You have heard about Virtual Veterinary Specialists (VVS) and their live-guided veterinary work-ups. But what does this virtual referral look like? How would it work in my practice? Read on to find out more…
It is another busy morning of consults. You are fully booked and the last vomiting and diarrhoea case which was meant to take 10 minutes actually took 30 and you are running late. Your next patient, Ben, is booked in for a booster vaccine but you can already hear Ben coughing in the car park through the closed reception door. Your heart sinks!
You bring Ben into the consulting room, put the stethoscope on his chest and an unmistakable heart murmur fills your ears in between the coughs. Unfortunately, Ben hates long car journeys almost as much as he hates having his nails clipped. His very committed owners never take him in the car longer than 5 minutes, and that is once a year for his annual vaccines. The nearest cardiology referral centre is an hour’s journey away, and it soon becomes apparent that Ben’s owners wouldn’t trust anyone other than your team at Harris Vets who have looked after Ben so well for all these years.
VVS can help!
Luckily for you, the practice has recently partnered with Virtual Veterinary Specialists (VVS) and the VVS equipment was installed at Harris Vets only the week before. You send a quick WhatsApp message to the VVS team, and in a matter of minutes Ben has been booked in for a live-guided cardiac work-up with a VVS cardiology specialist. The appointment is in just 2 hours, so you have more than enough time to finish consults, submit Ben’s history to VVS and maybe even grab a much-needed cup of tea and quick bite.
Your live-guided cardiology work-up.
You are initially a bit worried about working with a cardiology specialist, as your previous experience of cardiac scans is limited to the ultrasound course you went on last year where you were all huddled around one scanner. You are concerned you might say something silly, or not have the skills you need. When the appointment starts and you meet the specialist on the VVS video platform, you immediately feel relieved that they are friendly, reassuring and happy to talk you through the scan step-by-step. You soon relax into it and you even surprise yourself with how quickly you master the views! You are soon getting images you didn’t think were possible with your practice ultrasound machine. You are really enjoying yourself- who knew cardiology could be so fun!
During the VVS live-guided work-up you and the VVS cardiologist listen to Ben’s murmur together over the VVS platform and record and assess a real-time digital ECG. At the end of the consult you have a great discussion with the specialist about the various findings of the work-up. Together you decide on an appropriate treatment and re-examination plan for Ben, keeping in mind his reluctance to get in the car too frequently and his caring and committed owners. Anything you might have forgotten from the discussion you know will be covered in the written report being sent through following the scan.
Watch a short video of a VVS live-guided cardiac ultrasound.
A great outcome for all.
Ben’s owners are reassured that a cardiology specialist has examined Ben, and especially that this was all done without him having to travel somewhere other than their much trusted and loved local vet practice. They were also very pleased that their favourite vet (you!) had been involved throughout, as they wouldn’t want anyone else to look after Ben. Although he now needs lifelong medication, and he might have to make his trips to the vet more frequent, Ben’s owners are reassured that Harris Vets are doing everything they can for Ben, and they will be sure to tell all their friends at the park.
Tell me more…
The VVS workstation is a tablet sized device which is easily stored in between live-guided consultations. It is also quick to set up, and the VVS team is always at hand for training and support. Using the VVS workstation you can have live conversations with the veterinary specialist and ask questions throughout. During the work-up both yourself and the specialist can see a constant live video feed from your ultrasound machine and there are also cameras to show the specialist the positioning of your hand when holding the ultrasound probe and the patient throughout the scan. To get an idea of how the VVS workstation might look in your practice watch the short footage from a live VVS abdominal ultrasound scan in a VVS partner practice.
Cardiology cases can feel overwhelming to deal with in general practice, but VVS’ friendly world-class cardiologists are on hand to support you and to enable you to bring outstanding clinical care to your patients and reassurance to their owners. Bring the specialist to you and your patient with the help of the VVS service. Get in touch to speak to us further about trying this unique service in your practice!
Dr Lydia Morgan
BVM BVS BVMedSci MRCVS
VVS Commercial Manager