Veterinary telemedicine firm Vet AI, which offers video consultations to pet owners via its Joii Pet Care app, is now calling for remote prescribing - without a physical exam or the back up of a veterinary premises - to be allowed permanently.

The company says it is calling for the change after analysing the records of its consultations held during the pandemic and finding that there was a low antibiotic prescribing rate, treatments were effective and no harm was caused.

During the seven months that Vet-AI collected data, from the 1st April to the 31st October 2020, its vets held 21,383 veterinary video consultations, an analysis of which is the subject of a paper published in the RCVS Knowledge journal, Veterinary Evidence1. 

78.1% of the consultations were for dogs and 21.9% for cats.

Of the vet-led video consultations completed, 3,541 had medicines prescribed during the consultation.

Some consultations required more than one prescription, which meant a total of 4,282 POM-V medications were prescribed.

Of those, Vet-AI says 0.87% reported a mild adverse effect. 

Antibiotics were prescribed in 5.9% of all consultations, 99.3% of which was first line.

Vet AI says follow-up on prescribing was available in 67.7% of cases and 89.4% of all known treatment outcomes were complete or had an expected response to treatment.

Skin problems were the most common body system/disease category seen and prescribed for. 

The remaining 17,482 consultations, which did not require a prescription medicine, had resolutions assigned.

They included 959 referrals to an emergency in-person veterinarian visit; 4,852 recommendations to visit a vet in-person; 4,216 alternative products recommended, 6,421 follow-up consultations with the remote veterinary team, and 219 remote laboratory tests. 

Samantha Webster MRCVS (pictured right), from Joii Pet Care, said: “Given the clear evidence outlined in this report, we believe the future of veterinary medicine should include remote consultations with remote prescribing where appropriate and regulated.

"We invite the RCVS and other veterinary governing bodies to consider that there is a place for prescribing remotely on an ongoing basis for certain cases under certain conditions, such as a secure video and audio link with clinical record keeping and pharmacovigilance practice.

"A blanket ban is not appropriate with the advance of modern technology."

“Bold steps have been taken in human health, incorporating modern technologies to support both GPs and patients, to great success.

"Our industry could use these learnings to help reduce the current strain and demands on vets across the country where mental health is already a key issue due to increased pressures, under resourcing, and compassion fatigue. 

“We feel it’s important to take this approach to reach as many owners and provide professional advice and appropriate treatment on pet health so that those animals that do not necessarily currently receive veterinary care do so, and to bridge the gap wanted by clients.” 


  1. Smith S. M., DayT., Webster S. G., DaviesS., HardcastleT. P., & WilliamsA. (2022). Clinical audit of POM-V / POM prescriptions by remote consultation via a veterinary video telemedicine smartphone application. Veterinary Evidence7(2). 

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