How Holistic Pet Parents Can Use Veterinary Telemedicine

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by Michel Selmer, DVM, CVA, CVH, CVFT

Telemedicine for human patients is here to stay and is predicted to show a 700 percent increase betweendog cat 2013 and 2018, according to a recent Ernst & Young report. Veterinary medicine, however, is a bit slower to embrace telemedicine, and for good reason: Veterinary patients can’t talk, making a hands-on physical exam that much more important.

This doesn’t mean there’s not a place for phone or email consults with a holistic veterinarian, either in your area or with a veterinarian across the country. Dr. Michel Selmer had this to say about telemedicine for animals: “Although I run an integrative veterinary clinic in Huntington Station, I began offering phone consultations to pet parents from all over the country who didn’t have access to a holistic veterinarian in their local area. During these phone or email ‘appointments,’ I shift from hands-on veterinarian to pet health consultant.”

In most cases, pet parents requesting telephone appointments want direction on how to best navigate a tricky, persistent or particularly concerning health issue—a second opinion. Some have a local veterinarian that they love and trust, but they—being committed to modalities like acupuncture and herbal therapy for their own health—want to know what alternative or holistic treatment options are available for their pet.

Telemedicine works! I live in an area of Florida where we have no Holistic Veterinarians, so a friend on Long Island recommended Dr. Selmer. In just one 10-minute phone call, he was able to give me holistic treatment options for my German Shepherd’s granulomas; and it’s working beautifully!

~Suzzanne in Florida

It’s important to note that while technology—being able to read your pet’s X-rays online and having access to your local veterinarian’s records on your pet via email—is certainly convenient, it will never replace hands-on physical exams from your local veterinarian. These exams are critical to getting a more accurate assessment of your pet’s overall health, and—despite the growing convenience and reach of the internet—there is no digital way to replace them. But for any of the following situations, a phone or email consultation may be an ideal way to go:

  • You need guidance making an important health decision for your pet;
  • Your pet is not responding to conventional veterinary care and you want to discuss alternative treatment options for a particular diagnosis or symptom;
  • You need a diet workup to formulate a food-based treatment plan for your pet;
  •  You need a personalized, focused discussion of your pet’s medical prognosis without having to stress your pet with car transport; or
  • You want a second opinion on your pet’s diagnosis or treatment plan.

In these cases, a growing number of veterinarians offering telemedicine options are available and eager to help.

Dr. Michel Selmer is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and is currently pursuing a master’s degree to become a master practitioner of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. His practice, Advanced Animal Care Center, is located at 260 Evergreen Ave., South Huntington. For more information, to schedule a phone consultation or to make an appointment, call 631-FOR-PETS (367-7387) or visit AdvancedCareForPets.com

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