Mar 31, 2020

A pet owner’s guide to vet telemedicine

By Pawzy Team
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With Pawzy’s Telehealth for Pets, you can connect with an online vet — anytime, anywhere. It’s the perfect option for dog and cat owners that need support, but want to avoid a trip to the clinic if they can. You simply log into a virtual waiting room and a vet can help you over video, audio or instant messaging. The entire process is safe and encrypted, including credit card payments. There’s really no easier way to get your pet the healthcare they deserve.

To help answer your questions about online vets, we've put together this pet owner's guide to vet telemedicine. It includes more details about the digital experience, veterinarian regulations and common symptoms that can be treated.

Is telehealth and telemedicine the same thing?

Telehealth incorporates all forms of virtual patient care, including both medical and non-medical care. Telemedicine is the regulated component of telehealth that allows veterinarians to provide medical advice and treatment for your pet using online technology like video, audio and instant messaging, without an in-person physical examination. Non-regulated forms of telehealth can be used to share health information or provide health education.

How does telemedicine for pets work?

New technology, such as Pawzy Telehealth for Vet Clinics, allows patients to check-in, process payments, and connect seamlessly over video, audio or instant message. We’ve designed an online telemedicine platform that’s easy for both vets and pet parents to use. You simply book an appointment and connect with a vet in a virtual examination room. You don’t need to download any apps and you can access the system with your phone or computer. You can send photos of your pet or use the video function. The video is high definition and allows the vet to get a good look at your pet’s issue.

How is telemedicine regulated?

Veterinarians and, by extension, telemedicine are regulated at the state level in the United States and the provincial level in Canada. So, the regulations on telemedicine vary from province-to-province. Vets can only provide medical advice and treatments to patients with whom they have an established veterinarian client-patient relationship (VCPR). Some provinces allow a VCPR to be established virtually while others only allow vets to practice telemedicine with patients with whom they have a pre-existing relationship and have conducted a recent physical examination.

In Ontario, a VCPR can be established online with new patients once the vet has obtained sufficient knowledge of the patient and informed consent of the pet owner to conduct medical care. Other provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec are temporarily permitting virtual VCPRs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vet's existing legal and professional obligations are still applied to telemedicine consultations, diagnoses and medical prescriptions.

Can veterinarians prescribe medication over telemedicine?

Once a VCPR has been established, vets are permitted to do anything virtually that they can do in-person, including prescribing medication. Online vets can prescribe medication for flea and tick control, heartworm prevention and renew prescriptions for chronic diseases and pre-existing ailments. For new or worsening symptoms, vets can evaluate and prescribe medication as needed in the treatment plan.

How much does telemedicine for pets cost?

Through Pawzy, a 15-minute consultation is $49 CAD + applicable taxes. Credit card payments are securely processed using Stripe. We don’t store any sensitive health information, and we’re PHIPA and PIPEDA compliant.

Who are the online veterinarians?

The veterinarians available on Pawzy are all licensed by their provincial regulator. Vets do not have to be physically present at their clinic to provide telehealth services, which helps to also keep them safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Vets selected for our platform must be licensed and in good standing by their provincial regulator, maintain a 4*+ rating on Google and provide friendly and compassionate service.

Common symptoms that can be treated by an online vet

Pet parents can connect virtually with vets to assess new symptoms, monitor worsening or changing symptoms, get behavioural advice, ask about nutritional plans, find out COVID-19 updates and request prescriptions for medications. As Dr. Bryan Gelman, owner of the Yonge & St. Clair Veterinary Hospital, says, “If you're not sure if you should come in or not, telehealth is a good way to contact your vet for more information.”

"Telehealth is good for non-life threatening or serious conditions,” says Dr. Gelman. Any issue of concern can be triaged, and directed to in-person care if necessary. Worsening symptoms should be brought to our attention immediately, and we can use telehealth to connect quickly and determine the right course of action. Painful or bloody pee or poo, panting or breathing issues and/or excessive fatigue are generally causes for concern.

These are the most common dog and cat symptoms that can be checked using telehealth for pets:

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Painful/bloody pee/poo

  • Scooting

  • Itchy/smelly ears

  • Bad breath

  • Drooling

  • Excessive drinking/peeing

  • Weight loss/gain

  • Fatigue

  • Stiffness

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Panting/breathing issues

  • Dry/itchy skin

  • Skin licking

  • Skin sores/lumps

  • Hair loss

  • Head shaking

  • Dry/red/cloudy eyes

The most common dog illnesses that can be managed with an online vet are:

  • Ear infections

  • Flea/tick

  • Heartworm

  • Ringworm

  • Tapeworm

  • Hot spots

  • Allergies

  • Diabetes

  • Kennel cough

  • Rabies

  • Cancer

  • Lyme disease

  • Dental disease

The most common cat illnesses that can be managed with an online vet are:

  • Flea

  • Heartworm

  • Ringworm

  • Tapeworm

  • Allergies

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • Dental disease


  • Feline rabies

  • Feline leukemia / FeLV

  • Feline aids/FIV

  • URIs

  • Kidney stones

  • Renal failure

Ready to book your first appointment? Click here to connect with one of your online vets.


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