a summary of the issue to your veterinarian. Once your request gets approved, you can live to chat with your veterinarian.
Anipanion is a great source for consultations concerning post-surgery rechecks, coughing, sneezing, skin issues, behavioral issues, and scratches. Medical records, chat, and consultation history is all integrated into the system and stored so you can access them anytime on the app.
- Contact info
- 1111 Sixth Avenue Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101
- Email email@example.com
- Phone +1 858-208-0018
VetLIVE is an online veterinary service that offers veterinarian advice from licensed veterinarians 24/7. It has been operating for over ten years, providing pet owners options to ask questions, get a second opinion, and have a live chat with professional veterinarians and pet experts. VetLIVE lets you ask and connect to veterinarians who can guide you through situations and provide you health information in minutes. While it’s rarely needed, a great feature of VetLIVE is when you get some delay in response, they will alert you through text or email when it is ready.
Apart from chat options about your pet’s health, pet owners are provided with financial information about veterinary services. The company informs pet parents about how much surgery or certain procedure costs ensuring payment is worth every veterinary service. So whether you have furry, feathered, or scaled friends, VetLIVE online veterinary service is available to you.
- Contact info
- 4105 Juniper Ln, Bethlehem, PA
- Email customercare@VetLIVE.com