Telemedicine has been around for decades, but only since COVID-19 has it become an indispensable part of lives. For just about any medical concern that doesn’t require emergency care, you can log onto a secure portal and consult with your doctor virtually from the safety of your home. Given its newfound popularity, it’s no wonder that the trend has expanded to include other important members of the family: our pets.
If you’re a devoted pet parent, you understand how heart-wrenching it can be when your pup shows even the smallest sign of discomfort, much less a more serious troubling health issue. Yet too many pet parents end up at the pet ER for symptoms that are ultimately simple to treat, draining their bank accounts (and emotional energy, too).
Enter Vetster, a simple pet telemedicine platform offering access to licensed veterinarians 24 hours a day for a low flat fee. Effective for many pet health concerns, Vetster promises unparalleled convenience and affordability with high-quality remote care for pets.
Does Vetster follow through on that promise? Let’s find out.
What is Vetster and what kind of virtual veterinary care do they offer?
Vetster provides pet care from licensed veterinary professionals via video, chat, and phone appointments. It’s accessible at all hours of the day or night, ensuring that you have round-the-clock help with all kinds of medical pet concerns. With all-day and all-night care, Vetster can also help you avoid an expensive, unneeded visit to the emergency room for many pet concerns, saving you time, money, and a whole lot of stress!
There are companies that provide pet DNA testing, one thing that can help you narrow down the best treatment for your pet.
Where is Vetster’s service available?
Vetster is currently licensed to operate in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, as well as the following provinces and territories in Canada:
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Northwest Territories
- Prince Edward Island
Understanding pet care from Vetster: How does it work?
With Vetster, you can book appointments for both urgent and non-urgent pet care concerns. The platform offers 24/7 appointment availability, ensuring that you have fast help on the nights when Fido has a late-night chocolate craving.
Vetster offers two different types of vet appointments:
With this distinction, Vetster ensures that your pet receives the right type of care by steering you into one of two lanes which we’ll outline in more detail.
What is Vetster Medical?
During Vetster Medical appointments, pet parents talk to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine for a thorough medical appointment and potentially to prescribe medications. Conveniently, Vetster allows you to get prescription meds for your pet delivered to your home in two days or less. Compared to most people’s experience at the vet, that’s much more seamless.
Vetster Medical appointments are ideal for your pet’s:
- Skin concerns, such as a rash
- Gastrointestinal concerns, such as vomiting
- Limping and lameness
- Toxic ingestion
- Urinary issues
- Eye problems
Both urgent and preventative pet medical problems can be addressed in a Vetster Medical appointment. But, it’s worth noting that not all urgent concerns are appropriate for telemedicine. Sometimes, an emergency room visit is required for conditions like:
- A large bleeding wound
- A major injury, like getting hit by a car
- Issues that will require medical tests
Vetster won’t be able to help you in the most dire of situations, but neither will most telemedicine platforms.
Alternatively, what is Vetster Health?
If you’re looking for general health and wellness guidance for your pet, a Vetster Health appointment is the way to go. During this type of telemedicine visit, you’ll talk with a Veterinary Technician for insights about your pet’s lifestyle, including:
- Behavioral problems and training
- Weight management
- Diet and nutrition
- Quality of life
Vetster Health provides a simple way for pet parents to be proactive about their pet’s health. Rather than waiting until your pet has a medical issue, you can use Vetster Health appointments to ensure that your pet is living as healthily and happily as possible. The idea is to invest proactively in your pet’s health to prevent medical problems and reduce the chance that your furry friend will need a more expensive medical intervention later.
How does Vetster emphasize client relationships?
One of the cornerstones of Vetster’s service is the “VCPR”, or veterinarian-client-patient relationship. This is an established professional standard in the veterinary world, and it refers to the relationship created when a vet and a pet parent mutually decide on the pet’s treatment. It involves the vet taking on:
- Your pet’s medical care
- Taking and keeping medical records
- Providing advice and treatment recommendations
- Diagnosing and prescribing medications
Vetster takes the VCPR seriously by matching pet parents with vets in their area whenever possible. This allows the vet to undertake the responsibilities listed above, rather than just providing general pet health and wellness care.
How to book a virtual vet session with Vetster
Many people are wary of a lengthy, involved sign-up process for telemedicine platforms. But, we’re happy to say that signing up for Vetster is quick, easy, and free, with no required downloads. While there’s a charge for appointments, you won’t have to pay a dime for the account itself.
To get started as a pet parent on Vetster, you’ll enter your first name, last name, email address, and password. Then, after confirming your email address, you’ll fill out a few online forms with Vetster to complete your account. These forms include:
- Pet information, including:
- Primary color
- Spayed/neutered status
- Location: Your location is needed so that Vetster can match you with vets in your area, sort out prescription delivery, and establish the all-important vet-client relationship.
- Payment: Next, you’ll be prompted to fill in a payment method. While your card won’t be charged now, adding it during the sign-up process ensures that you’re ready to go whenever you book an appointment. Vetster will always ask for your permission before charging your card.
- Phone number: The last step in the Vetster sign-up process is adding your phone number. Vetster will call or send a text to your number to verify it.
After your phone number has been verified, you’ve completed onboarding and your Vetster account is ready to use. You can login to your dashboard to add a photo of your pet and fill in additional information, such as the “about me” section.
How much does vet care with Vetster cost?
The cost of Vetster appointments is fixed and transparent. A Vetster Medical appointment costs just $50 USD, while a Vetster Health appointment costs $30 USD. For Canadian users, that’s $55 CAD for a Vetster Medical appointment and $35 CAD for a Vetster Health appointment.
How does Vetster stack up against other vet telemedicine platforms?
Pet telemedicine is an emerging industry, and Vetster isn’t the only platform out there today. Anipanion, TeleTails, and Airvet are a few competitors that Vetster is currently up against.
Vetster vs airvet vs Anipanion vs TeleTails
|Cost||$50 for medical appointment, $30 for health appointment||Varies with vets’ rates, charged in 15-minute increments||Varies with vet’s rates||$30 for on-demand calls|
|Type of Care Available||Medical, general health and wellness||Surgery rechecks, drop-off visits, triage cases||Behavioral issues, chronic case management, dermatological conditions, gastrointestinal issues, intestinal parasites, hospice care, quality-of-life concerns, medication refills, mobility/lameness, nutrition, new pet education, progress exams, post-surgery, non-emergent triage||Ear infections, behavioral issues, vomiting, diarrhea, allergies, appetite, emergencies, nutrition, skin rash, dental, injuries, and general medical questions|
Vetster vs Anipanion
One of the key differences between Vetster and Anipanion is that Anipanion requires you to enter the name of a veterinary practice near you to get started. If you don’t know of a local practice that has partnered with Anipanion to offer pet telemedicine services, this is inconvenient. In contrast, Vetster will do the work of pairing you with a licensed (and, ideally, local) vet.
Vetster vs TeleTails
Similarly to Anipanion, TeleTails requires that you contact your local vet to get started. If your vet’s office doesn’t work with TeleTails, you’d need to request that it get added or find a practice that does to use this pet telemedicine platform. Again, Vetster will connect you directly to a vet, giving you greater flexibility in using pet telemedicine services.
Vetster vs Airvet
Vetster and Airvet are similar in many ways. For one, both platforms offer 24/7 availability with licensed veterinarians for urgent matters. But, while both are available 24/7, Vetster requires appointments and Airvet doesn’t. Additionally, these platforms differ in their care type configuration. With Vetster, you can choose between Vetster Medical for $50 and Vetster Health for $30. With Airvet, you’ll choose between an on-demand call for $30 or a call request with your primary vet. Call requests are priced based on the fee set by your veterinarian.
We see Airvet as Vetster’s main competition. Airvet may benefit those who want an app-based platform, (Vetster doesn’t require an app download), and don’t want to make an appointment for urgent issues. However, Vetster Health appointments are a superior option to Airvet for pet parents who need preventative vet care.
The Verdict: Does Vetster’s platform provide legit vet care for pets?
While it’s true that not all pet problems are appropriate for telemedicine, Vetster’s a stellar option if you want an easy-to-use and affordable pet telemedicine option. With 24/7 appointment availability, prescription delivery, low flat rates, and automatic matching with a licensed vet, you can use this platform to manage pet concerns that don’t require hands-on care.
Plus, with Vetster Health appointments, you can start taking a proactive approach to your pet’s wellness by getting a vet technician’s insights on nutrition, exercise, training, and more.
Have you given pet telemedicine a shot? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!