Just like their humans, pets too require timely medical attention from a vet. One of the most common difficulties pet parents face is taking their pets to the vet's clinic. Booking a cab is a pain as Uber/Ola drivers almost always tend to cancel when they know that there is a pet travelling. Auto rickshaws are a hit and a miss. Even if you manage to find a way to travel to the clinic, sometimes the pet may be over stimulated or unwell or have motion sickness and could find it difficult to travel in a vehicle.
What about online vet consultation?
While online vet consultations are helpful, they are not the right solution for every case.
Online vet consultation is a feasable alternative but there's always a doubt about how effective it is, especially because we tend to think that a vet always needs to physically examine a pet to diagnose what's wrong. It may not be the right solution for every case depending on the severity of the condition and other factors.
So how do you decide which one to choose - online vet consultation or consulting a vet at their clinic?
When is online vet consultation helpful?
70-80% of a pet's issues can be addressed via online consultation with a vet by sharing photos, videos or video calls. They are a better alternative than searching for symptoms on Google or asking a friend or other pet parents for medical advice. Here are a few examples of when online vet consultation is helpful:
Skin and fur related issues
Fur and skin related issues including itchy skin, dry and flaky skin, spots and lumps on skin, hairfall, etc. can be addressed via online consultations. As an initial triage, a vet can ask a few investigative questions and with the pet parent's support, an accurate diagnosis can be made.
Basic diet and nutrition information
Are you unsure if a particular food is good or bad for your pet? Are you worried about what to feed your pet? How to make sure a fussy pet eats their food?
Such questions can be mostly addressed by a vet over a quick online consultation. However, if your pet has not had food in 2-3 days, we would recommend taking your pet to the vet's clinic for a physical examination immediately.
Occasional loose stool or vomiting
Loose motions and vomiting are not uncommon amongst pets. Every pet parent at some point of time or the other has had to deal with such issues occasionally. If your pet vomitted or is having loose stool, you don't have to always take them to the vet. Instead, snap some quick photos or take a video and share that with a vet on an online consultation and the vet can do an accurate initial triage.
Vets are not available nearby
If you live in a location where it's difficult to access veterinary care, then you can always get an online consultation done to get advice on how to treat your pet's condition best at home. Although please bear in mind that in critical conditions, a visit to the vet's clinic will be necessary to be able to fully treat the pet's condition.
As a pet parent you must always get a second (and maybe even a third opinion sometimes) from a vet other than your primary vet. Getting a second opinion helps ensure that you are covering all your bases and that you have information from multiple perspectives to make an informed decision regarding the health of your pet.
When should you avoid online vet consultation and instead visit a vet at the clinic or hospital?
Here is a list of questions that we feel can help you understand when your pet needs a physical examination by your vet. We hope you find these useful.
Is this an emergency?
Is your pet unable to breathe or having difficulties breathing? Did they ingest a foreign object like keys, napthalene balls or anything else that they should not ingest? Are they bleeding profusely or hurt with visible deep wounds?
If you feel that time is of the essence and your pet needs immediate medical attention, then online consultations should be strictly avoided. Your pet needs urgent medical attention including a physical examination and in many cases might require surgery, saline therapy or other forms of physical medical intervention. In such cases if you opt for online vet consultations, vets will be able to offer only very limited help and will in majority of the cases redirect you to visit a physical vet clinic.
If your pet is looking extremely dull to you, is lying still, not moving around and not eating food, there is a high possibility that your pet is critically ill. In such a situation, please avoid online consultations. Your pet needs a physical examination and other injectable therapies by a vet and an online consultation will not be very helpful.
Is your pet not eating food for more than 2-3 days?
If your pet has not had any food for 2-3 days, this could be indicative of an underlying serious condition. In such cases, diagnosis of the underlying condition may require lab tests like blood tests, urine analysis, x-rays, etc. None of these are possible over an online consultation.
Remember, when in doubt, it's always safer to consult with a vet rather than googling symptoms or asking on Facebook groups.
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