Got a Sick Cat? – There’s an App for That!

Got a Sick Cat? – There’s an App for That!

Veterinary apps you can download to your smartphone could mean that home-based veterinary diagnostic testing and even treatment is just a screen-swipe away.

Veterinary smartphone apps could change the way pet owners interact with their veterinary surgery. As apps get smarter, they might even replace visits to the vet altogether.

Vets already use apps to access important records and data out of hours or away from the surgery. They can search online resources ranging from guides for antimicrobial treatments, medical regimens, parasite maps and drug effectiveness and toxicity. There’s also a number of useful dosage calculation apps.

Smartphone technology – already in use

Human medicine already uses smartphone technology. Match the right sensor with the right app, and your smartphone can measure, record and transmit everything from your heart and breathing rate, to your blood oxygen and blood sugar levels.

Smartphone apps really do only one of two things. Either they receive and process information for you, or they process and send out information about you. It doesn’t really matter what that information is. Whether it’s information about you or about your pet, it’s all the same to your phone.

So how long before there’s an app that combines online veterinary resources, your pet’s health history and the sensor-based examination your vet would make at the surgery? And then, why not an app to process all that information and make a diagnosis and prescribe a course of treatment?

All this is technically possible, but only if the interaction between you, your vet and your pet was simply a matter of data processing. It’s a relatively simple programming job to match up all the inputs with an output. But what about the missing inputs?

No app will ever measure how much you care about your pet

What’s missing from ‘veterinary diagnosis by app’ is what you know about your pet, and what your vet knows about you and your pet together. There’s no app that substitutes for this all-important relationship. No app measures how much you care about your pet or your hopes, expectations and even fears.

That’s what Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine (EBVM) is all about. It’s why your vet is ideally placed to examine your pet personally, talk to you about your pet and then help you understand the veterinary laboratory tests, diagnostics and treatments that serve both you the best.

Until there’s an app that lets your cat call up the vet and make the appointment itself, you the pet owner will always be the one with the crucial information your vet needs to give the best diagnosis, treatment and care.