Veterinary Telehealth: A Case Study in Future Preparedness

Oct 20, 2023





As our industry debates what to do about the current shortage of veterinary professionals, a recent survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) revealed 69% of respondents reported an interest in using veterinary telehealth, and 66% said they would see a veterinarian more often today if veterinary telehealth was available.

While expanding access to telemedicine would bridge the gaps in care caused by veterinary shortages, the issue is dwindling availability. Veterinary telehealth certainly took off during the pandemic, but telehealth use by practices has since dropped off—signaling a step backward against two things:

  • Current veterinary shortages and pet owner needs
  • The larger picture of technology and future preparedness

The world has become increasingly digital, and pet owners unsurprisingly now want and expect the same convenience from veterinary practices. Yet communicating with veterinary providers significantly lags behind technological access in our everyday lives.

This lag particularly factors into the larger picture of veterinary market competitiveness. According to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), veterinary practices are increasingly competing with veterinary consolidators, which “implement technological advances to enhance patient care and improve the client experience.” To remain competitive, independent practices must invest in technology and improve efficiencies to keep pace.

Such recommendations are a call of future preparedness to assess and implement technology solutions now. The reason: The worst time to assess what technology best fits your practice is when you’re scrambling to catch up, as was the case when COVID hit.

If your practice had a frustrating experience adopting a telehealth solution during COVID, you understand why practices should assess and adopt technology now. Rather than finding yourself in an extremely stressful situation in the future, practices can make relaxed, informed decisions about technology now to not only hedge against the future but serve staff efficiency and clients today. For example, a few technology solutions beyond telehealth that practices may want to consider include:

  • Websites with industry-approved pet health content, educational resources, and self-serve tools for pet owners like appointment request forms and prescription refills, to save veterinary teams time, increase efficiency, and improve compliance.
  • Client communication software that syncs with your practice management system, making it easier for your team to book appointments and reach the right pet owners with the right information with as little administrative effort as possible.
  • Pet health education resources to save time and improve compliance by educating clients on the why behind following through with veterinary recommendations.

In short: Many veterinary professionals support the continued use of veterinary telehealth as a solution to pet owner needs and practice efficiency amidst veterinary shortages. However, technology has much broader applications for the future of practices. That future involves increased competition, client expectations, and whatever veterinary shortages may linger.

Hedging against tomorrow involves the decisions you make today, but you don’t have to make those decisions alone. CVMA’s affinity partner LifeLearn Animal Health helps practices with industry-leading solutions to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. To learn more and claim your exclusive CVMA member discounts, visit