What’s an Online Vet?

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If you’ve been looking at getting a pet, and researching for the services you need to keep yours safe and happy – from vets to register at to subscriptions for cat food and litter – then you might have come across businesses that let you talk to a vet online. Today we’re taking a look at online vets to help you understand what they are, how they work and whether they’re right for you.

What Do Online Vets Do?

Online vets use phone calls, pictures and video calls to examine your pet. When you make contact, you can describe the symptoms that worry you, and the vet can see your pet in action via video, as well as more detailed pictures that you can send to highlight the issue – focusing on the wound, your pet’s eyes, mouth or anything else that seems abnormal.

From this, they can make a preliminary diagnosis, give you tips about how to care for your pet at home, or refer to a physical vet’s practice for further tests or prescribed medication.

Advantages

One of the great advantages of an online vet is that you don’t have to go to the vet. That trip to the vets can cause all kinds of stress for you and your pet, causing physical discomfort, mental distress and even damaging the relationship and trust you’ve built between you.

Cats are famously difficult to wrangle into a carrier, and even if you spend time making it a less horrifying presence, by feeding them in it, playing with them in it, and making it an attractive place to rest with blankets and toys, forcing them into against their will once undoes a lot of that good work.

For less independent creatures, that are largely forced to stay where you put them like fish, moving them into a carrier might not cause the same kind of stress, but it still moves them out of their safe, comfortable environment and adds risk.

Disadvantages

There are pronounced limitations to what an online can do. Their diagnoses are limited to what can be communicated by camera and text, so if it’s not clear what’s wrong from your description, pictures and video, they won’t be able to help – more advanced diagnostic techniques like blood tests are, obviously, impossible over the web.

They also can’t prescribe medication – in this respect they are more limited than online doctors for humans! – so even if they can diagnose your cat, you might not be able to get the solution there and then.

A Place in Your Life

The best thing you can do is take advantage of the upsides of an online vet, and find a place for it in your petcare routine – from monitoring changes to chronic conditions, advice for difficult situations and perhaps most crucially, telling you when a visit to physical vet’s office is necessary and will be of real help to your pet.