Categories: Veterinarians

Coronavirus may benefit companion animals and owners by encouraging remote diagnosis

In the USA, and I expect elsewhere to a lesser extent, veterinary telemedicine is being strongly encouraged by the inability of cat and dog owners to get to veterinary surgeries because of lockdowns and social isolations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Telemedicine. Lower picture: VSee. Upper picture: public domain. Collage: PoC.

In the USA, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced that they are temporarily easing restrictions on veterinarians on using what’s called ‘telemedicine’ to diagnose and provide advice on treatments for companion animals.

It appears that there is a business which provides secure high quality video connections between client and veterinarian. It is called VSee. They are currently experiencing a spike in usage which is to be expected. They provide high quality, comprehensive proprietary software, and perhaps hardware too, to make veterinary telemedicine work efficiently. I don’t get paid for mentioning them.

I would expect though that in an emergency, where the vet does not have this software, that they’d find alternative methods. What about good old Skype or Apple FaceTime? Not as good but they might do the job.

One veterinary business which has four clinics in Texas, Zippivet, appears to have embraced this new way of serving clients. Clearly telemedicine cannot accommodate all ailments but they list a good range which includes but it not limited to ‘allergies, coughing, sneezing, stressed or anxious pets, URI signs, dermatology, external parasites like fleas ticks and lice, upset stomach and intestinal parasites, general wellness advice, hospice care, lameness evaluations, medication refills, nutritional counseling and post-surgical care’.

My initial thought is that the coronavirus crisis may quicken the introduction of remote diagnosis and advice on treatments by vets going forward. It would be advantageous to many customers for the obvious reason that visiting a veterinary surgery is stressful for animal and human.

Zippivet charge $59 for a consultation.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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