Finding a veterinarian that you and your pet both love is a must for any pet parent. By using a veterinarian who you trust, and have faith in their ability to take care of your pet, you will feel much more at ease when your pet is unwell. Likewise, it’s important for your pet to also love visiting your veterinarian. It helps reduce their stress and helps the experience to be a positive one.
What Makes a Good Veterinarian?
Well, let’s start with the absolute basics. A veterinarian must be registered to practice in your state. Only veterinarians who are licensed in your state can provide veterinary services. Do not use a veterinarian who is not licensed in your state, even if you are using virtual vet services. This is because if you need to complain regarding care or treatment provided, there is no governing body you can discuss concerns with as they are unregistered. It’s easy to search online if your veterinarian is registered in your state, for example, this is the California register.
Finding the Right Platform
Finding the best virtual veterinarian also involves finding the right platform that works for you.
Talking to a veterinarian on the telephone, but this does not allow your vet to see your pet. This is most commonly used by veterinarians working out of a veterinary hospital or clinic.
Using platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or Facetime. Make sure these connections are secure as personal information is discussed. If you have a regular veterinarian who is just starting to use telemedicine services, you may find they use these types of platforms to connect with their client base.
Using an app or website that offers a chat service. This is particularly good if you need a moment to absorb the information provided and like to have a record of everything that was talked about. This type of service is often available 24/7 and connects you to the first available veterinarian.
Using an app or website that offers a video chat service. This would be the one that offers the most value as you can see many different veterinarians at different times of day and night. They can see you and your pet, and it feels much more like a veterinary visit, but from your home!
How to Find a Good Virtual Veterinarian
Finding the best online veterinarian means finding the best online veterinarian for you. Every pet owner has a different personality, as do veterinarians, and it’s all about finding the best fit in personality types and communication styles.
Find a veterinarian you feel comfortable around, who takes the time to explain your pet’s health conditions and shows that they care about your pet. Make a list of things you would like from your veterinarian and keep looking until you find the one that you feel completely confident in.
Choose a veterinarian who suits your needs. If you prefer to have the Doctor tell you what the best option is and then follow that advice, there are vets out there who are happy to do this. Others prefer to give you the options and help you to choose the best one that fits your pet’s needs, lifestyle, and budget.
A good and able communicator is key to you finding your perfect veterinarian. It’s ok to meet a few vets and find the right fit for you and your pets. Virtual vet services make meeting and having an in-depth conversation with a veterinarian much more accessible and a great way to help you find what veterinarian you choose to work with.
It's also important that your veterinarian shows love and care for your pet, see how they interact, and also how your pet reacts to their energy and body language.
Have a Backup Plan
You may find a veterinarian that you absolutely adore, and cannot live without, but remember life can throw us a few curveballs from time to time. Your regular vet may take leave for holiday or illness in which case you need a backup you can feel confident in. By using online veterinary services in addition to your physical visits to the veterinarian, you will have already created a solid relationship with a second veterinarian. This can prove invaluable in a time of crisis when you are faced with a possible emergency situation or considering difficult decisions such as euthanasia.
Some veterinarians will have a strong interest in their favorite species such as a veterinarian who only treats cats or a vet with an interest in exotic pets. Other vets will have achieved further study and qualifications in areas of veterinary practice such as dentistry or ophthalmology.
If you have a pet with either an ongoing issue, such as allergic skin disease it may be worth looking for a veterinarian who has extra skills in treating that condition. Whilst all veterinarians are able to treat and advise on health conditions, if a veterinarian has a keen interest in a topic, they may have extra information or know of new research that has just been released that can affect your pet’s health.
Can I record a virtual veterinary visit?
Some of the apps used to conduct virtual vet visits will have options to record the information discussed. It’s important if you are considering using this option to gain the consent of the veterinarian who is helping you before starting recording. The veterinarian would also need your consent before recording a virtual vet visit (for future training purposes for example).
Can I request a specific veterinarian for virtual veterinary visits?
Yes! Your pets Doctor will love to build a relationship with you and see your pets on an ongoing basis. It’s very common for parents to specifically request a Doctor they get on well with to see their pets.
Can I use a different virtual veterinarian from my regular veterinarian?
Yes! Your regular vet will likely not be available all the time, so to have another veterinarian you know and trust is a very valuable relationship to have.