Phone A Vet app launched to help time-poor, isolated people

Phone A Vet app launched to help time-poor, isolated people

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HELP ON THE WAY: Bendigo vet Tristan Jubb has launched an app to help people with pets and livestock.

HELP ON THE WAY: Bendigo vet Tristan Jubb has launched an app to help people with pets and livestock.

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The app has attracted more than 300 users in a month.

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A central Victorian veterinarian has created a smartphone app which could change the way farmers seek medical advice about injured or crook livestock.

The Phone A Vet app was launched last month to offer animal owners veterinarian advice on livestock and pet concerns.

More than 300 people have since downloaded the app which links farmers with specialist vets who can advise animal owners on the best course of action.

Bendigo Sheep Vets veterinarian Tristan Jubb developed the application with information technologist Githal Pathirana, Olinda, and said the tool was successful in its first month.

"Veterinarians give a lot of phone advice but often they're travelling blind," Mr Jubb said.

"What the app allows is a structured way to present information with photos, videos and a chat function to get the full picture.

"We have cattle vets, sheep vets, dog and cat vets, exotic animal vets and there's quite a broad range of species supported."

VIEW: The app connects animals owners with a vet on call.

VIEW: The app connects animals owners with a vet on call.

Prime lamb producer Bryan Balmer, Harcourt, used the app on three separate occasions for his Merino flock and credited the tool for its simplicity.

"In a lot of places of Victoria large animal vets are scarce and this is a way to get specialist advice on sheep or cattle, not just your normal vet who might be a specialist in smaller animals," Mr Balmer.

"I used it for looking at feet for sheep and ewes heavy in lamb and I wanted to get an idea of what it might have been because I wanted to seek a professional opinion.

"It means you can get someone to have a look at a problem within an hour if you've already got sheep yarded and it's very economical because it gives you an early idea of what actions you could take."

Fifty registered vets are signed onto the service to provide support nation-wide, aimed at serving isolated and time-poor farmers who often have limited access to livestock support.

Users can download the app to a smartphone or smart device.

Each 15-minute consultation costs $24.95 with vets retaining $18 of that fee per session.

"I work with 23 sheep producers and that's 80 per cent of the work and they use the app quite a lot even when they're down the paddock or in the yards," Mr Jubb said.

"Questions like what's the best pet for my children or what's the best milk replacer to feed orphan lambs are questions I'm commonly asked as a sheep vet.

"This app will help answer those sorts of questions and give veterinary advice which sometimes might be to get the animal to a vet ASAP or to suggest home remedy and they can treat the animal at home."

Vets choose whether their status is shown online or offline, like a social media site, and users can request to be notified when vet with the background and knowledge they require becomes active on the app.

Mr Jubb said he hoped the app would minimise the severity of livestock health issues and provide an alternate solution to cash-poor animal owners.

"One of the important things is making sure small problems stay small," Mr Jubb said.

"With COVID-19 people are pretty keen on it simply because they're stuck at home looking at their animals and a lot of people can't afford a vet but need veterinary advice."

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