Dr Claire Jenkins VetChat muru-D

Why Telehealth is pet first care- Vetchat

Written by Dr. Claire Jenkins, muru-D SYD5 Founder

As a Veterinarian of almost 15 years, I initially believed that quality pet healthcare could only be delivered face-to-face; that unless you physically observe an animal, you simply can’t provide accurate advice and care.

But as technology has evolved over the course of my career – making it possible to create a virtual clinic experience – I have come to realise this is no longer the case.  

In the age of high-speed internet, real-time video and online chat software, telehealth now provides a vital key to the future of vet care, as a complimentary – and often preventative – partner to hands-on bricks and mortar vet consults.

As the co-founder of Vetchat, an online service that gives pet owners real-time access to real Australian vets, you’d expect me to say that – right?

To get technical for just a moment… Telehealth, as defined by the UK Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, is any healthcare service that uses remote telecommunications services. For example, a consult or any advice really via your mobile phone, landline, tablet or desktop.

The future of vet care is pet (owner) first

With advances in consumer technology like wearable 24/7 pet monitoring, it’s essential that veterinarians––the most trusted advisors in a pet’s life­­––are the drivers of this conversation.

Wouldn’t it be great if, in addition to annual or biannual visits, veterinarians could virtually check in with pet owners? This is a convenient, personalised,  pet-first approach. Telehealth opens up the lines of communication and helps us better educate pet owners. It also means regular, high quality care for our pets.

Of course there are important elements to consider to make sure we deliver the best care for pets and their owners, but these considerations shouldn’t scare us from taking action. An online examination will never replace a hands on one, but an experienced veterinarian knows how to assess urgency, gather the right information and provide recommendations for care options right away.

Telehealth and virtual vet services will never replace live vet visits, but rather complement how we deliver the best pet care possible. It encourages more people to seek out a vet immediately, which translates to more in-clinic referrals than otherwise possible too.

Please share your feedback with me here or reach out to chat further. I’d love to hear from you.