Virtual Vet: What To Know About Pet Telehealth Appointments

Telehealth for pets is on the rise. Find out what you can expect during a virtual vet appointment and learn more about Pawp.

Aly Walansky

Updated January 12, 2023 • Published April 29, 2020

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Virtual Vet: What To Know About Pet Telehealth Appointments

As a pet parent, it can feel frustrating to seek treatment for your furry friend, only to find that you can't get in for weeks or will have to wait hours despite having an appointment.

Vet clinics across the nation are overwhelmed with the amount of pets needing care. And although vet teams are doing their best to see every pet in a timely manner, increased demand and staffing shortages make it challenging.

That’s why the use of virtual vets is on the rise.

Pet telehealth allows vets to virtually offer consultations, so you can get the help you need for your pet. This is not only helpful for when you're in a pinch, but also for when you're seeking advice about non-emergent matters like nutrition and behavior.

The rise of virtual vets & pet telehealth

Virtual vet services like Pawp gained traction during the Covid-19 pandemic when social distancing and self-isolation forced people across the world indoors. Many doctors embraced telemedicine as a way to have visits with their patients at a distance—and veterinarians were no exception. It's an easy, safe way to get professional advice about pet health and wellness.

Now that the world has largely reopened, it’s becoming clear: telehealth services—for humans and pets—are here to stay.

What is telemedicine for pets?

Pawp's pet telehealth platform is an extremely easy, accessible way for you to get answers and suggestions for your pet.

Telemedicine for pets involves virtual consultations with a vet professional on a computer, tablet, or other mobile device. Yes, it really is that simple! Pawp's 24/7 text or video chat with vets gives pet parents peace of mind knowing they have a professional just a click away.

Maybe you're wondering, why not just take my pet to their local vet? While that might sound good in theory, the reality is that your pet’s local vet is not accessible around the clock. If your furry family member requires care over the weekend, in the middle of the night, or during a holiday, there’s a high likelihood that your vet won’t be able to see you.

And if you can be seen by your vet, the bill will likely be massive. In many cases, local vets are booked up, and this can result in a lengthy wait—even days before your pet can get veterinary care. 

Plus, many pet-related health questions don't require an in-person visit to a clinic. And even if they do, getting an immediate answer about how to provide care and comfort for your pet until you can get there can feel nearly impossible. Raise your hand if you've ever found yourself in a never-ending Google search spiral and came out more confused than when you started...

How can Pawp help my pets?

There’s a lot that Pawp's virtual vets can do without being in the same room (physically, at least) as your pet. They can answer any general question you have about your cat or dog, and also serve as a 24/7 first line of defense when you're worried your pet is having an emergency.

Pawp's virtual vets are your on-demand support system for:

  • Emergencies

  • Health issues

  • Nutrition

  • Behavior

...and more!

So whether your dog is vomiting at 3 a.m. or your cat's incessant staring is freaking you out, Pawp's virtual vet team can give you the answers and insight you need.

Of course, sometimes in-person visits will be necessary. Having access to a virtual vet is invaluable because they can help you figure out which health concerns require the attention of an in-person vet and which don’t.

If one of our virtual vets feels the pet needs emergency assistance or an in-person visit, they will direct you to a nearby veterinary hospital. This helps ensure that your pet is getting the care that’s right for the urgency of their situation. 

Second opinions and follow-up questions

Pawp's virtual vet team can also provide second opinions and answer follow up questions.

If your dog or cat recently had surgery or is recovering from an illness, pet telehealth makes it easy for vets to virtually examine them and provide insight and advice.

Sometimes you just need more validation about how you're caring for your pet, and Pawp's virtual vets can do that without the heavy price tag or lengthy wait time.

How do I know if I have a pet emergency?

Speaking of price tags, emergency vet visits can come with massive financial consequences, and sometimes, they’re just not necessary.

Pawp's virtual vets will be able to provide insight as to when a visit to the emergency vet is and isn’t necessary. They'll be able to identify if an in-person visit must happen immediately, within a day, or maybe not at all.

An emergency veterinary clinic can charge hundreds of dollars, even if it's a false alarm. Using pet telehealth services beforehand can save you a trip and a fair amount of money. You'll also gain peace of mind and feel confident that your pet is safe and not in danger.

How do I prepare for my virtual vet appointment?

There are several steps that you can take to ensure that your pet’s virtual vet appointment goes smoothly.

Here's a list of what to prepare for your appointment:

  • A list of questions and concerns

  • Your pet's medical history

  • Medications your pet takes

  • Food your pet eats

  • Relevant pictures or videos

  • Your pet, so they can do a virtual examination if needed

  • Device with working audio & video

  • Stable internet connection

  • Family member who knows pet's behavior the best, if possible

  • Stool and urine samples, if relevant

  • Pet's living environment

Some pet parents like to bring a notepad to take notes, but don't worry if you don't have one—Pawp's vets will document their directions for you so you have it at the ready.

The more you prepare before a pet telehealth consult, the better the care the virtual vet team will be able to provide.

When should I talk to a virtual vet?

The truth is that there’s never a bad time to use Pawp's pet telehealth services.

Whether it's a random question you've been wondering about or a potentially emergent situation, our virtual vets can provide the support you need to keep your pets happy and healthy.

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