Service lets pet owners chat with veterinarians via live video

Televeterinarian service

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One Indianapolis veterinary clinic can diagnose the diseases of pets without trips to the doctor’s office.

It’s called TeleTails digital vet care. The operators of Indianapolis-based Pet Wellness Clinics use it. They said they believe it’s the future of veterinary medicine.

“A lot of clients have animals that are stressed or they simply just can’t make it to the clinic,” said Dr. Kerry Peterson, an associate veterinarian with Pet Wellness Clinics.

All seven locations of the Pet Wellness Clinics have used the digital service for about six months.

Clients begin by signing up for the service. Consultation wait times can range from five-60 minutes depending on the current consultation volume. Consultations are $27.50 and can last roughly 10 minutes. The Pet Wellness Clinics offer unlimited consultations. The veterinarian can prescribe pet medicine through the app, too, as long as a client’s pet’s has previously visited a Pet Wellness Clinics location.

“It gives owners the peace of mind to chat with a veterinarian in real time, and we can see things and we can direct them if we need to see them, we can have them come in and bring the animal in.” Peterson said.

The app works the same way as it does for human telemedicine. Open the app on a smartphone or tablet, request a consultation, then talk live to a veterinarian.

The app isn’t ideal for diagnosing a pet’s eye problems or other major issues. It’s better suited for things like a pet’s skin conditions.

“We can check the progress of the dog’s skin. See how it looks using our TeleTales app. We’ll either direct treatment or say, ‘OK, Fluffy looks great,'” Peterson said.

The veterinarians think the technology is barking up the right tree of the future.

“Everybody spends more time on their phone. People are busier these days. So, anytime we can make things more convenient, cut out times where travel or things like that are involved,” said Betsy Smart, the Pet Wellness Clinics manager, said. “And start using applications like smartphone apps that people are using in their day-to-day life, I think it is a benefit for everyone.”

Peterson said people and their pets seem to like the tech. “They love it. They get really excited. They like having their pet on their phone and seeing me in a virtual space.”