Veterinary Telehealth for Food Allergies
Companion animal food allergies can be a very frustrating medical issue for pet parents and veterinarians. Lengthy client discussion, food trials, strict pet parent compliance, and lots of patience are needed for a successful outcome. Integrating Anipanion telehealth into food allergy management can be an incredibly valuable service for pet parents and veterinary staff. Frequently monitoring patient symptoms and more effective client communication will lead to better owner compliance, improved patient care, and better customer satisfaction. Utilizing telehealth in your practice will additionally increase revenue, free up exam rooms and phone lines, while saving staff time. Technicians are especially great for nutrition and food trial compliance check-ins. See below for suggestions to start telehealth sessions for your food allergy patients.
Dietary Food Trial
Discussing a food trial with pet parents is very time-consuming and often comes at the tail end of an appointment. The client and pet are usually stressed and overwhelmed. Setting time aside to specifically talk about a food trial via telehealth will help the client focus and have all his or her questions answered. Discuss during your telehealth appointment:
- The purpose of a food trial
- Most allergenic ingredients in food
- Food trial duration
- Symptoms monitoring
- Limiting outside food sources
- Tips for multi-pet households
- Managing a food trial with young children in the home, where all human food products end up on the floor in into your pup’s (or cat’s) mouth
- Getting all family members on board for the food trial
- Provide a weekly food trial diary for homework
- Provide a list of food trial rules to follow
Food Trial Rules:
- Introduce the new diet slowly and gradually over 7-14 days to avoid gastrointestinal upset.
- Feed no other food besides the food trial diet. No treats, rawhides, toothpaste, supplements, or flavored medications can be fed.
- Do not feed out of plastic bowls. Only glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.
- Keep outdoor pets indoor for the duration of the trial.
- Keep pets leashed when outside during the food trial to prevent them from eating substances they shouldn’t.
- All family members must be aware of food trial rules.
The companion animal food product industry has become a very confusing space for pet parents. Throw hydrolyzed protein, novel protein, limited ingredient, and skin support diets into the mix, and clients are sure to explode with questions. Discuss the different types of skin and food allergy diets and educate pet parents on the best options for their beloved dog or cat to ensure the best medical outcome for the patient.
- Types of diets for food trials
- How these specific diets work
- Customized diet recommendation
- Treats safe for food allergy
- Skin support supplements
Follow ups and Check Ins
Hold your client accountable and frequently check in to make sure they are abiding by the food trial rules. Discuss any new or worsening symptoms.
- Feeding only recommended diet?
- Any outside food sources?
- Any treats?
- Any new or worsening symptoms?
- Any improvement in symptoms?
Discuss additional diagnostics or treatments if the food trial was not successful. Ease pet parent anxieties by guiding them in the treatment of their pets. Schedule in house exams, diagnostics, and treatments if medically appropriate.
- Diagnostic Plan
- Allergy testing
- Skin scraping and impression smears
- Skin Culture or biopsy
- Treatment Plan
- Additional medications
- Hyposensitization therapy
- Topicals and medicated shampoos
Dermatologic issues in veterinary medicine require over communication with clients and many medical rechecks. Utilize Anipanion’s telehealth app to monetize your client communication and offer the best care for your patients and pet parents.