Don’t Be Fooled by Marketing Promises: Telehealth or Virtual Care for Pets


Thank you to the great John Records Landecker on WGN Radio for welcoming myself and Dr. Lori Teller, immediate Past President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to offer an important warning as a public service – please don’t be fooled by third party providers of telehealth or telemedicine.

Listen HERE to the explanation – you think you’re getting great veterinary advice but unless it’s mere triage advice (which may be helpful and appropriate) – it’s never a good idea to get a diagnosis or medication without a veterinary patient client relationship (VCPR). Some medicine is not better than no medicine if it is bad medicine.

As Dr. Teller explains that while veterinary professionals are those who provide the advice, but why having a pet’s records and having at least some familiarity with the pet DOES make a difference. And why prescribing a medication (though the client generally wants an instant miracle drug) is rarely ever a good idea, and might not even not be legal.

And sometimes pharma companies may have influence they shouldn’t – so certain drugs are more likely to be prescribed.

I explain from a pet parents’ perspective, while the desire for fast answers is totally understandable, the virtual advice is often misleading.

The good news is that the AVMA does support telehealth or virtual care when there is a VCPR. There are many upsides to using this technology – which increasingly veterinary practices are offering – it’s convenient for the pet parent (and often for the veterinary practice); often a credentialed veterinary technician/nurse can offer advice in a way which pet parents can understand; telehealth allows people to visit their vet practice when they are unable to do so in person due to distance or perhaps the cat just can be gotten into the carrier. Also, as follow up “visits” to surgery or watching chronic conditions over time.

Here’s a detailed story on the topic.

And here’s information on from the American Veterinary Medical Association.