Telehealth is a rising trend, and for good reasons. Licensed vets with telehealth services offer online vet consultations to assess and diagnose your pet’s condition remotely via text/phone/video call. Medications, if necessary, are prescribed and delivered to your doorstep.
This makes it perfect for non-urgent cases, pet parents who simply require a top-up of their pet’s chronic medications, and times like our recent COVID-19 situation, when we have to stay at home except for emergencies.
While teleconsultations and telemedicine as a whole are not meant to replace all veterinary services, these online tools are a valuable support for making traditional veterinary practices more holistic and accessible.
Traditionally, a consultation with your pet’s vet requires you to take your pet to the clinic. Such visits will involve you having to take time off your busy schedule, and you may experience hassles while getting your pet to the clinic. Not to mention, visits to the clinic can also be very stressful for some pets, particularly cats.
With teleconsultation, however, pet owners can save on travel time and cost, and it is a more pleasant experience for pets who get easily stressed out in foreign places. It is also particularly beneficial for pet owners who may have mobility issues.
Pet owners also often face instances where they’re unsure if a trip to the vet is necessary. There may even be situations when the visit prove unnecessary as all that was needed to address their pet’s condition was professional advice. In such cases, a teleconsultation will be a practical yet equally reassuring alternative to the traditional face-to-face veterinary visits.
A teleconsultation is a virtual real-time consultation, carried out remotely through the use of technology. So long as you have access to the internet and a computer with a camera or a smartphone, a virtual consultation is a viable option for you and your pet if:
Since teleconsultations and telemedicine are not meant to replace all veterinary services, there will be instances when your vet will recommend that you take your pet to the clinic for a thorough physical examination and diagnostic tests.
Typically, pets exhibiting these potentially life-threatening signs will require immediate medical attention at the clinic and not a teleconsultation:
Much to the joy of pet parents here, as of June 2020, there are a handful of telehealth veterinary services available in Singapore. This includes The Animal Clinic (TAC) and The Cat Clinic (TCC), which are both AVS-registered veterinary centres — TAC has been caring for pets since 1979, while TCC was established in 2015 as a cats-only practice and is a certified Cat Friendly Clinic by the International Society of Feline Medicine.
TAC and TCC’s telehealth service
Using software developed by a veterinary telehealth provider, TAC and TCC offer both texting and video teleconsultations. Pet owners simply need to head online to https://animalclinicsg.smart.vet/ and register an account (which will take no longer than a minute to do so) to select the service required.
To get the most out of your teleconsultation, it is recommended that you prepare the following beforehand:
Rather than depend on your memory, it is also best to have a list of all the information that you wish to provide the vet with. As a general rule of thumb, a comprehensive list that will allow your vet to finetune his diagnosis would include:
In the event that your pet’s symptoms have changed significantly or deteriorated since booking an appointment with TAC or TCC, do give them a call immediately for medical advice.
The dashboard where TAC and TCC members can schedule teleconsultations and view past consultation summaries
Once the consultation is completed, a written summary will be provided by your veterinarian, which will be available for viewing at any time in your account. Payment is also contactless and done online via their platform. Of course, if a trip down to their clinic is needed, they will inform you and schedule an appointment for you.
For refills of chronic medications and prescription pet food, pet owners can simply send in a request via WhatsApp (+65 8314 5197). A courier service will be engaged at a flat rate of $6.42 to deliver them to your doorstep within 3 working days.
Telehealth is here to stay and it’s changing the way we provide healthcare for our pets for the better. Whether you require puppy and kitten care tips, advice on behavioural and dietary issues, assistance in determining the urgency of your pet’s situation, or a refill of your pet’s usual medication and prescription pet food, you can now get it quickly, conveniently, and safely at home with the help of TAC, TCC, and an increasing number of other veterinary centres.