As we find ourselves adjusting to a new normal, social distancing can make it harder to get the veterinary care you need for your pet. With Online Vets, a service provided by My Family Vets, you can continue to get professional help and advice for your pet to keep them happy and healthy.
There will be times when you may have concerns about your pet’s health and wellbeing or need a prompt assessment. But not all questions you have about your pet mean you should visit the vet. Online Vets provides full consultations with a qualified vet from the comfort of your home. Read on to find out more about booking a consultation with Online Vets and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to use this service.
How does Online Vets work?
A video call with Online Vets is just like having a Facetime, Zoom or Skype call with your friends and family. First, you need to go to myfamilyvets.co.uk/online-vets. From there you can book an appointment with a vet. You will then receive a booking confirmation email and a link which will take you to your video consultation when it’s your scheduled date and time. When it’s time for your appointment you will be able to see and hear the vet and talk through your concerns or questions about your pet. Here you can watch a video about booking a consultation with Online Vets.
How do I book a consultation?
You should then be taken to the Online Vets website. Click on the ‘View availability’ button.
This will take you to the ‘Book an appointment’ page. Click on the date button, for example:
This will bring up a calendar and you just need to click on your preferred date.
Next, you will need to select your preferred time of day. If you are available all day, click on ‘All day’ or choose am or pm if you prefer:
You will then be shown a list of time slots to choose from on your preferred date. When you have decided which option is right for you, click on the ‘Book now’ button.
You will then be taken to the ‘Book an appointment’ page which will explain what you need to have ready for the consultation.
Make sure you read this information carefully and the advice below about what to do if you need emergency veterinary care.
Click in the box to confirm you’ve read and understood that you must attend a vet practice in an emergency. Then click on the ‘Get started’ button.
The next section is where you will need to fill out your contact details and information about your pet. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on ‘Continue’.
Next is the payment information page. Complete all the fields, making sure you scroll down to the bottom. Check the booking details are correct and click on ‘Confirm & pay’.
When should I use Online Vets?
Not all pet-related questions require a visit to the vets. You may have a query regarding your pet’s health, nutrition or behaviour. Online Vets can provide online consultations for cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs. Their vets help you with any non-urgent queries, provide preventative care advice or advice on ongoing and chronic conditions.
Common topics people use the service for include:
● Neutering or spaying questions
● Queries about diet
● Vaccination information
● Concern about pet’s excessive scratching or grooming
● Pet’s weight gain
● Behaviour issues
If your pet’s condition requires urgent medical attention, you should contact your registered veterinary practise as soon as possible to arrange a consultation in person.
What equipment do I need to book an appointment with Online Vets?
You don’t need any high-tech equipment. You just need to have a smartphone, tablet or laptop. You will also need a reliable internet connection, webcam and microphone so the vet can see and hear you and your pet. Today’s laptops and phones now have inbuilt cameras to making this process much easier. Being able to look at your pet and see their demeanour, behaviour and physical characteristics is helpful to the vet.
If you don’t have a reliable internet connection or access to a webcam you can use the chat service which works similarly to WhatsApp.
Do I have to create an account to use Online Vets?
No. You won’t have to create an account, but you will need to submit your details each time you require an Online Vets consultation.
Can I just wait for a vet to become available or should I book an appointment?
As slots can get snapped up quickly, you will need to book an appointment to secure a consultation. Sometimes you may find that there is an appointment available within just one or two hours and you won’t have long to wait.
How much does an Online Vets consultation cost?
A 15-minute video consultation with a vet costs £24. You will need to provide your payment details at the time you book your appointment. If the consultation lasts longer than this you may be charged for the extra time.
What details do I need to provide when booking an appointment?
When you book your consultation you will be asked to provide the following details:
● Your name
● Email address
● Phone number
● Your pet’s name
● What type of animal they are
● Your pet’s age and gender
● Whether they’ve been spayed or neutered
You will also be asked to give a reason for the appointment. Try to give as much relevant information as possible.
Who will I be talking to?
Your consultation will be with one of Online Vets’ experienced clinicians who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. They all practice across the UK and are RCVS accredited. You can see their profiles at the bottom of the Online Vets homepage.
How long does a consultation last?
Video consultations last for 15 minutes. If the vet cannot provide appropriate advice during that time, the appointment can be extended as required. If the consultation time stretches out too long, the vet may ask you to pay an additional consultation fee.
Can emergencies be treated via Online Vets?
No. Online Vets is only for non-emergency queries and cannot be used to treat emergencies. You should not use Online Vets if your pet has:
● Breathing difficulties
● Open wound injuries
● Been hit by a car
● Ingested a harmful or toxic substance
● Swallowed an object
● Had a seizure or fit
● Struggling to give birth
● Having diarrhoea
● Eye problems
If your pet is showing symptoms of any of these conditions or you believe their condition is serious, contact your local veterinary surgery as soon as possible.
Can Online Vets prescribe medicine for my pet?
The Online Vets team are unable to diagnose and prescribe from a video appointment. However, they can provide useful advice regarding non-urgent issues and can answer your questions relating to your pet’s health and wellbeing. If your pet does require a prescribed medicine, you can visit your local vet surgery and they will take the price of your online consultation off your bill.
What happens if I’m referred to a vet practice?
If the vet decides to refer you to a veterinary practice, Online Vets will lower your online consultation fee to £8.
What happens if I need to see a vet after my appointment?
During your online consultation, it may be recommended that you take your pet to see a vet in practice. If this happens, then Online Vets will give you a special code so you can receive a £16 discount on your consultation at any of the 750 approved UK practices. The vet will let you know which is your closest participating vet practice during your Online Vets consultation. If you decide to take your pet to a practice that’s not a participating vet practice, you won’t be able to claim the £16 discount.
How do I cancel an appointment?
You can cancel your Online Vets consultation appointment up to 8 hours before the scheduled time. You can do this on the Online Vets appointment diary. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more help.
How do I get a refund?
You may be entitled to a refund if:
- There is a technical issue caused by Online Vets that means you can’t complete a consultation (this doesn’t include a technical failure on your side).
- The vet cannot provide you with the assistance you require during your online consultation or they recommend your pet’s issue is best dealt with in some other way.
If you believe you are eligible for a refund, contact Online Vets as soon as possible by emailing email@example.com.
What information will the vet need to know about my pet?
To help the vet assess your pet, there are a few things that they will need to know:
● Does your pet have any existing medical conditions?
● How long have you been worried about your pet’s symptoms?
● When was your pet last see by a vet?
● What food does your pet have and how much of it does your pet eat a day?
I’m not confident with using the video camera on my phone or laptop. What can I do?
If you can, try to send a photo of your pet that shows the problem. But don’t worry if you can’t, the vet will still be able to discuss your pet’s issue with you.
Can I talk to the vet about my pet’s long term health problems?
The vet will be happy to discuss your pet’s health with you. However, they won’t be able to discuss any specific treatment plans that your vet may have already put in place.
I’m not sure if I need to see a vet about my pet?
That’s fine. It will cost the price of an online consultation (£24), you tell the vet about your pet and your concerns and they will be able to talk you through whether your pet may need treatment.
I think my pet might be dying or should be put to sleep. Can I discuss with an online vet?
You can explain the situation during your online consultation and the vet will be able to listen and talk you through what’s happening and what you can do next for your pet.
I’m worried about my pet’s behaviour – can Online Vets help?
Using their extensive experience and knowledge of pets, the vet will be able to help you understand your pet’s behaviour so you can tell the difference between what is normal, what is unusual, new or unwanted.
Do Online Vets provide consultations regarding small pets such as birds and fish?
Yes, they can discuss any issues or concerns you may have about your small pet.
I usually take my pet to my local vet. Can I still consult with Online Vets?
Yes, even if you are already registered with a vet Online Vets can discuss any concerns you have about your pet.
How should I prepare for a consultation?
To make sure your consultation runs smoothly, it would be helpful if you:
- Email any supporting photographic evidence or video clips you have before the start of the consultation. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In the subject line of the email, please include: FAO (name of the vet you are booked with) and your pet’s name and surname.
- Use the correct browser such as Google Chrome.
- Make sure you have your pet with you and they can be seen by the vet.
- Be ready 2 to 4 minutes before your allocated appointment time and wait for your vet to join the consultation.
What happens if I can’t see the vet on my screen?
If you can’t see the vet or the consultation does not load, please check to see if you have received a text message or email from the vet with instructions on how to link again. Please follow your vet’s advice on how to rejoin the consultation. If it is past the start time of your consultation and you still cannot see the vet on your screen and not received an email or text, please take a screenshot of your screen if possible and email the image to email@example.com as soon as possible stating what device you are using. For example, iPhone or Acer laptop.
Please do not change the device you are using without letting your vet know as they will have to send you a new link.
What happens if the call cuts out or I lose internet connection?
If there is any kind of technical glitch that ends the consultation, a vet will phone you (display as caller withheld) at the time of your scheduled appointment and provide you with medical advice for your pet over the phone. If you are in a consultation and the image on the screen freezes or there is a lag, please check to see for any instructions in the chatbox or wait a few moments for the vet to refresh their link.
Will I have to rebook my appointment if there’s a technical problem with the online consultation?
Check to see whether you have been sent an email or text message from the vet about what to do next. If you think that your appointment may be delayed then contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
While it may be a different way of consulting with a vet that you are not used to, many pet owners have already completed successful online vet consultations that have helped to put their minds at ease. However, if you have serious concerns about the health of your pet or they become suddenly unwell, call your local vet practice as soon as possible and they will be able to assess the situation and advise you on what to do next.
Some links in this article will redirect you to My Family Vets website.
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