In September 2015, I found an interesting app for my iPhone (it’s available for Android, also), called Vet On Demand. It was a free download, so I loaded it to my phone. It was new-on-the-scene and I live in rural Kentuckiana where after-hours vet care was extremely spotty; actually, if you cannot reach the vet via their after hours voicemail number, then you have to make a one hour trek to the Louisville pet emergency centers. Let’s just say that the app sounded like a great alternative to a long, stressful trip and a high emergency vet bill! Plus, I was charmed by the setup screen depicting a woman sitting on the couch with her pug. I promptly loaded it, setup my profile and my pet’s profile, then promptly forgot it was there. Thankfully, I hadn’t needed to use it.
Last Monday, I received a panicked phone call from my mother-in-law. Her fourteen month old spaniel mix was sitting on her lap, sleeping, but then woke up and started throwing its head back. She thought it was choking, so she started patting it on its back, inverting it upside down — anything she could think of in her panic. She told me the dogs expression went blank and she sincerely thought her beloved dog was dying. It was then that she called me. When I could finally understand her, all I could make out is, “Come quick! Something is wrong with Chloe!” I grabbed a can of pumpkin, in case it she had gotten into something toxic, and my children and I quickly drove to her house.
By the time that we got there, my daughter had left a message for her vet to call, but Chloe was up and around, wagging her tail and greeting us. She was definitely not her boisterous self, but she was moving and had bright eyes. My poor mother-in-law was still on the floor, from where she had been caring for her dog. Chloe was wet; my mother-in-law explained that she had foamed at the mouth, during the scary episode, and had also urinated on herself. She and I were convinced that it was, indeed, a seizure — but what to do next?
It was then that I remembered my Vet On Demand app. I explained what it was, as I clicked on it. We very much wanted and needed to speak with a vet, so I waited for the app to engage. I got impatient and tapped it again. I was only able to get to the start screen, not to the actual app itself, where you click a “Call a Vet” button. The start screen had a “chat” feature, where I could type a question. I typed, “We think my mother-in-law’s dog had a seizure.” A kind, customer support person named Mason typed back, “Would you like to speak to a vet today?” I informed him, over the messenger, that it would not allow me to login or setup a new profile for Chloe, so he tried, with tech support’s assistance, to quickly remedy my issue. He was very kind, but could not get it to work, so he suggested that Dr. Baxter, the veterinarian-on-call, call me directly. I messaged, “Same charges apply, right?” He messaged back: “It’s no charge.” Wow, mind blown! I figured it was going to be the standard charge, which I was fine with, given the circumstances.
Dr. Baxter called within 2 minutes and I gave the phone to my mother-in-law. They chatted well over 20 minutes about Chloe’s age, weight, how long she had owned Chloe, where she had gotten Chloe as a puppy, what kind of breed(s) she was, what Chloe’s normal day was like, if she could have gotten into anything, what foods she ate, her normal and current activity levels, if she was spayed, her veterinary care, etc. When my mother-in-law got off the phone with the good doctor, she felt SO much better! He had advised her that she could follow up with her vet, of course, but to watch her carefully and that the poor dog would be tired and sore for a day or two. Since Chloe had some cocker spaniel in her heritage, he thought that she might be prone to seizures as some cocker spaniels can be. He advised her of what to do, should a seizure happen again and was not a proponent of the phenobarbital that some vets prescribe. He stated that she might never have another seizure, it could happen infrequently, or it could happen more often — it was an unsure thing. He put my mother-in-law at such ease and gave her so much relief. She is retired and on a fixed income, so it was a true blessing!
Two days later, I am happy to report that Chloe is still doing well. Also, Vet On Demand has gained TWO happy customers, as I just installed the app on my mother-in-law’s phone as well. I also received an email from Mason, asking about our experience with Dr. Baxter, informing me that the iPhone issue was a bug that they did not know about, and assured me that they and Apple would be ironing it out ASAP. Vet On Demand has gone above and beyond the call of duty, and I highly recommend and endorse them!
Peace, love, and pugs!