OBJECTIVE To evaluate owner satisfaction with a home-based, synchronous videoconferencing telemedicine application as an alternative to in-clinic appointments for conducting recheck examinations after surgical sterilization in dogs.
DESIGN Randomized controlled clinical trial.
ANIMALS 30 client-owned dogs undergoing elective surgical sterilization and postsurgical recheck examination between September 27, 2017, and February 23, 2018.
PROCEDURES Dogs were randomly assigned to have their recheck examinations performed remotely (the telemedicine group) or at the veterinary clinic (the control group). After the recheck examination, owners completed a survey regarding their satisfaction with the recheck examination and their dogs' behavior during it. Information regarding the surgery and recheck examination was obtained from the electronic medical record. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare results between the telemedicine and control groups.
RESULTS Owners were equally satisfied with recheck examinations performed by videoconference and in-clinic appointments. Owners of dogs in the telemedicine group indicated that their dogs were less afraid during the virtual appointment, compared with what was typical for them during in-clinic appointments, but the difference was not statistically significant. Most owners who completed a postsurgical recheck examination by videoconferencing preferred this method for similar appointments in the future.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that owners were satisfied with videoconferencing as a means of conducting a postsurgical recheck examination. Further research is needed to assess videoconferencing's ability to reduce signs of fear in dogs during veterinary examinations, its economic feasibility, and the willingness of veterinarians and animal owners to adopt the technology.