As a hospice vet at a mobile veterinary practice that sees mainly elderly pets it will come as no surprise that I believe that online vet (video) consults are very valuable to assess a pet and providing guidance and advice to their owners.

Since well before the pandemic I was using video calls with our clients as a supportive tool in providing affordable guidance for my hospice clients. It will never be “instead of,” but it can be invaluable as a first step in many situations. 

online vet consults

Many elderly pets can find travelling quite stressful or in some cases painful. Which can make it tricky when you have a worry, or you are unsure about something. Some pets are lucky enough to have a travelling vet for their check-ups, but sadly these are far and few between. It is often not possible for vets in traditional practices to travel out of the practice, as they have patients in the building that they cannot leave unattended. 

Show us your pet

I love seeing pets on video, it is better and much more useful than a simple phone conversation. Within our practice we use online vet consults for varied reasons, but most commonly for guidance in decision making, assessing quality of life, and helping with assessing chronic pain. Pets often hide their pain when stressed or in a different environment. Being able to see them at home means we have an immediate advantage when we do our pain assessments.

At Dignipets, we have found using video calls (we call them online vet consults) helps us guiding pet owners that struggle with judging their pet’s quality of life. 

As hospice vets, we always talk about quality of life in poorly and elderly pets. It is something that is so intricately linked with the bond we have with our pets. We want them to feel good, and to have a good life, but sometimes it is hard to know how they are doing without getting some support. Seeing a pet on video in their own environment and seeing how they move and interact with their family, helps with assessing quality of life, as well as being able to catch out those that really needs to see a vet. 

We also use online consults it as part of assessing chronic pain in pets and help guide pet owners on what to look out for and how they can monitor their pets on a regular basis.  

Last, but not least, we find it so useful in helping pet owners that struggle with the timing of letting a pet go. It can be comforting getting a second opinion and doing so without having to move your pet also makes it completely stress free. 

Author:

Maja Redfern DrMedVet CHPV MRCVS

maja

Clinical Director and Veterinary Surgeon at Dignipets

Through Dignipets, my colleagues and I provide online vet consults for veterinary hospice care and end-of-life decisions and how to prepare for the loss of a pet.

Sources/related content:

https://www.rcvs.org.uk/document-library/telemedicine-consultation-summary/ (April, 2018)

https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/telemedicine-trial-decision-on-hold/ (November, 2018)

Veterinarians encouraged to take telehealth for a spin (Sept. 15, 2018)

Telehealth poses new possibilities, problems (March 1, 2018

AVMA creates tools, resources on telehealth (March 1, 2018)

Defining relationships (June 1, 2017)

Advisory panel report offers guidance on telemedicine (March 1, 2017)




Maja Redfern

Maja is clinical director at Dignipets. A mobile veterinary practice that offers palliative and end of life care for every pet in need in the West Midlands. Having completed a certification programme in hospice and palliative care in 2017 Maja advises colleagues and referring practices on pain management for their most difficult geriatric cases. She is a dedicated pet owner (two dogs and three cats) and has developed a reputation amongst wanderers and strays for being the go-to person when lost.