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Breed & Health Resources

Telehealth Services: Online Pet Help When You Need It

By Lea Jaratz

girl on the phone sitting with her dog

At some point in a pet parent’s life they will find themselves in a veterinarian’s office, waiting to see the doctor with their pet and a list of questions or concerns about a symptom or new behavior. As stressful as this is for the pet parent, imagine how taxing it can be on the pet. Leaving their safe home, smelling all those unusual smells, and being handled by strangers can be really hard on them.

Telehealth refers to the ability to access health-related services via telecommunication technologies. While telehealth can’t replace the physical exam element that may be necessary, there are many ways in which these “veterinary hotlines” are improving outcomes for pets and pet parents:

24/7 Access for Your Pets Health

Contact a veterinary professional from anywhere, anytime, without an appointment. Whether you live in a remote part of the world, have difficulty getting around, or are just too busy to get your pet seen in a timely manner, telehealth is going to make your life much less complicated.

While you may not be in contact with the same veterinary professional each time you contact a telehealth company, you can expect to hear back from someone in a timely fashion and not have to wait weeks while your pet’s chart gets sent around and reviewed. No more waiting till Monday to get something checked out or putting off something minor just because it happened “after hours.”

Embrace offers our own telehealth option – PawSupport, a 24/7 Pet Health Line. This service is included with every policy at no extra charge and provides real-time decision support when it comes to questions you have about your pet.

Telehealth Can Help Answer Any Question

Veterinary telehealth services help pet parents with more than just worrying symptoms or concerns that their pet ate too many chocolate chip cookies. They help with wellness care, behavioral issues, diet, exercise, and even medication concerns.

It Doesn’t Break the Bank

By cutting out the overhead, telehealth consults are often a fraction of the cost of an in-person consultation. No, your pet can’t get vaccines (or belly rubs) over the phone, but for things that don’t require an in-person visit, telehealth is an excellent way to save some money.

It Lets You Put Your Pet First

Whether you’re emailing your pet’s lab results to a veterinary professional three states away for a second opinion or asking a “silly question” (there’s no such thing, btw) in the middle of the night so you can relax, these veterinary help lines offer reassurance when you need it.

Just remember, veterinary telehealth services are not a replacement for emergency care. If your pet has been injured or needs emergency care, take them to the closest ER right away.

And, telehealth consults aren’t meant to replace in-person annual exams and wellness care. They’re meant as a supplement, allowing for follow up conversations, second opinions, or triage and advice related to illnesses or behavioral concerns. A telehealth practitioner doesn’t have your pet’s full medical history, so you should be careful to share all relevant information when you contact them. Your veterinarian should still give your pet a thorough exam, perform any tests, and administer routine vaccines on a regular basis.

While technology and remote care aren’t a cure-all for every pet illness or injury, we see a great boost in care for pets and a great convenience for their pet parents thanks to the virtual veterinary support provided by telehealth services.

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Pet health insurance is administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC and underwritten by one of the licensed insurers of American Modern Insurance Group, Inc., including American Modern Home Insurance Company d/b/a in CA as American Modern Insurance Company (Lic. No 2222-8), and American Southern Home Insurance Company. Coverage is subject to policy terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, underwriting review, and approval, and may not be available for all risks or in all states. Rates and discounts vary, are determined by many factors, and are subject to change. Wellness Rewards is offered as a supplementary, non-insurance benefit administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency in the United States. © 2020 American Modern Insurance Group, Inc.  Wellness Rewards not available in Rhode Island.