Debate over veterinary merits of telemedicine

Oct 1, 2021 | Articles

While studies show that pet owners approve of telemedicine and are willing to pay for it, debate over the merits of the practice continues amongst the veterinary community. A recent session by Dr Greg Bishop at the AVMA Virtual Convention called ‘Veterinary Telemedicine: What’s the Evidence?’ shone a spotlight on the issue.

Recent surveys of US and European veterinarians found that many in the profession see telemedicine as inferior to traditional hands-on examinations. However, Dr Bishop felt this was a mistake and that veterinary telemedicine had the potential to better promote animal welfare, appeal to tech-savvy pet owners and reach under-served pet populations.

Dr Bishop cited research that found pet owners were willing to pay between $38 to $40 USD for a virtual visit with a veterinarian. Though admittedly low, the fee is notable in light of the 2011 Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study that found a sizable proportion of US pet owners cited cost as the reason why they didn’t take their pets to a veterinarian.

“It’s actually an advantage that a telemedicine visit would be cheaper because it’s accessible to a lot of people, and there’s a lot of people that need that,” said Dr Bishop. Read more