Through a Glass Remotely: The Promises and Pitfalls of Veterinary Telemedicine

Veterinary Telemedicine

Table of Contents

Just like some humans, some pets also hate visiting veterinarians. The good news is that there is an alternative ‘Telemedicine’ which is easy to avail and stress-free. Although telemedicine is still considered new and immature and has some flaws, it offers some actual benefits in certain cases of distant-medicine. In this article, we have discussed some pros and cons of veterinary telemedicine and that how it can benefit your four-legged friend.

What Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine refers to the diagnosis and treatment of a patient that is done remotely i.e. by using telecommunications. It is getting popular in human medicine specifically those who are living in remote areas or people who do not have much time to visit doctors, are greatly benefitting from telemedicine. Now telemedicine is also becoming a rising trend in pet medicine.

But Pets Are Not Humans

The first thing that we all know for sure is that pets are entirely different from humans. They cannot talk. While humans can easily explain where he is hurt or feeling pain, whether it is dull or sharp, intermittent or constant, pets cannot do any of these. A pet owner can only tell where his pet is hurt but the veterinarian will check it through examining a pet physically.

What Is The Veterinary Telemedicine’s Downside In Case of Pets?

Your veterinarian and you, both are determined to ensure that your pet gets the right treatment after being accurately diagnosed. However, Veterinary Telemedicine may not always provide enough information to your vet in order to diagnose properly and treat accordingly. Let’s see why:

Sight, Smell, Sound, and Touch
During a physical exam, a vet is able to use all of his senses to examine the pet. Usually, vets attempt to palpate your pet’s tummy to see if there is any build-up of gas or localized pain. He also smells ears, coat, or mouth of your pet to find the problem. Listening to the pet’s heartbeat allows the vet to see if there is any strange or irregular rhythm. To be more precise, a physical exam can help a lot as compared to just asking for the pet’s medical history from its owner.

Unreliable Narrator
It is not necessary that a cat straining in its litter tray is constipated. But if the owner just interprets the cat’s behavior as a result of constipation, he might also narrate his conclusion to the vet. It will lead to a treatment that the cat might not even need. A cat can be straining just because its bladder is blocked, it can even have diarrhea and its empty gut is inflamed which makes the cat feel that it needs to pass something. The wrong narration by a pet owner can cause additional issues to pet’s health because of the wrong treatment.

Legal Aspect
According to the laws which govern the treatment of animals, a client-veterinarian relationship cannot be solely established by telephonic or any other electronic means. To be more clear, physically examining the pet is a must for a vet. It helps to save the pet from any wrong diagnosis just because of a lack of communication. At least, in the first instance, it is necessary to perform a hands-on physical exam after which telemedicine can help to simplify the further process of treatment.

Benefits of Veterinary Telemedicine

Let’s suppose, your pet is diagnosed with a heart failure of early-stage and your vet wants to take regular updates about its condition or you want to keep the vet informed about your pet’s health improvements, but your pet hates going to the vet’s clinic. It gets anxious when entering the clinic which results in increased heart rate. This can make it difficult for the vet to accurately examine the rhythm and heart rate. This is where an on-demand vet app can help you!

A wearable technology such as PetPace collar can help you and your vet to get all the necessary information about its health condition. You and your vet can easily monitor its heart rate and rhythm while it is at home and relaxing.

Usage of Veterinary Telemedicine At Its Best

There are both wrong and right ways to use Veterinary Telemedicine. According to the laws, it is quite clear that the use of telemedicine can only be made as a part of the existing relation of vet and patient. Telemedicine can provide great help after the physical exam is done and your pet is diagnosed correctly. It can allow you and your vet to remain in touch for getting follow-ups and discussing further treatments.

Pets and Veterinary Telemedicine

It is true that veterinary telemedicine can never replace physical examinations done by vets but it can serve as a great tool for maintaining a connection between pets and vets and for saving time spent on regular visits to the vet’s clinic, once a physical exam is done. This also helps in the effective treatment of the pets that get anxious while visiting the vet’s clinic. On-demand vet apps can be easily integrated with veterinary practice management software so that when you go to a vet for a physical checkup, the vet has complete health history available, even for diagnoses that were done virtually on a different platform.

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