How Does Telemedicine Change Vet Online Health Care in Singapore?

As technology starts to decrease the gap between patients and healthcare professionals, the same can be said for consultations with our animal doctors and veterinarians.

The Animal and Veterinary Service allowed veterinary clinics to provide only emergency and non-elective services during the circuit breaker starting 2020. Consulting vets online is not new but it has since increased in demand since the pandemic, surging in popularity together with the virtual human healthcare in the new normal. This has also influenced many different organisations to set up tele-vet services to assist pet owners in getting the medical attention needed for their furry friends.

Most, if not all veterinarians, have practised telemedicine and traditionally, a consultation with the vet requires your pet to be physically present at the clinic. Such visits will involve taking some time off your busy schedule (which most of us cannot afford to), and more often than not, the clinic is a stressful place to be for some pets as they are unfamiliar.

How Veterinary Telemedicine Works?

With veterinary telemedicine, you can talk to a vet over text, phone, or video chat to get real-time advice on what you should do for your pet. Pet owners will be able to benefit from these online vet services as they save on travel time and cost.

Please do be reminded that this alternative is definitely not a replacement for regular in-office visits, but it sure does get the medical assistance that you need for your pet for non-emergency situations.

Most vets on telemedicine services cannot truly diagnose or prescribe medications for pets they haven’t previously seen in person, but they are able to provide helpful advice before informing should there be the need to have a scheduled physical visit.

What Can Be Consulted with Online Vets?

Just like any other telemedicine app, conditions that can be advised through online vets are those non-emergency/ non-urgent situations and concerns.

Here are a few common examples:

  • Skin rashes
  • Behavioural issues
  • Ear issues
  • Lethargy, weakness and urination issues
  • New skin growths
  • Mild skin and ear conditions
  • Mild diet and allergy issues
  • Mild lameness/ Some types of limping, such as in older, arthritic pets
  • Mild gastroenteritis episodes
  • Mild cases of diarrhoea
  • Reviewing and monitoring a chronic illness

Anything beyond mild issues, suffered through a traumatic injury and those exhibiting these potentially life-threatening signs will require immediate medical attention at the clinic and not a teleconsultation.

Some of our online vets offer house visits should you require one and if you are unable to travel to the clinic yourself.

Which Conditions Cannot Be Consulted with Online Vets?

Teleconsultations and telemedicine are not meant to replace all veterinary services. Therefore, there will be several instances when your vet will recommend a thorough physical examination and diagnostic tests in a clinic. Even with house calls, vets also cannot take X-rays and ultrasound scans, or perform surgery.

Some of the severe and emergency conditions faced by your pets that require immediate clinical assistance include:

  • Bleeding, deep, or extensive open wounds
  • Poisoning and suspected ingestion of foreign objects or human medication
  • Persistent coughing/ respiratory distress 
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Burns, Severe pain, Fractures, Seizures
  • Seizures, collapsing, fainting, or dizziness
  • Numbness, Loss of vision
  • Persistent/ Repeated retching, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Trouble urinating or not producing urine 
  • Abnormal heart rate

Conclusion

Telemedicine is a valuable support for users to talk to a vet online and allowing veterinary medicine to be more holistic and accessible online and offline.

Whether you require care tips for your furry friend and other pets, assistance in determining the urgency of your pet’s medical condition, advice on behavioural and dietary issues, or even a refill of your pet’s medication prescription and pet food, you can now get it quickly, conveniently, and safely at home.

Talk to a certified online vet on WhatsDoc for a safe screening on any pet-related enquiries and to get some proper vet advice to whether you would need a physical appointment done for further assessment.

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WhatsDoc has a list of certified veterinarian that have experience in managing vet online health care. Let us be part of your healing journey from the comforts of your own home.

References:

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/sick-animal-home-pet-owners-turn-video-consultations-vets-house-calls

https://www.8days.sg/seeanddo/thingstodo/a-list-of-online-vet-services-in-singapore-since-clinics-can-12625508

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/telehealth-gets-a-boost-from-covid-19-pandemic-12945990

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/practice-management/telehealth-telemedicine-veterinary-practice/veterinary-telehealth-basics

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/190520181.pdf

https://www.wired.com/story/best-veterinary-telemedicine-services/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/serenitygibbons/2020/08/06/virtual-vets-are-raking-in-funding—is-pet-telehealth-the-next-big-thing/?sh=7c4b40fd150e

https://bmcvetres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12917-019-2219-8

https://sva.org.sg/category/news/

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/make-believe-outings-and-virtual-pet-therapy-hospices-get-12745280

https://www.tamilmurasu.com.sg/tabla/singapore/she-becomes-tele-vet-treat-pets

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/practice-management/telehealth-telemedicine-veterinary-practice/veterinary-telehealth-basics

Images:
Taken from https://www.clubpets.com.sg/telehealth/