During a pandemic, you don’t want to leave your house more than you need to, despite not being under quarantine. Since the COVID-19 threat is still affecting our community, our Westerville Veterinary Clinic team wants to do as much as we can to keep you, our team, and our community safe, while still providing top-notch care for your pet. So, we are offering our patients virtual care visits, in addition to in-hospital exams. Virtual care has been available in human medicine for years, and by expanding our telemedicine offerings, we can better serve more people and their pets. Since virtual care is relatively new for our hospital, we know you will have questions about how it works, and how you and your pet can benefit. Following are our answers.

Question: If my pet is sick, can I schedule a virtual appointment?

Answer: Yes and no. Depending on your pet’s illness, we may be able to reach a diagnosis and form a treatment plan through a virtual visit, but many illnesses require a hands-on physical exam and diagnostic testing. For example, if your dog has developed a goose-honk cough a few days after visiting a doggy daycare facility, we may be able to diagnose and manage your pet during a virtual visit, with medication pick-up afterward. However, if your dog is coughing when they first rise, or displaying exercise intolerance, we’d recommend an in-hospital appointment. If you’re unsure if your pet needs to be seen in-person, call us.

Q: What are virtual visits used for?

A: Virtual visits have a wide array of uses, and help minimize paperwork, free up appointment slots for more critical patients, and offer convenience for you and your pet. Some of the more common uses include:

  • Post-operative rechecks
  • Medical progress exams
  • Behavior issues
  • Nutrition discussions
  • Skin problems
  • Hospice care
  • Triage
  • Environmental concerns
  • Long-term care monitoring

Many pet health conditions can be evaluated or managed through telemedicine, but some issues will require an in-hospital appointment. 

Q: When should I make an in-hospital appointment instead?

A: Serious illnesses or injuries require an in-hospital visit for diagnostic testing and treatment purposes. Determining whether your pet needs to be seen by a Westerville Veterinary Clinic veterinarian in-person, or if a virtual visit will suffice, can be difficult. While we can evaluate your pet’s condition and triage them through our app, you should always call our hospital for advice.

Q: How does a virtual visit work?

A: Virtual visits are similar to in-person visits, except that we cannot perform a hands-on physical exam. We trust you to be our eyes, ears, and hands when evaluating your pet, and to gather any information you can about their condition. During your furry pal’s virtual visit, we can video chat to see exactly what is happening at home, whether your pet is coughing, sneezing, or chewing at a spot on their skin. You can also take pictures and videos prior to your pet’s appointment and send them to us through our app. Our veterinarian will evaluate your pet from a distance, decide on the best course of action, and let you know if you need to bring your pet in for further diagnostic testing, quick outpatient treatment, or in-hospital treatment. However, we can perform many pet care tasks through virtual care, which helps to reduce disease transmission and keep our community safe.

Q: How do I schedule a virtual visit?

A: To set up your pet for their first virtual visit, you need to download the PetDesk app through the App Store or Google Play. Select Westerville Veterinary Clinic to choose our hospital, and then request an appointment. You can select the reason why your pet needs an appointment, provide important information, and schedule a video chat with our veterinarian. 

Is your pet a good candidate for a virtual visit? If so, schedule a video chat appointment with us through our PetDesk app. Need help scheduling a virtual visit or downloading our app? Give our Westerville Veterinary Clinic team a call at 614-882-2332 for assistance, or to schedule an in-hospital appointment.