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Telemedicine/Virtual Veterinary Services

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french bulldog

Proper veterinary care is essential for pet health. And the majority of U.S. households get their pets regular veterinary care. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in 2016 — the last year for which data are readily available — about 73% of pet-owning households took their pets to the vet. That year, 54.3% of cat owners and 82.8% of dog owners made at least one vet visit with their pets.

But what about when in-person veterinary visits are not an ideal option? In that case, virtual veterinarian visits, also known as telemedicine appointments, can help you keep your pet healthy without setting foot out the door.

Importance Of

In-Person Vet Appointments

For several reasons, it’s essential to get your pet regular veterinary check-ups and care:

1. Establishing Baseline Wellness

Regular vet appointments help establish your pet’s baseline wellness. A veterinarian can then use that baseline to gauge changes in your vet’s health. Your veterinarian might notice that your pet has been gaining weight over the past year or two after holding steady at 40 pounds. Or your vet might notice that your pet has drier skin than it once did. Seeing these changes in action can help your vet develop a plan to address new health concerns.

2. Maintaining Vaccinations

Seeing your vet regularly is essential for keeping your pet’s shots up to date. Recurrent vet visits help ensure that your pet remains safe and healthy and vaccinations are up-to-date for diseases including:

  • Rabies
  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis
  • Calicivirus
  • Panleukopenia

3. Obtaining Medication

Seeing your vet regularly also helps you keep on top of essential medication. Most states require veterinarians to have a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) to prescribe, which means the vet needs to see the animal. Maybe your pet needs heartworm medication. Or maybe your pet needs prescription food to address a urinary condition or a weight problem. Making regular appointments for your pet allows your veterinarian to continue prescribing essential medicines.

4. Detecting Health Conditions Early

Regular vet appointments can also help uncover health problems that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Your veterinarian might discover a small tumor beneath your pet’s skin or notice the first signs of cataracts or arthritis in an older pet. Early detection allows you to address issues like these before they grow into serious concerns.

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Benefits of Virtual Visits

When you can’t make it to your veterinarian’s office in person, virtual visits offer many benefits for your pet:

  • Convenience: A virtual vet visit allows you to connect with your veterinarian from the comfort of your home or wherever you have a reliable internet or data connection. You don’t have to drive to an appointment, find parking or wait in the waiting room. Especially if you live far from a veterinary office or have limited mobility, veterinary virtual appointments offer valuable convenience and time savings.
  • Health and safety: Participating in a virtual veterinarian visit helps protect your health. No matter how many precautions we take in the office to keep everyone healthy, the best way to avoid the transmission of illness is to visit your vet virtually.
  • Low stress: Some pets become stressed when they have vet appointments. Waiting in the waiting room with other animals can make them nervous, handling from unfamiliar people can make them anxious and even riding in the car causes stress for some pets. Sometimes, office visits are necessary, but often a virtual appointment helps make your pet more comfortable by keeping it in familiar surroundings.
  • Quality care: At a virtual visit, you’ll get the same level of quality care you’d expect from an office vet appointment. Your veterinarian can ask routine health questions, and you can discuss any symptoms you’ve observed. Your veterinarian can even examine your pet via the video feed. If your pet needs new medication or a refill, your vet can prescribe it at the end of the visit.

Virtual Visit Process

At University Animal Clinic, we conduct our telemedicine vet appointments via the Zoom app. Setting up and attending a virtual visit is quick and easy, though you may have to take a couple of preparatory steps.

1. Setting Up The Veterinary Telemedicine Appointment

First, you’ll schedule the virtual veterinarian appointment. You can set up an appointment by calling our office at 941-355-7707 or requesting an appointment online.

2. Setting Up Zoom

If you don’t already have Zoom on your computer or phone, you’ll need to download it before the appointment begins. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can call our office, and one of our staff members will be happy to walk you through the process of downloading, installing and using Zoom. You need an email address to create a Zoom account.

After you’ve scheduled your pet’s virtual visit, our office will send you an email confirming your appointment. The email will contain the Zoom meeting number and password. You’ll need those to attend your pet’s virtual appointment.

3. Participating In The Virtual Visit

After you’ve received that email and have Zoom set up on your computer or phone, you’re ready to take your pet to the virtual appointment. At the scheduled time, log in to Zoom using the information from your email. Then our team will let you into the meeting. The meeting will run via a two-way video feed that allows you and your veterinarian to talk just as you would in the office.

During the virtual visit, our vet experts will ask you questions about your pet’s recent health history and any changes you’ve noticed in your pet’s health or behavior. She will also examine your pet as well as she can via the video feed, and you can ask her any questions you have.

At the end of the virtual visit, our vet experts will prescribe any necessary medications, and you can come and get them at your convenience. In most cases, you and your pet will be all set. In some cases, if your pet needs further examination, the vet may ask you to come in for an office visit.

A Vet holding a telemedicine meet over the computer

Contact University Animal Clinic in Bradenton for Virtual Veterinary Care

To experience the benefits of veterinary virtual help, get in touch with University Animal Clinic. We are a fully accredited American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) hospital with a passion for preventive care. We know pets are more than just animals — they’re part of the family, and our medical staff is dedicated to the health of your four-legged family member.

We see many types of pets, from exotics to traditional companion animals, and we offer several virtual and office services to keep your pet healthy and happy.

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Contact us today to learn more, or request a virtual veterinarian appointment online.

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