As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the world views in-person healthcare. While there are still plenty of services that must be carried out face-to-face, there are some that can be performed just as effectively through online video, text messaging, or over the phone.
The pandemic taught us how easily we could adapt to accessing care and other services remotely for ourselves. Many pet parents also began using online and telephone-based veterinary services to access remote care for their animals.
Virtual veterinary appointments were first done out of necessity, but many people have begun recognizing the convenience and affordability they can offer. Not only can having access to a vet from the comfort of your own home be a convenient way to get excellent care, but it can also actually be far less stressful for your fur baby.
To help you understand your options, we will explain the legal standing of veterinary telemedicine in the state of Michigan. We will also explain why online vet appointments are proving to be so popular amongst Michigan-based pet parents.
So, What is Veterinary Telemedicine?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the not-for-profit organization that oversees and represents nearly 100,000 vets in the United States, veterinary telemedicine is a tool that veterinarians can use to dispense veterinary care.
In other words, veterinary telemedicine is simply a way for qualified veterinarians to offer care for their patients rather than being an entirely separate discipline. During an online vet appointment, you speak with a fully qualified vet who can provide medical advice and even prescribe medications without meeting in person.
Essentially, veterinary telemedicine links patient animals and their owners with qualified and licensed veterinarians for assessment, medical recommendations, and treatment. This remote interaction between pets and veterinarians can offer a wide variety of benefits for the animal and owner.
What are the Benefits of Using Veterinary Telemedicine?
As mentioned, there are many reasons why pet owners throughout the country are trying veterinary telemedicine rather than a typical in-person visit to a vet clinic. In addition to relieving pressure on in-person vet clinics, veterinary telemedicine offers the following advantages:
They Can Triage During Potential Emergencies
In situations where you are unsure if your pet’s behavior indicates a medical emergency, a virtual vet can quickly examine your animal and review the symptoms to determine the next course of action.
A sudden change in an animal’s behavior will often cause a pet parent to panic. While this shows how much people care and see their pets as valued family members, it can be extremely helpful to have a way to quickly determine whether or not you are dealing with an emergency or something less urgent.
Not only can this help relieve stress during false alarm situations, but it can also save you an expensive visit to an emergency clinic!
Remote Appointments are Often Less Stressful for Your Pet
A vet clinic can be a stressful place for a nervous dog or cat, which is especially true if your pet suffers from any form of anxiety or chronic stress. When you book a virtual vet appointment, your pet’s condition can be assessed from the comfort of your own home.
Reducing the number of times you need to visit an anxiety-inducing environment can help to cut down on the amount of stress your pet experiences. While there are still situations where your pet will need to be examined by a vet in person, using online appointments for quick advice and check-ins does help.
Virtual Vet Appointments are Convenient and Affordable
Not only will a virtual vet appointment save you and your pet from having to make a time-consuming trip to an in-person clinic, but they also tend to be less expensive than in-person appointments.
This convenience is helpful if you are traveling with your pet or cannot book an in-person appointment right away. Not having to drive to a clinic and sit in a waiting room for every minor issue also saves time, money, and frustration.
What are the Regulations Regarding Veterinary Telemedicine in Michigan?
While rules and regulations differ from one state to the next, veterinary telemedicine is now legal in the state of Michigan.
According to the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Board, the general provisions of the Michigan Public Health Code allow telehealth services to be provided by licensed and qualified veterinarians. In fact, in the state of Michigan, veterinarians that are fully licensed can even prescribe drugs to their patients over the phone.
Furthermore, whenever a remote veterinarian examines an animal or prescribes any medication, that animal’s medical records are updated within a timely fashion. Anything discussed during a virtual appointment goes into your pet’s file, so in-person veterinarians will also have access to that information. Any abnormal findings uncovered during an online vet appointment will be shared with in-person clinics and vice-versa.
What Does This All Mean?
Luckily, residents of Michigan can access veterinary telemedicine without having to deal with some of the outdated and unnecessary barriers that pet parents in other states have to endure. Under current law, Michigan vets, pet owners, and the pets themselves have the flexibility to safely and reliably benefit from virtual care.
Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrate how useful it can be to access services remotely, but it was also a time when millions of American families welcomed new dogs and cats into their homes. Given this unprecedented surge in pet ownership and greater demand for veterinary care, it’s no wonder that booking an appointment at a clinic is more difficult than ever. With remote care options now available to pet owners in Michigan, veterinary expertise is more accessible and can help pet owners better manage their pet’s wellness and safety.
If the convenience and affordability of veterinary telemedicine appeal to you, we encourage you to sign up for a free Hello Ralphie account. You can also read through common questions about online vet appointments and learn how Hello Ralphie works to find out more.
Hello Ralphie’s online veterinary appointments are a fast and easy way to access vet advice, at-home remedies, prescription medication, and more.