24/7 vet chat line - worth 45 dollars a month?

mxphs

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
38
Purraise
55
Hi everyone

I've come across this website called vetchat which is like an open chat room which connects you to a vet. It claims to be 24/7, but there's a 45 dollar a month fee. I'm thinking this may be helpful for me to just have someone on call with my questions to do with humphrey, but am just wondering if anyone else has used a similar service and has any insight into just how useful these things are? If they are actually good, it could be a godsend in certain situations.
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Veteran
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
19,210
Purraise
19,664
Location
USA
Your vet is always the best person to contact for all questions and concerns. Non-urgent after hours questions are usually ok to wait until the next normal business day. Urgent concerns and emergencies are best dealt with by a vet ER. Contact your regular vet during normal business hours and ask who to call / where to go for urgent and emergency care.

If you're in the US, you can try Chewy.com's online vet chat service Connect With a Vet - Free Online Vet Chat | Chewy It's free for Chewy's auto-ship customers and a small fee per chat or video call for non-auto ship customers. If you're not a Chewy customer, you'll need to create an account. There are other online vet web sites out there but you don't know if the person on the other end is a legit, currently licensed vet or someone sitting in their bedroom pulling info off Google.

Keep in mind that no online vet can diagnose or treat the cat or prescribe medicine. At most, an online vet can only make suggestions on general things you can try at home until you can get the cat to the regular vet for an in person appointment. For non-urgent health concerns or general pet topics (unusual quirky behavior, best brand of food to feed, etc), an online vet would be ok to use.
 
Last edited:

Kieka

Snowshoe Servant
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Sep 6, 2016
Messages
10,861
Purraise
17,389
Location
Southern California
I don't know if it would be worth $45/month.

First, it would NOT replace a regular vet. An online vet isn't able to feel your cat, check them over, listen for heart murmurs or anything like that. You'd still have to go to a regular vet to check for invisible things. I do annual so my cats have a documented "this is healthy" stats for them. But also so my vet can check for the things I wouldn't be able to observe like the aforementioned heart murmur or taking xrays.

Second, the vet would only be as good as your own ability to observe and describe what you are observing. If you miss describing something, the vet could misdiagnose. If you think you observe something but you are just jumping at shadows, the vet could misdiagnose. If you can't put your finger on something but know something is off, the vet might not have the information to diagnose.

Third, even of you are able to accurately describe everything going on to the point the vet is able to accurately diagnose, only some places allow online vets to prescribed medications. I know I am in a state where even if I contacted an online vet for something as simple as an abcess (which even those a vet should technically take a sample to confirm it isn't something else) the vet could NOT prescribed my cat even a simple antibiotic. Vet medicine laws are behind human laws and you'd need to check your local laws to gague if the online vet would be more then a sounding board.

Fourth, the online vet can't do any testing or measurements. Like a stool sample to check for worms, blood test to check for signs infection or anything. You can get a hone thermometer and scale to give them those two but anything else would be purely a visual exam.

Fifth, unless you are guaranteed the same vet everytime, you won't be able to develop a relationship with the vet. Having a vet who knows your cat, knows what is normal for them, and knows what they are like is really valuable. My vet knows my cats so she knows the best options for treatment and what he doesn't tolerate well.

Finally, the cost is really high for what it is. I could take my cat to his regular vet for the same and get an actual hands on exam.

Don't get me wrong, I've used an online vet to sanity check myself before. But even that experience the best the online vet could do was agree with me that my cat needed to see an in-person vet for treatment. If you said it was $5-$10/month and you'd use it at least once a month I'd say yes. But $45 is steep for what it is.
 
Last edited:

artiemom

Artie, my Angel; a part of my heart
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
10,292
Purraise
19,972
Location
near Boston
I have to agree with the others. I feel that if you find a trusted Vet, who has someone on call to talk to about stuff, and find a good ER to go to during off hours. You are fine..

An online Vet, cannot evaluate your kitty as good as a hands on examination.

I did use one, once, when I had Artie. I did not find it useful. They suggested an in-person exam, and could not advise me anymore than what I could find on-line, talking to friends, and from others. I spent about $45 for a non-answer.

FYI: This is a great forum. While none of us are Vets, the collective knowledge of our members, along with all the files, contains a wealth of information.. For just simple things, all the way up to serious issues.
It is an awesome forum. You may just want to "cruise" along, and check things out.

If you have a question, ask a question or use the Search box, to see what others think.. then form you own opinion, and go to the VET, if something is serious..
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
1,032
Purraise
1,379
mxphs mxphs If you haven't already, I would take the $45 a month and put it towards Pet Insurance instead. (Or a savings account for vet visits).

When something is going on with my cats, I call the vet and ask the technician / receptionist. They'll ask the vet if it's worth an appointment usually. It's a trusted vet for me, so they won't schedule needless appointments. Sometimes they have me send a photo and sometimes they tell me if it's happening still call back in a couple days.
Once with Cal they had me bring him in the same day because it was a Saturday of long weekend and they didn't want me to go to Emergency but said had I called on say Wednesday, they would have told me to monitor at home.

Yet our emergency room if I call them after hours always says to bring them in.. probably partially why there's a backlog.

Find the first vet, for you who will be honest. Tell them you have new pet parent anxiety and honestly most vets are happy to have a client who brings their cat in as cats are chronically under-vetted.
 
Top