Veterinary telemedicine is an efficient way to limit vet office visits, especially amidst the pandemic, thanks to the rise of digital telecommunications technology. Read on to know more about veterinary telemedicine and how it can be a useful tool to ensure your cat's health.
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The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis we are facing that has affected the human race and several other species. With the current situation going on in the world right now, we turn to the advancement in technology and telecommunications for convenience and communication to bridge the gap between human interaction. Within this aspect, the demand for telemedicine has been of significant value more than ever, especially for our furry four-legged friends.
Veterinary telemedicine appears to be a valuable option for pet owners to lessen the need to visit the vet clinic. The question is, to what extent does veterinary telemedicine aid in monitoring your pet's health?
Telemedicine is a subcategory of telehealth, an umbrella term that covers all uses of technology tailored to remotely provide and deliver health information, education, training, and medical care. Telemedicine is a modern tool that utilizes modern telecommunication tools such as Skype and other applications for video calls and consultations.
The earliest use of telemedicine in humans dates back in the late 1950s to the early 1960s when a circuit television link was set for psychiatric consultations. Years later, in the 1980s, veterinary medicine applications were in use. Now our pets can also benefit from the incorporation of telehealth in the overall practice of medicine.
Veterinary telemedicine is a useful tool that can benefit both you and your pet. It can limit the exposure and waiting time at the vet clinic, and it can reduce your kitty's stress during vet visits.
Often, a virtual visit to the vet may just be an initial step that follows an in-person consultation and treatment. The following are some of the scopes you can consult with a veterinarian using telemedicine:
Needless to say, some appointments need to be conducted in person. These include physical exams, vaccinations, x-rays, ultrasound, and urinalysis. In addition, there are few rules to be followed when it comes to the utilization of telemedicine.
Veterinary Telemedicine has its rules to be followed. This is necessary to protect your cat from inaccurate drug prescriptions and improper diagnosis.
According to the American Veterinary Health Association (AVMA), telemedicine can only be practiced if there is an established Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR). This means that the veterinarian must have seen your cat or had the previous consultation in person and have prior background and records unless the advice was given in an emergency care situation. Otherwise, if there is no established VCPR, the veterinarian can provide only general advice that is not specific to your cat's health condition.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has loosened some restrictions to address animal health needs. This means good news for your cat because this rule temporarily allows veterinarians to prescribe extra-label and Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) drugs while limiting human-to-human interaction. If your feline pet gets ill, a vet may prescribe certain medicines even without an established VCPR. Even so, the veterinarian must consider the state's own veterinary practice rules.
Veterinary telemedicine may be an alternative way to see your vet, only for the specific purposes mentioned above.
According to "The Role of Telehealth in an Evolving Health Care Environment": Workshop Summary by the Board on Health Care Services and Institute of Medicine, although advanced telecommunication and information technology have a role in innovating the health care system, more research is needed to develop appropriate quality standards in all areas of telehealth.
Telemedicine, in general, has been the healthcare practitioner's first line of defense to slow the spread of COVID-19. It has encouraged social distancing by providing services through a digital medium. This is particularly beneficial for you and your cat to decrease the risk of catching the virus, since cats may also get the virus from humans.
During this period, veterinary telemedicine may be a helpful way to address your cat's health problems unless it's an emergency situation that requires an immediate cure.
Veterinary telemedicine has undoubtedly become a useful and progressive tool between pet owners and veterinarians to manage the pet's health. It has served as a timely alternative to vet visits that require follow-ups and mild diagnoses. Setting aside its benefits, vet telemedicine still has its limitations, as several procedures still require in-person visits.
How do you manage your cat’s health in this pandemic? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments sections!
Veterinary telehealth: The basics
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Helps Facilitate Veterinary Telemedicine During Pandemic
Telemedicine in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic
The Role of Telehealth in an Evolving Health Care Environment: Workshop Summary