Dog owner at virtual vet appointment

Key takeaway

There are many conditions that don’t warrant a physical trip to a vet, such as fleas, anxiety, and non-emergency allergic reactions. So, how can you help your pet find some much-needed relief? Enter: telemedicine. With the help of online vets who write prescriptions, you can ensure your pet is happy and healthy at an affordable price and from the comfort of your home.

In this day in age, everything is about convenience—especially when it comes to the health and safety of our pets. That’s where online veterinary care enters the picture. Pet telemedicine allows pet parents to connect with veterinarians to get the medical answers they need quickly and without ever leaving the comfort of their own home. Plus, many of these services can also prescribe medication and deliver it to your home, so you can move on with your busy day.

That said, not all remote vets can diagnose or give your pet the treatment they deserve. Keep reading to discover where to find online vets who write prescriptions and learn how to get a vet prescription online. We’ll also highlight the steps you can take to prepare for your online vet appointment in this guide.


Can Online Veterinarians Prescribe Medication?

While online veterinarians are available virtually in every state for healthcare guidance and advice for general questions, triage assistance, first aid help, and emergencies, not all of them can diagnose medical conditions or prescribe medication for your pet.

This is because some states require a Veterinarian-Client-Patient relationship (VCPR) to be established in person before diagnosing illnesses and writing a prescription. But what exactly is VCPR? 

Graphic explaining VCPR

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), VCPR is present when the following conditions are met1:

  • The veterinarian takes full responsibility for making decisions that are in the best interest of the pet, and the client has agreed to follow their instructions.
  • The veterinarian has the necessary knowledge to make a preliminary diagnosis.
  • The veterinarian is available for a follow-up or has developed a treatment plan.
  • The veterinarian will supervise the pet’s treatment and outcome.
  • The veterinarian will keep a proper and legal record of the patient.

At Dutch, our affiliated vets can establish a VCPR like a traditional, in-person vet, allowing you to confidently take care of your pet at home and get a vet prescription online.

Which States Allow Vets To Provide Care Virtually?

In the last year, virtual pet healthcare has grown in popularity and has proved to be a viable option for many pet parents and their furry friends around the nation. However, only certain states allow you to establish a valid VCPR virtually. Individuals living in the following states can take advantage of online veterinarians:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

As telemedicine for pets becomes more widespread, many states are updating their legislation surrounding online pet care. In fact, the state of California—which has some of the most restrictive telemedicine laws in the country—waived pet telemedicine restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.2

Cat owner meeting with online veterinarian

What Kind Of Care Can Online Vets Provide?

Many online vets can provide the same amount of support and care you expect from local and in-person veterinarians. They can help you gain peace of mind with the following:

  • Health assessments: By describing your pet’s condition, showing photo or video evidence, and answering a comprehensive health care questionnaire, a remote vet may be able to adequately provide a quick diagnosis.
  • Quick answers: As a pet parent, you may find yourself constantly researching your pet’s symptoms on the internet, wondering if you’ll have to take them to the vet soon. Online vets can answer your most pressing questions regarding non-emergency allergic reactions, digestive issues, and other health concerns to ease your worries.
  • Follow-up support: If your pet has undergone a surgical procedure, following up with their vet is essential to the healing process. However, it’s not always ideal to move them around during this sensitive time. Online visits allow your pet to rest and recover at home while maintaining communication with your vet.
  • Prescription administration: Certain online vets can write prescriptions for your pet after establishing a valid VCPR and assessing if one would be beneficial for your pet. This includes flea preventatives, serotonin-boosting antidepressants, and more.

Ultimately, the kind of care online vets can provide will depend on the state laws in which you’re looking to receive care. Some vets, for example, are limited and can only offer guidance or tips for when your pet is experiencing an illness. For example, if your dog ate something they weren’t supposed to, remote vets can provide advice about your pet’s dog’s diarrhea. Other veterinarians can diagnose your pet and prescribe adequate medication to help them feel better.

Keep in mind that telemedicine shouldn’t be used for medical emergencies. In these instances, it’s best to seek assistance from a healthcare professional right away.

How To Prepare For A Visit With A Virtual Vet

Whether you’re a proud dog or cat owner, preparing for their virtual vet appointment is essential to ensuring your vet can create a suitable treatment plan for their specific condition. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare for your pet’s remote appointment:

  • Know your pet’s current symptoms: From diarrhea to itchy skin, writing down the symptoms that are affecting your pet will help speed up the visit with your virtual vet. Plus, it can also help narrow down the possible conditions.
  • Document with photos and videos: Having close-up photos or videos of your pet actively presenting their symptoms can help your vet get a closer look at your dog or cat’s symptoms.
  • Provide a timeline: A timeline of your pet’s symptoms can help the vet evaluate whether this is an ongoing health concern or a new issue brought on by a change in diet or environment.
  • Have medical history ready: Your pet’s medical history, from past surgeries to illnesses, will provide your vet with a complete overview of their health.
  • Provide a list of medication and allergies: If your pet is currently taking medicine or supplement or has a known allergy, make sure to disclose that to your vet.

Additionally, it may also be a good idea to have a partner, friend, or relative join you to assist with your pet’s appointment. They can help position your pet as you zoom in to a certain area on their body, or they can hold the camera for you.

How Is Medication Prescribed With Dutch?

At Dutch, our prescription process is convenient, simple, and affordable, so you can take care of your pet without sacrificing your precious time. The first step is connecting you with a Dutch-affiliated vet. From there, you can expect the following:

  • Prior to your telemedicine appointment, you may be required to upload a few pictures of your pet and their condition.
  • During the initial video call, you’ll be asked a few questions to gain deeper insight into your pet’s health and pinpoint the root of their problem. This is where having a list of their symptoms and behavior will come in handy.
  • Within one to two days business days, your vet will be able to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan targeting your pet’s specific issues.

In some cases, telemedicine may not be appropriate for your pet, and vets may recommend you take them to a local veterinarian for in-person support.

Does Dutch Prescribe Medication?

Our platform is designed to connect you with reliable, independent online vets that can prescribe medicine. If your vet prescribes your pet medication, we’ll happily facilitate its transfer with the help of our partner pharmacy. This way, you can say goodbye to picking up your prescriptions at the vet and say hello to seamless deliveries right to your doorstep.

Can I Use Any Pharmacy To Fill My Prescription?

Dutch makes it easy to get your pet’s prescriptions filled at whichever pharmacy you want, allowing you to continue using the services that are most familiar and convenient to you. However, you’ll gain access to discounted medication by using our partner pharmacies.

If you’re interested in filling your pet’s prescriptions via a non-affiliated pharmacy, make sure to forward your preferred pharmacy’s details to care@dutchpet.com.

Who Can Answer Questions About My Pet’s Medication?

Only your vet can answer questions regarding your pet’s current medication and their health. Fortunately, you’ll have unlimited follow-ups with Dutch-affiliated vets via your membership messaging portal.

Dog owner administering prescribed medication to their pet

What Happens If My Pet Does Not Respond To Medication?

Pets come in all shapes, sizes, and breeds, so treatment will vary from animal to animal, and finding the best treatment plan for your unique pet will take a bit of trial and error. For this reason, follow-up consultations are included in your Dutch membership, so you can ensure your pet receives the care they need. That said, you can rest easy knowing recommendations are based on science and chosen by veterinary experts.

For the best results, make sure you’re closely following the treatment plan and administering medication correctly. If your pet is not showing signs of improvement after modifications to the treatment plan, your Dutch-affiliated veterinarian may refer you to your nearest vet.

How Long Will It Take To See Results From Medication?

Typically, pets begin to show signs of improvement in as little as 24 hours and up to four to six weeks. However, keep in mind that depending on the severity of your pet’s condition, genetic makeup, and unique needs, results may take longer.

Which States Is Dutch Available?

We’re proud to connect you and your pet with a Dutch-affiliated veterinarian in the following states:

  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia

We plan to continue expanding our services to additional states because pet parents should have access to affordable and reliable pet care regardless of where they’re from. However, we can’t extend our services to states that require in-person visits to treat pets.

Wrapping Up

So, where can you find an online vet who writes prescriptions? Well, look no further than Dutch. We’re committed to connecting pet parents with affordable, specialized treatments that can help your furry friend live a more comfortable and fulfilling life—all without waiting weeks to see a veterinarian.

If you’re interested in finding an online vet to assist with your pet’s health, take our health assessment today and learn if Dutch is right for you.

Dr. Evans is the Clinical Director of Dutch and the owner of Coastal Animal Hospital.

References

  1. “Telehealth and the VCPR.” American Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/practice-management/telehealth-telemedicine-veterinary-practice/telehealth-and-vcpr

  2. DCA Waiver DCA-21-193 Order Further Extending DCA-21, 20 ... California Department of Consumer Affairs, https://www.dca.ca.gov/licensees/dca_21_193.pdf