Dog owner Bill shares his experience of using Vets Now's online vet service

It’s been the year of doing things we could never have imagined.

Not just the lockdown and the social distancing, or the queues outside your favourite shops and then the donning of a mask before you can set foot inside.

Surely none of us could have contemplated that 2020 would go down as the year going to the office would have been replaced by video.

Zoom and Teams – and let’s be honest, how many of us had even heard of them! – became the alternative to commutes, or even getting properly dressed.

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And in what kind of crazy world would our fitness be kept up by tuning into Joe Wicks in his living room?

But while many have returned to workplaces and Joe has stopped his daily live YouTube sessions, one element of the virtual world has gone from strength to strength.

And I for one couldn’t be more grateful.

When our full-of-beans puppy Maisie was suddenly anything but one Sunday afternoon, I felt a rising sense of panic.

A listless Labradoodle, instead of the usual bounding bundle of fun, set the alarm bells ringing at full volume.

It had started with a bit of sickness in the morning and by the time post-lunch – for us as she was, for once, interested in nothing – diarrhoea had kicked in, help was needed.

Image of dog owner Bill and dog Maisie for article on experience of speaking to vets online through Vets Now's Video Vet service
Dog owner Bill explains the benefits of using Vets Now's Video Vet service when his dog Maisie became unwell

It may not have been critical, but we just weren’t convinced of that.

What was needed was a reassuring face, a comforting voice and, most importantly, some expert knowledge.

All of the above were just a call away with Vets Now’s video consultation service.

A quick internet booking and, within minutes, one of the skilled vets was on the end of a video call.

A run through of the symptoms was followed – with a little nifty camerawork by myself – by a thorough once over.

Could I just show her teeth and gums? Could I hold the phone near her tummy?

No sign of any swellings or tenderness, thank goodness.

Maisie had a bout of sickness and diarrhoea and Bill sought advice from our online vets

Less than 10 minutes later we were reassured that the signs were looking good – but because of the number of times she’d been sick, a precautionary check at our nearest Vets Now clinic or hospital was advised.

That turned out to confirm the good news and some medication brought the upset, happily, to a speedy end.
But the whole experience, the not having to necessarily pop into a surgery, struck a chord.

Maisie is – I think I may have mentioned – lively and excitable. Frankly, those are just another way of saying she’s a little bit crazy.

So, visits to our local vet surgery can fairly be termed “challenging”.

A waiting room full of other pets is a nightmare scenario, a lead-tugging, plea-uttering battle.

“Leave that dog alone, it’s not interested.” “It’s a cat in a basket, get your nose out of there.”

And Maisie’s just mad, not scared or nervous.

What was needed was a reassuring face, a comforting voice and, most importantly, some expert knowledge. All of the above were just a call away with Vets Now's video consultation service.

Bill Gibb Dog owner

For owners whose pet is wary, a vet visit can be horrendous.

I see them cowering, any usual bravado hidden under a quivering mass of frightened fur.

My neighbour’s cat Sherbet becomes so panicked at the mere sight of his carrier on vet days he makes a bolt for his haven under the bed.

The car journey is bad enough, but anyone in the building knows he’s coming as he wails at the top of his voice.

If there are dogs in the waiting room, he wees in his carrier in sheer terror.

The trauma is only slightly less for my horrified neighbour.

So, it’s little wonder Vets Now’s video consultation service has increasingly become a real treasure.

Image of Maisie the labradoodle for article on speaking to vets online through Vet's Now Video Vet service
Thankfully, Maisie is now back to her usual lively self

Vets Now Video Vet was launched just as the UK shut down and vets across the country were forced to close their doors. But it’s become a post-lockdown lifeline many are thrilled to have on hand.

Initially it was only available for out-of-hours calls, but demand has been such that it’s now been extended and it operates between 8am and 11pm seven days a week.

The vets are there to help with all those worrying problems which occur suddenly – but also those health conditions that are just troubling you.

For £24 – refunded back if a clinic visit is necessary – dramas can be dealt with and even the angst of a surgery visit avoided for petrified pets.

As we’ve all got used to video vibes, our pets, too, are benefiting from life at the end of a lens.

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