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  1. advice

How To Talk to a Vet Online

Posted by Dr. Roth on August 01, 2022

Wellness Care
What to do if?
Why and How to Talk to a Vet Online Header Photo

How often have you had a question or needed advice, but the vet's office was already closed for the day? Perhaps a puppy's recent surgical incision is a little red. Or maybe when coming home from work a spouse discovers that the cat vomited a few times but otherwise seems fine. Pet parents aren't sure if they need to visit an emergency vet, but may feel the need to address pet health issues as soon as possible. 

Fortunately, having questions or concerns about a pet's health doesn't always mean waiting until the morning (or worse, Monday) or even a rushed trip to wait at the emergency vet. Today, pet parents can get almost instant answers to their questions with online vet consults. 

What Pet Parents Can Talk to a Vet Online About

While receiving vet services online may have arisen out of necessity in 2020, the ability to connect with professional vets online via chat, video, and email continues to provide significant benefits today. Some of the top benefits include:

  • Unlimited access to live vets 

  • Vets can help assess the urgency of a situation 

  • Saves time and money (avoids unnecessary emergency vet visits and costly vet bills)

  • Peace of mind

Note: Online vets can't do everything an in-person professional can. For instance, they can't formally diagnose health issues or prescribe new medication prescriptions in many states. But they can still do a lot even though they aren't in the same room as the pet, including offering tips, advice, and product recommendations. Online vets may also be able to easily refill existing prescriptions or work with a pet parent’s primary veterinarian to make refills easier for things like flea and tick medications, heartworm prevention, ear infection treatments and more.

Here are a few things pet parents can talk about when they connect with an online vet:

Pet Health Advice

Pet health issues almost always seem to occur during evenings and weekends when regular vets aren’t available. Whether a cat isn't interested in meals suddenly or a dog has been scratching more frequently and fervently, an online vet can review a pet's symptoms and help pet parents determine what steps they should take next (including but not limited to monitoring the situation at home, treating at home, going to the emergency vet, or waiting and scheduling an appointment with a primary vet). 

Online vets are also an excellent resource for general pet health care advice. Pet parents can speak with a vet via chat or video call to discuss topics such as:

  • Proper pet nutrition

  • Recent diagnoses (helping pet parents understand a specific condition or the medication that a primary vet prescribed)

  • Health issues that can affect pets based on their breed risk

  • How to ensure a safe home environment for a new pet (such as puppy and kitten-proofing a home or what houseplants to avoid)

  • Life-stage planning as pets age and their health or routine needs change

  • Advice regarding vaccinations

Advice on Wellness

Pet wellness is a broad term that covers not only physical health but mental and emotional health as well. It involves disease prevention as well as managing existing health conditions to help them live long, happy, and healthy lives. 

An online vet can provide all kinds of advice, tips, and recommendations that help ensure a pet's optimal overall wellness, including:

  • Exercise recommendations (including the best exercises for animals with joint issues)

  • The best toys and games for physical health and mental stimulation

  • Flea and tick prevention advice

  • Supplement recommendations

  • Grooming tips and product recommendations

Behavioral Issues

Pets can experience a wide range of behavioral issues such as:

Online vets legally cannot diagnose or prescribe medication for a pet they have not worked with in-person in most cases, but they can help pet parents understand why cats or dogs act the way they do. They can also provide tips and vet advice for managing stress and curbing unwanted behaviors, such as increasing playtime, providing more mental stimulation, or managing the environment. 

Depending on the situation, an online vet may recommend visiting the pet's primary vet, if they have one, to rule out potential health issues. If a pet does not have a primary vet or recently moved to a new area they can help to locate a reputable clinic or animal hospital. Or they may suggest consulting with a professional trainer or animal behaviorist for further assistance. 

How To Talk to a Veterinary Team Online

Like getting ready for in-person vet visits, pet parents should take some time to prepare before talking to a vet online. That way, the online veterinary professional can provide the best care and advice, allowing pet parents to get the most out of their consultations.

Here are a few things that people can do to ensure smooth and successful online vet consultations: 

Prepare Questions in Advance

Pet parents may find it helpful to write down the questions and concerns they want to address before they start talking with an online vet. A written list helps reduce the likelihood of forgetting something important. 

If wanting to address a specific concern, they may also want to have the following information handy (depending on the situation):

  • The pet's symptoms (including when they started)

  • A description of the issue (clear photos or video will almost always help the vet tech, nurse, or veterinarian)

  • Any recent changes in the pet's environment

  • Information about the pet's diet 

  • The pet's health history 

Schedule an Appointment or Consultation With Trusted Telehealth Services

One of the top benefits of virtual vet services like Fuzzy is that pet parents only a button tap away from expert advice from licensed veterinarians rather than having to scour forums, ask unlicensed people from the internet, or trust random search results. Fuzzy members do not need an appointment, although they can select a date and time to schedule video sessions or online pet training. 

Identify Your Needs as a Pet Owner

It can also be helpful to know what’s driving the desire to talk to an online vet or pet health professional in the first place:

  • Is there a concern about specific symptoms the pet is experiencing or doubts about what to do next?

  • Is there a need for general veterinary advice but never enough time or availability at in-person appointments to ask, learn, and discuss the issue?

  • Are specific pet product recommendations (flea and tick prevention, treats, food, toys) something that’s needed if, say, a pet has unique health quirks?

  • Has the pet's behavior changed recently, and there’s a need to understand why?

Knowing the purpose behind the consultation will help ensure pet parents get the most out of the experience so they may continue to provide their pets with the highest quality care possible without the hassle or pile-up of clinic visit bills.

Get 24-Hour Veterinary Care

With Fuzzy, dog and cat parents have unlimited access to expert advice from licensed vets 24/7/365. Whether concerned about specific symptoms, unusual behaviors, or if they just want to ask a more general question, Fuzzy members are only seconds away from speaking to a live vet or vet tech via online chat or video call. Fuzzy's vet team is online to listen and provide professional advice, tips, and recommendations to ensure a pet's overall health and wellness can be exactly what pet parents want. 

To unlock ‘round-the-clock virtual vet care, exclusive discounts, and a host of other benefits, sign up to become a Fuzzy member today!

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