Dr. Webster’s BLOG

See Tampa Veterinary Hospital – Virtually Online from Anywhere Using Your Phone, Tablet or Laptop

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One advance that has been around for a few years in human medicine is virtual medicine.  Now, some human doctors don’t even require an office visit- and you can make your appointment and have your consultation with your physician in front of your computer (with a webcam) or even on your cellphone.  It’s happening now in our world- and we’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Live DVM- a service where you and your pet can have a consultation with a veterinarian from the comfort of your own home.

The service is now live and we’re already seeing patients online for a variety of issues. We’re still tweaking some things so that we can ensure that every virtual appointment goes as expected, and we exceed your expectations.

Please know that these virtual appointments are not a substitute for your pet’s annual visit to the veterinarian’s office. We still need to physically see your pet each year, so we can weigh them, listen to their heart and lungs, look in their eyes and ears, check their mouth. We can’t do all of those things online.


During a virtual visit, our veterinarians can only dispense medical advice, diagnose issues, prescribe treatment or medications if we have an existing VCPR- which is a Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship. This means we have physically seen your pet within the last year. This is specific to the pet you’re scheduling the virtual visit for. These aren’t our rules, they’re guidelines set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) who sets standards for our entire industry. 

If we don’t have a valid VCPR with you and your pet, we can still schedule a virtual appointment, but we will be limited as to the advice we can dispense for you and your pet. It may be limited to whether or not you should seek medical treatment within a hospital or clinic setting.

Virtual appointments are excellent for conditions that can be seen by the naked eye, or if they’re exhibiting an abnormal behavior or trait- like walking with a limp, has a newly formed skin condition, or is coughing/wheezing. These are just a few of the examples. Virtual visits are also great for medical progress exams following up on recent surgeries, treatments or illnesses. Understand that we may still need to see your pet in the hospital based on our observations during the virtual appointment.

You will need:

A smartphone, tablet or computer with Internet Access. A high-speed wi-fi connection works best.

A credit card for payment.

Things that will make for a successful virtual appointment

  • Register with the LiveDVM service online at www.livedvm.com
  • Provide your payment information
  • Be prepared with as much information as you can provide- examples are:
    • When did you first notice the change in condition?
    • Have there been changes in their eating/drinking/elimination habits?
    • Is the condition better/worse at different times of the day? (morning/night)?
    • Have there been any changes in their environment?
  • Be in a distraction-free environment
  • Ensure the area you are in is well lit. Many webcams or cell phone cameras do not do well in dimly lit areas. If the area is dark, the doctor may not be able to see the issue clearly.
    • Cell phones or smart phones tend to work best- as they are the easiest to move and focus on your pet’s condition.  Tablets are good options, too- as long as you have one with a quality camera and a good wi-fi or data connection. Laptops or personal computers with a webcam can also be used, but since they can’t be moved easily, it may be difficult to clearly see your pet’s issues.
  • Eliminate any background noise- like the TV or any music that may be playing so we can hear you and your pet clearly.
  • Do a ‘trial run’ with your pet prior to the appointment, holding the camera in front of them and their trouble spots so you know how they might react.
  • Be ready to answer questions- as the online visit is timed and only lasts 15 minutes.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Do not use this service if you feel your pet is experiencing a medical emergency. If your pet is suffering from respiratory distress, experiencing seizures, profusely bleeding or has any other potentially life-threatening conditions. In these cases, take your pet to a veterinarian or emergency care facility immediately.
  • Remember that we may still need to see your pet in the hospital. Not all virtual appointments can result in an immediate solution for your pet’s condition.
  • Your veterinarian may not always be available at the exact moment you request a virtual visit. Our veterinarians still see appointments in the hospital, and believe it or not, they have days off, too. You will be able to see their availability when you log in to your LiveDVM.com account. Even when they show available, there may still be a short delay before you are connected.

This is an emerging technology, and we’re excited to be able to add it to our list of services.

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