BACKGROUND: There has been increasing provision of veterinary telemedicine consultations, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, little evidence currently exists examining these remote consultations. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to explore veterinary and cat owner experiences of telemedicine consultations during the pandemic.
METHODS: Two questionnaires, one aimed at veterinary professionals and one at cat owners, were launched in September 2020. Questions explored the type of consultation conducted remotely, the perceived advantages and disadvantages of telemedicine, and the role of telemedicine in the future of veterinary practice.
RESULTS: Responses were received from 242 veterinary professionals and 98 owners with experience of telemedicine. Monitoring and advice consultations were felt to be most suited to telemedicine. Reduced stress for owners/cats was seen as an advantage of telemedicine, while lack of clinical examination and risk of misdiagnosis were viewed as disadvantages. Most respondents (85.7% [n = 84/98] of owners; 67.4% [n = 163/242] of veterinary professionals) felt practices should continue to offer telemedicine consultations.
CONCLUSION: With increasing pet ownership and practice workload, telemedicine may play a crucial role in the future of veterinary practice. Future work should focus on a strategic approach to feline telemedicine, integrating it alongside face-to-face visits and developing technologies to maximise its advantages.
|Early online date||3 Jun 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2022|
- feline medicine
- primary care
- remote consultations
- small animal consultations