May 22, 2020

When should you use an online vet?

By Pawzy Team
Share this post

It can be unsettling to notice something wrong with your beloved dog or cat. Fortunately, there are a number of situations that you can address virtually with a veterinarian, including assessing new or worsening symptoms, getting behavioural or nutrition advice and requesting medication prescriptions. If you’re concerned, but not sure about the severity of an issue, telehealth is a quick, cost-effective way to connect with a professional and decide on future treatment. 

For more information about how the telemedicine process works, read our pet owner’s guide to vet telemedicine.

New symptoms that should be checked by an online vet

The most common new symptoms that prompt pet owners to connect virtually with vets are urinary or gastro problems (e.g. diarrhea, vomiting, etc.). While these symptoms are not always serious, they can be the first sign of a bigger problem. It’s generally recommended to see a vet if a new issue continues beyond 24 hours. By connecting online, a vet can help you decide if and when it’s time to make an in-person visit to the clinic for a physical examination.

With telemedicine’s video function, physical symptoms such as redness, swelling or other skin problems can be checked by an online vet. A vet can also visually inspect your pet’s eyes or ears. And on some telemedicine platforms like Pawzy Telehealth, you can capture and/or send photos for further examination.

Not sure if your pet’s issue is appropriate for telehealth? Here’s a list of common symptoms that can be assessed by an online vet:

  • 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

Worsening symptoms that should be checked by an online vet

If you notice a change in a pre-existing condition or worsening symptoms in your pet, it’s a good idea to connect with an online vet. Proactive care can save you from bigger problems and more expensive treatment down the road. It’s also sometimes hard to tell if a symptom is changing and a vet can guide you on how to appropriately monitor your pet’s progress.

Painful or bloody pee or poo, panting or breathing issues and/or excessive fatigue are generally causes for concern, and should be brought to a vet’s attention immediately.

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

Behavioural advice from online vets

Online vets can also be consulted for changes or issues in your pet’s behaviour. This can be especially helpful for new pet parents or newly adopted pets. A vet can discuss solutions to unwanted marking, chewing, barking and other annoying behaviours. Some behaviours may even be linked to an underlying medical condition. For example, if your pet is struggling to pick up potty training, he/she may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). No one understands your pet better than a vet, so when in doubt, connect with a licensed professional.

Nutritional advice from online vets

There is a lot of conflicting information out there on pet nutrition. Add on a growing list of special diets (grain-free, freshly-cooked, raw food, etc.), exotic ingredients and nutritional supplements / toppers, and it’s no wonder many pet parents feel overwhelmed. In some cases, a special diet can benefit your pet, while other "fad diets" can actually be harmful. For example, grain-free diets have been linked to heart problems in dogs while raw diets can introduce foodborne illnesses, like salmonella, to your pet or even contaminate you or your family through infectious diseases known as zoonoses. An online vet can lay out a science-based approach to nutrition and empower you to make good choices for your pet.

COVID-19 advice from online vets

In the evolving global pandemic, your vet will have the latest information on coronavirus and its impact on pet health. This includes human-to-animal transmission of the virus, isolation measures and best practices, as well as access to pet products and services during lockdown. This is a difficult situation to navigate and online vets are available to support the needs of pet parents.

Medication requests from online vets

You don’t always need to book an in-person appointment to get your pet’s 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.

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

Pawzy Telehealth for Pets allows you to connect with a vet anywhere, anytime. You simply book an appointment online and a licensed veterinarian will be available for a virtual examination over video, audio or instant messaging. 


Want some free advice?

By submitting your email address, you agree to receive communications from Pawzy, and you acknowledge and agree to Pawzy's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can unsubscribe at any time by contacting us at