Even before coronavirus, telemedicine was steadily gaining momentum in the health care industry. Not just for people, but for our pets, too. The pandemic has sped up the trend toward telemedicine, but the change will be lasting, as people become more accustomed to telemedicine in their own lives and expect more flexibility from their veterinary providers, said Shlomo Freiman, DVM, co-founder and chief veterinary officer of Petriage.
Petriage, a telemedicine app for pets, is helping people care for the four-legged friends remotely. A graduate of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine and 26-year career veterinarian, Freiman, along with his team of accredited veterinary professionals, created Petriage to help veterinarians and pet-parents provide the best possible care for their pets when it is not possible to be in-person.
We sat down with Freiman to learn more about the future of telemedicine for our pets.
Q. When was Petriage founded, and what inspired the idea?
In 2015, a family friend called me while he was on his way to the animal emergency room. His dog, Bodhi, had just experienced a seizure. I had him pull over so I could ask him a few questions about Bodhi’s condition and based on his answers, I advised him to observe Bodhi for now. It wasn’t an emergency and there was nothing the animal ER could do that couldn’t wait until I could examine him the next morning. I’ve seen so many panicked pet parents rush to the ER when it could have been avoided, as well as the opposite, where pet parents under-react to very worrisome symptoms I wanted to give them a way to make smarter decisions about their pet’s medical care to help them avoid unnecessary hassle and expense while improving the medical outcome. My friend, Bodhi’s parent, it turns out, has a Ph.D. in biostatistics from Harvard. Together we build the AI part of the Petriage app, so that pet parents can have a reliable way to triage their pets at any time of day.
Q. What type of services does the app offer that are valuable to pet parents?
The app provides all users with actionable information about the urgency of their pet’s symptoms. You simply enter your pet’s basic information and answer a few questions about his or her symptoms, and the app will tell you on a five-point scale how urgently you need to see a veterinarian. If your pet’s vet is not on the Petriage platform, the app will point you to the nearest open vet clinic. For non-urgent cases, the app may offer some educational and practical information related to common symptoms.
Q. Can people speak directly with your expert vets?
The relationship between the pet, the pet parent and the veterinarian is critical to proper care. While telemedicine can be a valuable supplement to a standard practice, it is not a substitute.
Q. What types of pets can you assist?
The Petriage app is currently able to assess symptoms in cats and dogs only, though we hope to add other pets to our algorithm in the future.
Q. Can pet parents access the service 24/7?
Yes, Petriage is available for free, 24/7, from your mobile device or online at Petriage.com.
Q. Where can people find the app?
You can download the app on your smartphone or other device using the iOS or Android app stores, or you can find us online at Petriage.com
Q. How much does it cost?
The Petriage app is completely free to download and use.