What is telemedicine and how can it benefit YOU?
We are excited to offer an affordable and convenient option to pets and their owners who are existing clients. Via Skype or Google hangouts, you can talk with the veterinarian, show/email photos of problems, and get help for your pet quickly! We can prescribe medication and offer a diagnosis without making a house call and examining your pet in some cases. This practice is referred to as “telemedicine,” and it saves you, the pet owner, time, money, and loads of anxiety!
When you are a patient of a “traditional” vet clinic and your pet gets sick, what do you do? You call and talk to a receptionist. Sometimes the pet is very ill and needs to be seen promptly. Other times it is minor, and if you could only talk to the doctor, she might be able to prescribe a medication without you having to haul your pet in for a visit, wait in the waiting room, pay $50+, and get home 1-2 hours later. You ask the receptionist, and they insist you come in.
These clinics typically tell you to schedule an appointment, regardless. You rarely get to talk to a doctor unless you are in an exam room.
With our house call practice, we skip the receptionist and go straight to the doctor. Sometimes it’s been an exchange of texts, voicemails, emails, sometimes with photos. All of these practices can be classified as various levels of “telemedicine.” Often I need more information than in the initial contact, but once I have it all, I am usually willing to prescribe a medication without an exam, as long as the problem is somewhat minor. (If I determine the pet needs to be examined, we will set up an appointment.)
The legal requirements for me to do this are for us to have a valid Veterinarian-Client -Patient Relationship, or a VCPR. Any animal Dr. Laura or I have examined within the last 12 months has an established VCPR with us as a practice. If we have not seen your pet in over 12 months, our VCPR is no longer valid until we perform a physical examine on your pet, in person, again. We cannot legally sell or prescribe any medications via our telemedicine option until we examine your pet and re-establish that relationship. This is the legal definition, not mine.
Telemedicine consults cost $35, which is a fraction of the cost of an appointment, and only take 10-15 minutes. These are intended to replace the lengthy text and email exchanges that are inefficient and can delay my helping your pet. After our consult, I will enter the results in the medical record, similar to an appointment. I can arrange medications to be picked up same day in either Fairview Heights or Shiloh, can mail them, or a handful of medications can even be called into a human pharmacy for prompt pick-up. Telemedicine appointments will be scheduled and billed via Square, our credit card processing company, from this page! (Just scroll down!)
What types of problems are suitable to telemedicine? Here are a few possible examples, but of course, every case is an individual.
- Itchy skin / rashes in a dog who has them often.
- Diarrhea or loose stool in a dog or cat who is otherwise acting fine
- Cats urinating outside the litter box who have a history of this problem
- Sneezing but otherwise acting healthy
Again this is not an all inclusive list, but meant to give you an idea. And of course, if you aren’t sure, just ask! Tell us a little bit about what’s going on, and one of 3 things will happen:
- We answer a quick question (what was that pepcid dose again?) and you’re done.
- We schedule a telemedicine appointment.
- We schedule a house call.
All three of these possibilities are in the best interest of your pet.
Book your telemedicine consult with Dr. Karen Louis right here!
If the few available times listed do not work for you, go ahead and schedule the appointment for the day of your choice, and in the “appointment notes” box, please indicate the time THAT DAY you’d like to conduct our consult. I can often make times in the evening between 7pm and 9pm work most days.
1 – Click “Book now”
2 – Select the day you prefer
3 – SCROLL DOWN to select a time
4 – Enter your information and credit card payment, read the cancellation policy, and you’re set!
Any photos to share? Email them to me in advance: MetroEastHomeVet@gmail.com