Does your pet hate going to the vet, does it make them anxious and nervous? Is your pet too big to fit in your car? Do you work crazy hours and can never make an appointment time? Well, Vetster has launched virtual petcare, where you can sign up and meet virtually from the comfort of your own home with veterinaries and technicians, for as low as $50 and with flexible appointment times.
After the year we had with the pandemic, meeting virtually has become a routine thing, so why not do the same for your pets, it is easily accessible, flexible and makes obtaining an appointment a lot easier. CEO and Founder Mark Bordo and Dr Sarah Machell, created Vetster because of the rise in demand for a veterinary appointment, after a 50% increase in pets purchased over the last year. As pet care is now a $100B industry, Vetster and its founders have made it cost-effective and convenient for everyone including new pet owners.
How does Vester bring ease to clients and their pets, especially after a global pandemic when going to the vet or dealing with a pet emergency became more difficult?
Since the pandemic started, the pet industry in North America has grown to nearly $100-billion in size. As many people shifted to work-from-home and spent more time indoors, pet ownership became an attractive prospect for many Canadians. This change saw a rise in pet ownership and adoption, shelters and pet stores empty of available animals, and as a result, veterinarians have seen a rise of 50% in new clients.
The pressure on veterinarians and clinics to support the increasing need, combined with the need to follow health guidelines to protect both staff and pet owners from COVID19, have accelerated the need for Vetster to provide on-demand, online veterinary care.
Vetster offers Canadians in every province, access to verified, trusted and top-rated, licensed veterinarians 24/7. We all know pets don’t plan ailments within clinic hours! Vetster makes it easy to find, book and speak to a veterinarian when and where convenient. Vetster veterinarians can help with a wide range of possible ailments like skin infections, GI disturbances, limping, weight gain/loss, and can help a pet owner determine if a trip to urgent care is needed. In many provinces, veterinary regulations even permit veterinarians to provide prescriptions when they deem appropriate. Vetster gives pet parents peace of mind and eliminates the stress of travelling with a pet if not needed, or feasible.
In what ways do virtually meeting clients and their pets make it easier, and/or more difficult, what can be avoided during a virtual meet?
Immediacy, availability and the comfort to connect from home are the biggest advantages for pet owners. They can book an appointment in the evening, there’s no need to crate and travel with their pet, and they don’t need to wait for an appointment. Vetster’s platform provides video, audio and chats feature making it easy to connect with our veterinarians.
Our veterinarians are great communicators who are able to assess the needs of the animal with the help of their pet parent. Much like would happen in-clinic where a veterinarian obtains much of their information from the owners to understand the pet’s change in health.
At the same time, there are some ailments that can’t be treated online and Vetster veterinarians are the first to identify these cases and recommend an in-clinic treatment. Vetster is not designed to replace in-clinic or urgent care treatments, we augment pet care and help to provide another avenue for care.
With the pet industry’s growth over the last year, how has virtual veterinary become beneficial to you as doctors?
For veterinarians, there is a wonderful opportunity to augment in-clinic treatment, provide more regular and consistent care, and connect with pets and their owners throughout the year. From a business perspective, Vetster’s platform provides another path to building expertise and serving our patients, as well as reaching a greater population of pets in need of access to care, thereby increasing a practice’s client base.
We believe there is a huge opportunity ahead for independent veterinarians interested in specializing in telemedicine to partner with clinics to expand their ability to serve the community and expand their practice. There’s a whole new modern, digital world where our clients would like to see us. They’ve adopted telemedicine for their own personal healthcare and the same demand is now emerging in veterinary medicine. It’s time for the veterinary profession to determine how we can do that safely and with pet health at the forefront of our innovation.
There is also the benefit to us as veterinary professionals to have an alternative means of practice, for those that may be struggling to balance the “new normal” of homeschooling children and juggling work/life balance, as well as those who may have personal health matters that make in-person practice a challenge.
With an online virtual platform, are the veterinarians we set appointments up with local, that we can go see in person if necessary?
The Vetster platform is a marketplace where clients find a veterinarian that meets their pet’s health needs and is licensed to practice in their area. We see two scenarios – those veterinarians who can refer to their own clinic if an in-person appointment is needed as well as veterinarians referring to clinics they trust.
A few weeks ago, one of our clients spoke with a local veterinarian to assess whether their pet needed to go to urgent care. During the appointment the veterinarian did indeed recommend the client take their pet to the urgent care hospital – the situation couldn’t wait. This gave the client confidence in their decision that they were doing the right thing for their animal. It’s a great example of how veterinarians work together within the community.
What is included with the Vester marketplace besides veterinary consults and appointments?
Vetster has big plans to become the most trusted destination for pet care and pet health needs. Today, we are growing to provide customers with access to veterinary care which includes holistic care, medical care and prescriptions where available.
What is it about visiting a clinic, that made virtually meeting clients a better option, and why should clients choose Vester over in-person?
Vetster is designed to provide another path to improve pet care and access to veterinarians. We are not replacing in-person care, rather we are providing online care where it makes sense. We are opening up access to care for those people who may not be able to easily travel, whose schedules don’t match clinic hours, or whose closest vet is over an hour away. With Vetster no matter where you are, no matter what your schedule, a veterinarian is just a few clicks away. With Vetster we’re bringing something to the market that will help pet owners to access care more regularly instead of only during emergencies, we’re helping veterinarians explore supplementary paths to grow their practice, and we’re driving better outcomes for pet health.