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Telemedicine for Aging Pets

May 13th, 2020 by Laurie Brush

In the era of COVID19 social distancing and stay at home orders, many pet parents have had the added stress of managing disease in their aging pets.

The crisis has ushered in a new era of veterinary consultation via telemedicine. This area of service has experienced exponential growth among routine care veterinarians as well as specialists. However, there are a few important things to consider when using veterinary telemedicine. Learn more in our blog post.

For Pet Parents, the first concern is ease of use during what might be difficult times for you. Heaven at Home Pet Hospice recently began using such a service called Televet, with video appointment scheduling available right here online in the pop-up widget. This replaces a more dated system that required downloading an App. Televet has been well-received because it also integrates with your pet’s records.

“I’ve been using our system to consult with my hospice clients, checking on the condition of the pet, and helping pet parents make accommodations in their home for their pet’s comfort,” said Dr. Amy Hoss.
“Telemedicine has proven to be a valuable, convenient tool when used correctly.”

The videos, text exchanges and photographs are all imported into patient records, and the presiding veterinarian can send documents and accept payment through the app, Dr. Hoss explained.

Best Case Use

  • The Veterinary Innovation Council, (VIC) promotes telemedicine as a good option in the following cases:
  • Postoperative follow-up
  • Dermatologic concerns
  • Behavioral issues/training
  • Transportation issues
  • Hospice care
  • Basic triage (whether the pet should be seen by the veterinarian)
  • Environmental concerns/hazards that might contribute to a particular condition
  • Long-term care monitoring

The Heaven at Home team has also found it valuable in helping pet parents do a quality of life assessment when it’s time to consider euthanasia.

What Are the Regulations Governing Veterinary Telemedicine?

The AVMA requires a VCPR (Veterinary-Client Patient Relationship) for a veterinarian to diagnose, prescribe medication or otherwise treat an animal individually via telemedicine. With the exception of emergency teletriage, the AVMA opposes diagnosis or treatment in the absence of a VCPR.

Referrals Enable VCPR Coverage

If you seek home hospice support for your aging pet, ask your routine care veterinarian to issue a referral to allow the consult to be under the VCPR, which allows for the widest range of treatment options.

While the pressures of COVID19 containment will ease one day, telemedicine as a convenient veterinary option is here to stay.