Telemedicine

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine uses technology to create a convenient connection between the pet owner and our veterinary experts, all from the comfort of your home. While telemedicine consultations may lack the tactile and olfactory dimensions of a traditional in-person exam, our dedicated veterinarians adeptly utilize your guidance to assess your pet’s health.

During a telemedicine session, you play a crucial role as our surrogate, assisting in the examination process by providing visual and tactile cues. For instance, you may be asked to use your phone camera to capture images of your pet’s skin, teeth, or other areas of concern, or to palpate specific areas for signs of discomfort, swelling, or abnormalities.

Our telemedicine practitioners adhere to the same rigorous standards of care upheld by our in-hospital veterinarians, prioritizing your pet’s safety and well-being above all else. Please note that because we recognize the inherent value of consulting with a licensed medical professional via video conferencing, a nominal fee is associated with this invaluable service.

Should I Request an In-Person Appointment or a Telemedicine Appointment?

While telemedicine offers convenience and accessibility, it’s essential to recognize its inherent limitations.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that telemedicine is not a substitute for in-person pet wellness exams. Your pet’s health and happiness rely on regular physical evaluations, which should occur at least once every 12 months. For young pets, seniors, and those with specific health concerns, more frequent visits may be necessary. During these in-person appointments, our experienced veterinarians conduct thorough examinations, administer vaccines, perform diagnostic tests, and recommend any necessary procedures tailored to your pet’s individual needs.

Additionally, it’s crucial to note that telemedicine is not suitable for emergencies. If your pet experiences a life-threatening situation, such as trauma or ingestion of a harmful substance, immediate in-person veterinary care is imperative.

Telemedicine appointments at Mercy Pet Hospital are reserved for various non-emergency scenarios commonly encountered by pet owners. These may include:

  • Skin issues
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Limping
  • Nutritional consultation
  • Behavioral issues
  • Puppy/kitten advice like crate training or proper socialization
  • Follow-up care
  • Chronic medical condition monitoring

Ensuring pet safety and well-being remains our utmost priority. Following a telemedicine appointment, if necessary, your pet may still require evaluation by a veterinarian at an animal hospital. However, our telemedicine practitioners can conduct an initial assessment, educate you on potential issues, outline next steps for in-person care, and initiate the path to your pet’s recovery.

What are the benefits to using telemedicine?

Benefits for Clients

Telemedicine enables pet owners facing health, weather, transportation, or behavioral challenges to virtually consult with a veterinarian, ensuring access to care without the need for a physical visit to the animal hospital.

Benefits for Pets

Telemedicine provides pets with the opportunity to be seen in their comfortable home environment, reducing anxiety and stress often associated with visits to animal hospitals, including the ordeal of getting into carriers or enduring car rides.

Benefits for Our Veterinary Team

Telemedicine helps alleviate scheduling pressures by allowing veterinarians to see patients with minor conditions over video, freeing up in-person appointment slots for more urgent cases. Additionally, it offers relief from the physical demands of working in an animal hospital, allowing veterinarians to practice medicine and assist pets without the bodily challenges that can become overwhelming.

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How Does Telemedicine Work?

At Mercy Pet Hospital, we conduct our telemedicine services over Zoom. Please ensure the Zoom app is downloaded on your device and that you are successfully logged in prior to your appointment time.

Instructions for Telemedicine

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING REGARDING VIRTUAL CARE FOR PETS:

  • Telemedicine is not a replacement to in-person vet care. It can only serve as an adjunct to in-person care when needed. And while we may not be able to solve all of your pet’s problems over telemedicine, we can guide you through the short term until we can see them in person.
  • The pet must be present and available at the time of the telemedicine appointment.
  • Please join the zoom meeting 10 minutes prior to your appointment time. Please wait for the doctor to join you. Sometimes there can be a wait of up to 15 minutes.
  • In the event we get disconnected, please try to log back into the Zoom meeting. Alternatively, we may try to call you at the number you have listed in your chart if Zoom has decided it needs a break.
  • A deposit will be taken at the time your telemedicine appointment is made. For cancellation of appointments with a start time before noon, we ask that you let us know by the end of the prior business day or leave a voicemail overnight. For all appointments with a start time after noon, reschedule appointments 4 or more hours in advance to avoid a cancellation charge of 50% of the deposit. Canceling with ample time will help us fill your appointment time and provide care to pets that are waiting to be seen. “No Call, No Show” appointments are charged 100% of the deposit.
  • The same standards of care apply to services provided via telehealth and in-person, so please note that you may be required to bring your pet into the hospital for diagnosis, treatment, and/or follow up care. Alternatively, you can also choose to come in for an examination if you do not feel the telemedicine appointment is sufficient. Please note that there will be additional examination fees for in-person care (typically charged as a “recheck”).
  • In the event of an adverse reaction to the treatment, please call Mercy Pet Hospital during regular business hours or if life threatening, go to a 24 hour care facility. For a list of after hour emergency hospitals, visit our website and click on emergency.
  • You can pick up medications from either of our hospital locations or use our online store. for home delivery. Some prescription drugs or medications may also be available at a local pharmacy and, if requested, we can fax a prescription to a pharmacy of your choice. Non-affiliated online pharmacies do require you to mail a physical copy of the prescription.
  • There are some limitations to the medications we are allowed to prescribe over telemedicine. Controlled substances are currently prohibited from being prescribed without an in-person examination of your pet.