Veterinary telehealth for vets and pet owners has existed as a formal service for a number of years now, but until recently awareness of such services has been limited. During the coronavirus pandemic, veterinary practices needed to deliver individualised services and as such, pet parents and veterinary practitioners sought out new ways of connecting with one another, to ensure that animal wellbeing was not impacted by the lockdown.
What has followed is a sizable shift in how both pet owners and veterinary practitioners are choosing to operate. During 2020, 93% of vets used remote consulting to deliver veterinary services. This has provided us all with a wealth of experience on which to build. For pets and their owners, telehealth has put a digital vet at their side for health and welfare needs as they arise. For vets, it offers flexibility and the opportunity to work remotely. It also allows the vet to see the animal – something that telephone consultations do not allow. For pet owners, teleconsultations cut out travel time, offer immediacy of experienced, qualified support.
With veterinary care becoming more digitised, these two panels will discuss what we have learned so far and look at what the future of pet telehealth may hold. First, the opportunities that it presents to vets and pet owners. Second, what needs to be done to fully integrate pet telehealth solutions into the veterinary care chain. And finally, what reflection on the past six months can tell us about what the future of remote pet care might look like.