The cost of living crisis is causing pet owners to delay vet treatment for their four-legged friends – but a telehealth platform may have a digital solution…
Soaring costs have affected most every part of life – and it’s always been the case the a vet bill can burn a hole in the pocket. But the 2022 cost of living crisis has forced some pet owners to delay important vet visits, because they simply can’t foot the fill.
New data found by telehealth platform Vetster also shows over a third delay appointments due to “unforeseen expenses” (37%), while a third question the severity of the issue (33%).
Compounding the decision is the unavailability of booking an appointment in a timely manner (22%), a direct correlation to the global veterinary shortage crisis*.
Health tech for pets?
CEO and cofounder Mark Bordo told Health Tech World: “Pet telehealth addresses pet owner concerns by improving access to care with up-front and transparent pricing, providing tele-triage services to ascertain the severity of an issue, as well as offering pet owners choice in which vet and at what price point they desire.”
Pet owner’s guilt
The figures also show that in four (25%) owners feel guilty, and over a third (37%) feel anxious about delaying their pet a visit to the vet, with dogs (63%) and cats (54%) still being Britain’s favourite pets, followed by fish, reptiles and hamsters.
Top 5 reasons people delay taking pet to vet:
- Cost of living expenses – 37%
- Problem not deemed serious enough – 33%
- No appointments available – 22%
- Taking pet to the vet is stressful for the pet – 19%
- They don’t have pet insurance – 13%
The company has launched a platform to connect pet owners with hundreds of licensed UK veterinarians based on their speciality via video, voice and online chat to address non-urgent pet care issues where you can see their flat-rate fee upfront. Appointments are set by the veterinarians and generally range from £40 to £70.
Mark Bordo added: “We are leading the way in pet telehealth in North America and are excited to now be making a difference in the UK.
“By improving access to care, we reduce anxiety for the parent by supporting when clinics are closed or not nearby, to answer any non-urgent questions, and to improve health outcomes.
“Many cases such as dermatology, gastrointestinal, respiratory, urinary tract, ophthalmology and musculoskeletal issues can be treated through telehealth, so pet parents can put their mind at ease from the comfort of their homes”.
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