Telemedicine at Work – A Veterinarian’s Perspective

veterinary-telemedicine

Have you ever needed to be in two places at once? Like at work and the veterinarian’s office? What if I told you that it’s actually possible to do both…

Pets are our beloved family members and we want the absolute best for them. Maybe they have an immediate health issue – like a limp or loss of appetite – one you might not necessarily class as an emergency. While you want to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, it might not always be practical to visit the vet right away.

Of course, most pet parents realize a visit to an emergency veterinary clinic can be costly. And an appointment takes time out of your already hectic day; what with work, kids and any number of additional responsibilities. It can be extremely frustrating having to wait several days until your schedule opens up enough to travel to the vets – especially when all you need is some professional advice and peace of mind! Wouldn’t it just be easier to pick up the phone (or equivalent) and call the vet for these kinds of issues?

Well, it has been possible for many years now to speak to a human healthcare specialist (physician, nurse, psychologist, etc) via webcam, obtain the advice you need and continue with your day. Effectively allowing you to be in two places at once – without the travel and waiting times!

It’s called Telemedicine or Telehealth and the same technology is being adopted in the veterinary industry to meet the needs of modern pet owners. Veterinary telemedicine is opening virtual doors before, during and after normal clinic hours to accommodate pet parents whose needs might not warrant an emergency, but getting that reassurance could very well make their day!

How Does it Work?

Surprisingly, there are many routine pet health issues which can be discussed within a Telemedicine environment, instead of visiting in person. By doing a virtual visit you can quickly ascertain whether or not the health issue is an emergency – just to be on the safe side. As an experienced veterinarian, I can tell you many clients bring in cases which they believe to be emergencies – but simply aren’t.

Allow me to elaborate.

Let’s say you wake up one morning and your older Labrador is circling to the left and has a strange eye rotation (nystagmus). While this is an alarming sight, it might not necessarily be an emergency.

So what are your options? Take an hour or two off work to rush over to the emergency veterinarians? Do nothing and hope for the best? By using Telemedicine, you could simply request a virtual consultation and speak directly to a seasoned, professional veterinarian with two-way audio and video. The doctor could observe the behavior and the nystagmus, ask questions and provide their recommendation – and you wouldn’t have a traumatic drive to endure!

In the case above, I would explain the likelihood of Canine Geriatric Vestibular Syndrome (very common among older dogs) and make further recommendations depending on what I observed during the consult.

Telemedicine in the the Workplace

Activ4Pets recently launched a benefit system that provides these e-Consultations and more to companies with pet-owning employees. Basically, it gives staff the option to consult with a licensed vet from home or the office, instead of taking time off work. While it does help to improve office productivity, the system also allows each member to take full control of their pet’s health.

veterinary-telemedicine-at-work

You’d also get a full online veterinary history (vaccinations, allergies, medications, medical documents and more for up to four pets) which you can access on your mobile phone or computer. If you ever did need to schedule an e-Consult, the added bonus is that the interaction would be completely secure (military-level encryption) and the veterinarian would have full access to your pet’s complete medical history to make more informed decisions.

Also included is one second medical opinion (for serious or chronic health conditions) as well as unlimited access to our vet chat service.

Conditions from the following list can be addressed via virtual consultation: pet parasites (worms, ticks, fleas, lice, insect bites), orthopedic issues (limping, stiffness, pain), ear problems , eye problems, weight loss, inappetence, motion sickness, coughing and many more.

If you think your employer might be interested in adopting Activ4Pets as a benefit, we can be reached by email contact@activ4pets.com or by phone on 855-738-3282 (toll free). We also have individual memberships available via our sign up page.


Meet the Author

Clayton-Jones-DVM

Dr. Clayton Jones

Dr. Jones has 25 years of veterinary medical experience as a staff veterinarian and medical director of his own practice. As well as being the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for Activ4Pets, Dr. Jones is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Society and President of the US-Cuba Veterinary Cooperation Society.

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