According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinary telemedicine involves the use of electronic exchange of medical information from one site to another to improve and assess the general health status of patients. This means communication via video chat, phone calls, texting, and emails that allow a veterinarian to provide a diagnosis, recommend a specific treatment, or provide a prescription is practicing telemedicine. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of veterinary telemedicine.
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In veterinary medicine, a current Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) is needed to perform telemedicine according to current state laws and regulations. This means your vet must have performed an in-person physical exam on your pet, usually within the past year, to practice telemedicine in most states.
Benefits of Veterinary Telemedicine
Telemedicine has many benefits. If your pet has a chronic, recurring issue, such as seasonal allergies, your vet can use telemedicine to discuss how severe the itching is and prescribe anti-itch medications to give your pet relief. Since your vet has access to the complete medical records, they can also see if bacterial or yeast skin or ear infections typically develop during the allergy season and provide additional treatment for those issues if needed.
New conditions or issues, like diarrhea, can be initially assessed and symptomatic treatment can be prescribed via telemedicine. However, if the initial treatment does not work or your pet becomes lethargic, a complete in-person physical exam and additional testing may be needed to figure out what is going on and better direct the next course of treatment.
Post-operative follow-up care and assessment is another great option for telemedicine, especially video consults. This way your vet can see the incision and give you advice without having to bring your pet back into the clinic.
If your pet has fear or anxiety about car rides or the vet clinic, using telemedicine services to evaluate them at home is a great option.
In rural areas, telemedicine can allow vets to assess more patients and recommend initial treatments that aren’t able to come into the clinic right away.
Telemedicine is also very helpful if you are traveling with your pet and are not near your local clinic. Being able to discuss the current concern with your vet and get recommendations and treatments on the road can be very convenient.
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