Offering Online Vet Visits in Canton, GA with Our Telemedicine App
Telemedicine is a new, convenient and exciting mode of veterinary medicine that we look forward to providing our clients here in Canton, GA. At Riverstone Animal Hospital, one of our biggest concerns is ensuring that you and your pet have 24/7 access to a veterinarian for your after-hours needs when our veterinarians are unavailable. With the Airvet app, our goal is to help pet parents avoid costly, stressful emergency vet visits whenever possible. Online vet visits allow you to reach out and connect with a licensed veterinarian anytime, anywhere, for a consultation that can provide much-needed answers.
How to Download and Use the Airvet App
Our instructional sheet will tell you everything you need to know about how to use Airvet.
Online Vet Visit FAQ
Online vet visits have quickly become an essential resource for pets and their families thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some things you need to be aware of so you can have a clear idea of what to expect from remote vet care.
Telehealth, Telemedicine and How it Works
Telehealth is the general term for sharing and providing medical information and advice via electronic means, such as video chat. Telemedicine is more specific and involves actually making a diagnosis and giving medical advice and treatment information, as well as prescribing medication for a problem via electronic means. In our animal hospital, this is primarily done via our new app, Airvet, which allows you to request a video consult and chat with your veterinarian remotely.
The Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship
Just as with humans, a legally valid relationship between doctor and patient must exist for the veterinarian to be able to give medical advice, make a diagnosis, and prescribe medication remotely. For veterinary medicine here in Canton, GA, this means that the veterinarian must have done a complete physical exam on your pet within the last year and have a good picture of your pet’s general health. If your pet has not had a comprehensive physical exam in the last year, then the veterinarian will only be able to give you general advice and information to help you determine the urgency of the problem; they will NOT be able to diagnose or give medical advice or prescriptions over the phone.
Things My Pet Can be Seen for via Telemedicine
Unfortunately, due to the fact that your pet can’t talk, we are more limited than human doctors as to what we can treat remotely. For example, you might think your cat is constipated because he keeps trying to go to the bathroom and is not producing any stool. This seems to be an easy issue to discuss remotely and have your vet prescribe stool softener to spare your nervous kitty from a trip to the vet. However, what you may not know is that your cat is actually trying to urinate and cannot do so because of a blocked bladder, which is life-threatening and considered an immediate emergency. The vet would be able to tell this quickly during a hands-on physical exam, but they would not be able to know that just by having a phone conversation.
Here are some examples of situations that can be resolved via online vet visits, providing your pet has been examined within the last year:
- Post-surgical checks and incision checks
- Preventative care consults and puppy consults (behavior, potty training, nutrition, etc.)
- Sudden onset of mild to moderate limping
- Most skin rashes, hot spots, small cuts, and itching
- Acute diarrhea if the pet is still eating and not vomiting
- Some urinary issues--depends on individual case
- End-of-life discussions
- Certain rechecks and follow-up visits
- Acute cough if no history of heart disease, and normal energy and eating
- Behavior consults (may need to be referred to behaviorist)
- Mild respiratory symptoms
Problems That Cannot be Handled via Online Vet Visits
First, please understand that the reason certain issues cannot be addressed remotely is not due to a lack of caring or understanding on our part, but due to the fact that in order for us to properly diagnose and treat certain medical conditions, a hands-on physical exam is essential. Unlike people, pets cannot talk and give specific information that would help the veterinarian make a correct diagnosis. In addition, dogs and cats instinctively hide many outwardly visible symptoms, which makes a thorough exam even more necessary in many situations.
Here are some general examples of things that cannot be treated remotely:
- Eye concerns
- Marked lethargy or depression
- Male cats and dogs with urinary symptoms
- Ear infections
- Marked vomiting
- Non-weight bearing lameness
After Hours Telemedicine Services
The Airvet platform connects you with one of our Airvet network veterinarians for an “online vet visit.” They can provide triage services and offer answers to help you decide on the best course of action for your pet’s care. Keep in mind that this veterinarian will not have prior knowledge of your pet, so they will not be able to diagnose or treat your pet over the phone. However, they will be able to discuss your pet’s symptoms and help you determine whether the issue is urgent enough to warrant a visit to the emergency vet or whether it can wait until the following morning. After your consultation with the Airvet veterinarian, we will receive a report from them the next morning and will be able to follow up with you here at Riverstone Animal Hospital.
If you're uncertain about your pet’s health, Airvet can give you peace of mind; and we’ll have peace of mind knowing you and your pet are in capable hands.
The Fee for Telemedicine
Currently, there is a flat fee for a telemedicine consult with your veterinarian. As you request a consult via the AirVet app, you will be notified of the fee for the visit and have the option to proceed or decline. This fee includes the consult and any needed follow-up chats with your vet for up to 72 hours. You will also have the option of attaching photos and videos to your consult as well.
For additional information about AirVet, go here to browse their FAQ.