Today, telemedicine, telehealth, and virtual care are staples of our own personal health care. The convenience of being able to meet with a medical professional from our homes is invaluable, especially for people who live in remote areas or are homebound. But what about our pets? Virtual care is available for them as well and is becoming an important facet of the future of veterinary care that is predicted to stay even after the pandemic.
Increase care and reduce stress for your cat
Unfortunately, many cats do not receive veterinary care because seeing a veterinarian can be a very stressful experience for them. Cats still need to go to the vet, but having telehealth options available can help cat owners become stronger advocates for their cats by showing a veterinarian what’s going on when they are in the comfort of their own home. For example, a cat parent could have a video chat with a veterinary professional using their camera to show the condition of their cat. This is particularly helpful in a potential emergency situation or when a senior cat is less mobile. There are several benefits of virtual care for your cat, and you must consider their personality, age, behavior, and how stressful a visit to the vet can be.
Telehealth service providers, like Airvet, are adding significant value and support to pet parents to help manage their pet’s health and wellness. Pet parents simply download the mobile application, create a pet profile for their cat (or cats), and they’ll be instantly connected to a licensed veterinarian. They can opt for a video chat or a voice-only. There’s no traffic, no waiting room, and, most importantly, little stress for you or your cat.
Telehealth vs. telemedicine
Veterinary telehealth is a general term that refers to all uses of technology geared towards the remote delivery of animal health education, information, or care. Veterinary telehealth services provide a convenient way to deal with problems that do not warrant an emergency visit to your cat’s local veterinarian. It allows you the flexibility to connect with a veterinary professional virtually in real-time whether through text, video chat, or by phone. This is not a replacement for regular in-clinic visits including wellness exams where your veterinarian physically examines your cat as well as necessary diagnostics such as bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasounds, urinalysis, and vaccines.
Veterinary telemedicine is a subcategory of telehealth that involves remotely diagnosing and treating conditions. Since this does involve a diagnosis and likely prescription medication, it will require an established veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR). If this has not been established, veterinary professionals can still provide general advice as well as triage. In the United States there are state and federal regulations that require a VCPR before prescribing medication or rendering medical care. You can view the telemedicine regulatory map here.
Benefits of Virtual Care for Cats
There are many benefits of virtual care for cats. For cats being prone to stress and anxiety when taken out of their home environment, telehealth can be a great option. Another benefit of telehealth for cats is that you can be proactive about your cat’s health from the comfort of your couch, with the ability to resolve potential problems without having to make an emergency trip to a veterinary hospital. Telehealth allows you to conveniently connect with a veterinary professional who can give you advice on proper care, health, and management of your cat’s well-being, while providing you answers to your cat’s general health and behavior related questions or concerns. Common areas virtual pet health professionals can advise on include skin allergies that result in itchy skin, food allergies/intolerances, ear infections, urinary tract infections, anxiety or other behavior complications, diarrhea, vomiting, upper respiratory infections, and more. Companies such as Airvet provide a quick and efficient way for cat parents to connect with a vet to get urgent advice, which also includes follow-up with texts, videos, and photos and allows you to remove the risk of getting incorrect information from Google.
Another area in which virtual veterinary care can help is emergency care. Emergencies do not always occur during your veterinary hospital’s normal business hours. This is where telehealth services can help - supporting pet parents to save money, reduce stress, and provide advice when facing a potential emergency health issue. With telehealth, you have access to on-demand support from a licensed veterinary professional who will perform a triage session, providing you advice and peace of mind when you feel most helpless. This includes answering the question of whether or not what you are seeing with your cat constitutes as an emergency that necessitates an immediate visit to an emergency veterinary hospital for evaluation and treatment, can be cared for and monitored by you at home, or if it can wait until morning.
Enjoy peace of mind
It’s stressful and frustrating to sit at home worrying and googling to find out what’s potentially wrong with your cat. Telehealth services provide you the best of both worlds—get sound advice from trusted veterinary professionals without leaving your home and stressing out your cat. No need to make your cat unwell to get them well.
Reduce stress for yourself and your cat and enjoy peace of mind knowing that you gave your cat love and support. We know that pet parents go out of their way to make sure that their cats are healthy and well. Together with companies like Airvet, we continue to take strides to advance pet health. We’re leveraging technology to help you get the best possible care for your cat. Our cats take care of us, so we should do everything in our power to return the favor.**
Veterinary Virtual Care Association - https://vvca.org/