In the U.S. alone, pet owners spent $29 billion on veterinary care and product sales, as estimated by the American Pet Products Association. That tally includes routine vet care, surgical procedures and pharmaceuticals.
And while all manner of businesses shut down during the pandemic, veterinarians proved to be essential — and, along with the rest of us, have been pivoting to embrace the great digital shift.
And in an interview with Karen Webster, Steven Carter, CEO of online platform Otto said that telemedicine has a growing place in the pet care space — chiefly as a means to keep patients and providers in communication about animals’ health, and as a way to keep practices running smoothly.
In years past, he said, “very few people thought telemedicine would be a staple of veterinary practices. But fast forward to today and you can’t go to a veterinary conference without hearing five chats on telemedicine. Its usage has gone through the roof.”
At a high level, the Otto platform brings veterinarians and pet owners across two types of services: virtual consultations and follow-up appointments.
The company traces its genesis to five years ago when it focused on selling and caring for horses online. Carter likened the original model to a “CarMax for horses.”
Carter said the model has shifted since then (in breadth of services rendered for large and small animal care) with the realization that telemedicine had untapped potential in veterinary medicine.