Swedish startup company FirstVet recently secured an additional €18.5 million (about $19,970,000 USD) Series B funding for global expansion. It currently operates in Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. With the extra funding, it aims to tap into new markets such as France, Germany, and the U.S. An important and practical tool in pet care, FirstVet offers an on-demand video consultation service that connects pet owners with qualified veterinarians, who can readily provide a referral should pets need to go to a clinic. This innovation is likely to transform the future of pet care in places where veterinary telemedicine is a practical solution to in-office visits.
Online Telemed Coordinates Pet Care
David Prien, CEO and co-founder of FirstVet, says that they are “the first truly neutral stakeholder in the world to coordinate pet care. In what is a highly privatized industry, our reliable service provides value to the entire sector, and we are growing at an incredible rate.” The online video consultation works by downloading an app on your phone or computer. If you need to consult a vet online, you simply fill in your preferred slot along with the details of your pet and their issues as well as photos.
The vet will initiate the video call and if necessary, refer you to a local clinic if your furry friend needs additional care. All medical records are kept for future meetings and you will also be given a copy of the transcripts and med journals while consulting the online vet. With veterinary telemed, access to a doctor is easy if your pet is not feeling well or you are simply worried about their health eliminating unnecessary trips to a clinic if you are living far away. Fees are roughly 60-70% cheaper than physical visits to a clinic making it accessible to a wider group of owners.
Digital Veterinary Care Improves Pet Care
In the U.S., veterinary telehealth can be conducted by vets provided there is an existing Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship or VCPR. Telemedicine providers offer a platform for pet owners to connect with an existing vet. Some of the services offered by platforms such as TeleTails include video appointments and archived messages. Consults are done via video or also messaging apps that allow photos to be uploaded.
Another provider of virtual telehealth is Fuzzy Pet Health, offering a subscription service called Fuzzy Pet Health Connect that lets you chat with a veterinarian using your smartphone. The on-demand vet Q&A works using a mobile app where you can send messages, photos and videos, and receive real-time assistance from a veterinarian. For example, if you have an aquarium at home, you might need help in taking care of your fish or making sure your water meets quality standards. Instead of going to a clinic, your vet can recommend ways to maintain the cleanliness of your fish tank and promote the better health of your fish. Online consults can save you from visiting a vet for non-life-threatening concerns, enhancing the overall level of care for your pets.
Virtual animal care is a rapidly evolving field giving pet owners quick access to vet services. It also enables veterinarians to provide immediate assistance and improve patient care to pets such as basic triage services, postoperative follow-up, or long-term care monitoring.