How nice would it be for you to have a one-on-one virtual visit with your veterinarian from home? Wouldn’t it be great if the veterinarian can see the behavior of your dog and cat in the comfort of their own home, without stressing them in for frequent visits? Although we have already been doing that, the pandemic has truly amplified our profession into pivoting full steam ahead in the virtual care space.

You probably have experienced curbside check in with your pet these past 20 months. How did you like it? Many pet parents preferred it. Not only did they prefer it, they loved it! Most animals do better away from the owners and we were ok with that. Similarly, contactless payment systems as well as checking in for your veterinary visit on a mobile application were additional tools under the virtual care umbrella. Remember, nothing is more power than the physical exam. We as veterinarians truly need to touch your pet, listen to heart and lung sounds, appreciate dental pathology, musculoskeletal abnormalities and abdominal palpation. However, having virtual care marry alongside the physical exam makes for great patient care and client satisfaction. We have to remember the importance of having a valid client-patient relationship (VCPR) in veterinary medicine. We have to physically see your pet within 12 months time in order to prescribe, treat or make recommendations.

Here are some of the many examples where telemedicine comes in handy for both you and your pet:

  • Recheck or follow up visits
  • Follow up surgical incisions
  • Behavior consultations
  • Nutrition consultation
  • Reviewing labwork
  • Client education

Virtual care has truly transformed the landscape in which we practice veterinary medicine. Additional examples of virtual care, involve artificial intelligence (AI). We are now able to review radiographs of your pets through AI technology in just under 10 minutes! Additionally, we have telecytology capabilities where we can receive results of your dog’s lump that was just aspirated, as an example. In just 10 minutes, we will be able to tell you next steps (monitor, surgical removal, referral, etc). This is the power of virtual care and telemedicine and one of the wonderful aspects I just love about veterinary medicine. Technology changes so frequently and we are adjusting and moving the needle in a way it needs to be for the greater good of animals. Embrace virtual care! It’s a wonderful tool that is used alongside your veterinarian.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA

Chief Veterinary Officer
MJH Life Sciences