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What is the difference between telehealth and telemedicine?


The COVID-19 pandemic helped provide new insight into understanding that while there are some tasks that must be done in person, there are others that can be performed just as effectively virtually. This realization also happened in the veterinary industry! With new forms of appointments available, you may ask what is the difference between telehealth and telemedicine? We cover that all here.

While initially pet parents may have used online or telephone-based veterinary services out of necessity, the convenience and affordability of these remote vet visits quickly became apparent.

Since the concept of veterinary telehealth and telemedicine is still new, we are here to explain everything you need to know!



What is Veterinary Telemedicine?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA, telemedicine is a tool of practice rather than a separate discipline within the field of veterinary care. It is the use of telecommunications for delivering professional veterinary services. Through telemedicine, vets can prescribe medications to their patients online without an in-person appointment.

As you may expect, rules and regulations differ regarding veterinary telemedicine from one state to another and some states, like New York, have provided no explicit guidance on if telemedicine is allowed. Ultimately it is up to the veterinarian to decide if they feel comfortable e-prescribing your pet medications in New York.

What is Veterinary Telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of telecommunications to deliver general veterinary advice to pet parents. Unlike telemedicine, a telehealth appointment is exclusively for advice and cannot result in medications. 

Given that telehealth appointments do not involve medications, they are available widely across the US.



Benefits of Virtual Vet Visits

While veterinary telemedicine & telehealth help relieve some of the pressure on in-person vet clinics, there are plenty of other reasons why pets and their parents might choose to book a virtual vet appointment rather than wait to see a vet in-person.




Telehealth appointments are a great option if you are unsure whether or not your pet’s injury or illness requires immediate attention. The veterinarian can virtually assess the situation and help you decide on the best next step for your pet.


It can be hard to find expert veterinary advice, which is why many pet parents will book in-person vet appointments so they can ask a vet for advice on ensuring their pet lives a happy and healthy life.

With a telehealth appointment, you can discuss a wide range of topics, from nutrition to behavior to seasonal prevention consults, and more without physically going to the vet clinic.






With a virtual veterinary appointment, your pet is assessed from the comfort of their own home, eliminating any anxiety that they may feel when at an in-person veterinary clinic.


Given that they can be conducted around your schedule and from your home or on the go, veterinary telehealth and telemedicine appointments can be incredibly convenient.



Excited to try out a telehealth or telemedicine appointment?

If you’re interested in the convenience and affordability of veterinary telemedicine or telehealth, you can sign up for a free Hello Ralphie account. The platform can quickly connect you with licensed veterinarians that can offer advice, at-home remedies, medication, and more.

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