Let’s face it. There has long been a need for telemedicine in veterinary practices. There are a lot of pet owners out there who are unable to get out easily or at all, and telemedicine when possible can be a huge blessing for such home-bound people. Unfortunately, it took the pandemic to make it clear that telemedicine definitely has its place in veterinary medicine, just as it does in other types of medicine being offered to patients across the country.
But will these telemedicine trends stick around? Probably, but some things are going to have to be ironed out first.
Paving the way
There have been several national chain veterinary practices offering telemedicine for a number of issues. In fact, some even prescribe veterinary medicines for worming, flea and tick control, and other issues. These services have hence been thought unscrupulous; but now that the pandemic has many people staying at home, these unscrupulous acts by a few chains have paved the way for productive telemedicine.
What’s going right?
Telemedicine is a great option if you already have a relationship with a vet who has access to all of your pet’s records and medical history. That way the vet can make logical, educated, informed decisions about your pet’s care even though they are unable to exam them. In this way, you can get some prescriptions necessary for health upkeep, but you may have to schedule some labs for your pet before the next refill.
What needs to be worked on?
There are a whole slew of vets who are completely unprepared for offering virtual veterinary visits. Especially in rural areas, vets simply don’t know how to compete in this odd but seemingly permanent economy. That means that people are turning to vets they know nothing about for assistance in a telemedicine setting that doesn’t allow for full examination.
So what is the bottom line? Is veterinary telemedicine the wave of the future or a step backward in verifiable veterinary experience?
The quick answer is that it is both. How telemedicine shapes the future of veterinary practice remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that services will never be the same. But if we approach the practice with experience and logic, it should be possible to make the switch over time.
If you need some refills for your pet’s prescriptions and are quarantined, contact us for information on how to get your pet care in a safe way.