New app offers remote veterinary visits for pet owners

When Curt and Mason Revelette's dog became ill, they were desperate for quick veterinary advice, but couldn't figure out where to go. That experience inspired a business idea that has now come to fruition: Vet on Demand, a new app that offers real-time video chats with licensed veterinarians.

The inventors of Vet on Demand, which was soft launched for iOS and Android devices a few months back, announced this week that they are adding a paid subscription service. A single 10-minute chat costs $25, but subscribers can also prepay for up to 10 calls a month, according to a press release from the California-based company.

Vet on Demand has veterinarians in 16 states available for consultations, though the company offers the services to anyone in the country. More than 85% of the video chats result in "answers and success," according to the release.

"We're not looking to replace in-person veterinary visits with our consultations, but do want to save parents from the dreaded 'Dr. Google' and encourage proactivity when it comes to questions about their pets' health," said co-founder Mason Revelette in the release.

Vet on Demand joins a rapidly growing selection of apps for pet owners who want to simplify health care for their four-legged family members. Earlier this year, a German entrepreneur launched DoggyDoc, an app that allows pet owners to input symptoms and read tips from veterinarians about potential causes. In September, two California veterinarians began pilot testing video chats with veterinarians through their mobile app, Vet24Seven. And last year, San Francisco-based VetPronto launched an app that allows dog and cat owners to order veterinary house calls.

The effort to offer virtual veterinary consultations to pet owners hasn't always gone smoothly, however. Texas veterinarian Ronald Hines had his license suspended in 2013 after years of offering advice to pet owners via the Internet. He sued, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the suspension. In April, he vowed to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition to offering video consultations, Vet on Demand allows users to record details about their pets' health conditions and receive vaccination reminders. The company says the new prepaid subscription offerings are aimed at owners of multiple pets, as well as pet sitters and others who take care of other people's dogs and cats.

- here's the Vet On Demand release