What we looked for in an online vet
You want to be able to talk to someone face to face ideally. This way, you know that the person answering is fully qualified, and can explain things in clarity.
There are some online vet services out there where you simply type in your question. The big issue with this is that the person answering may not be qualified, and may also not know much about your particular animal. You never know – with the technology these days, they may not even be a real person! So, we looked for video vets where everyone is qualified.
We looked for good prices, and the availability of the vets too. Many above have almost immediate appointments and operate out of work hours too if you are ringing for simple advice. This is great if you don’t want to travel to an emergency vet.
As with anything, we looked for the reviews of people who have used the service. They should be on a platform such as Trustpilot, where reviews are verified.
When to use an online vet
It is important to mention that you should only use this online option if the situation is NON-URGENT.
In an emergency, such as if you think your pet is seriously ill or in a life-threatening condition, always go to the vet practice immediately.
Every platform is different, but online vets only generally help with:
- Non-urgent questions (nothing life-threatening)
- Preventative care advice (i.e what your dog can take to prevent fleas)
- Ongoing and chronic conditions (how to manage osteoarthritis etc)
- Behaviour issues
- Treatment plans directly to your door (anything which doesn’t need a physical examination)
As mentioned, you will usually have to pay for an online veterinary consultation. This is something you would have to do with a regular appointment anyway.
Prices for single appointments are generally between £20 and £30, and you often get a 15- or 20-minute booking. So, it is like a regular vet appointment but without the hassle of taking them physically. Fingers crossed, it will be nothing serious, so you have saved yourself the cost to get there and back!
If you do need to be referred to a registered practice with who they are affiliated, many will reduce the cost of the appointment or refund you completely.
Some services may also be provided through a pet insurance policy for free, or you could claim the cost back through some. There are a few platforms which offer a monthly payment plan, which spreads the cost out a little bit and would be good if you have multiple pets or one with several health issues.
To ensure that your prospective vet really is genuine, look out for:
- If they are RCVS registered
- Their name – a quick Google should bring up some information about them
A legitimate online veterinary company should have a good profile section on their website which shows you who you could possibly talk to, along with their qualifications.