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Telemedicine: A Game Changer for Pet Product Testing?



Dog sits on owners lap while he works on his computer

Ever wondered how innovative pet products get their seal of approval? It usually involves clinical trials to ensure products are safe and effective. But getting pets (and their people) to participate in this process can be a challenge. Traditional trials often face hurdles – scheduling challenges, pet stress at the vet's office, and limited accessibility can all hinder participation and slow down development. That’s where telemedicine comes in, which can be a game changer for testing pet products


Imagine conducting pet product trials where owners can participate from the comfort of their own homes. Telemedicine, essentially vet consultations via video chat, offer more possibilities for pet health brands looking to streamline and strengthen their clinical trials.


Why Consider Telemedicine for Your Next Trial?


Boost Participation and reduce stress

Scheduling conflicts, transportation issues, and pet anxiety at the vet's office can significantly limit participant pools and introduce stress that can skew results. Telemedicine eliminates these barriers, allowing for wider participation and potentially more diverse data collection. As Dr. Kathy Lewis, our veterinarian, highlights, “Telemedicine is particularly useful when a pet's fear, anxiety, and stress at the vet's office can actually hide their true symptoms. For instance, I've seen pets come in for lameness, but due to the adrenaline from stress, they don't show any signs of pain or limping in the clinic. Then, as soon as they're back home, the owner calls and says the limping has returned." By allowing pets to participate from a familiar and relaxed environment, telemedicine minimizes stress, leading to more reliable data for a stronger foundation for your product claims.


Enhanced Data Collection

Telemedicine consultations can make data collection easier and more efficient. They facilitate frequent information gathering through video calls, surveys, and even wearable tech integration. This paints a more detailed picture of each pet's response to your product, allowing for a richer data set.


Cost-Effectiveness

Telemedicine eliminates travel and minimizes in-clinic visits, potentially making trials more budget-friendly. This opens doors for smaller pet health brands to participate in research and innovation.


How can vets can effectively assess health remotely?

One concern with telemedicine might be the ability to assess pet health effectively. However, veterinarians can utilize several methods to remotely evaluate joint health in a clinical trial setting:


  • Detailed owner reports: Owners can be trained to record and report on their pet's health markers. In the example of pet joint health, owners can report on things like mobility, gait abnormalities (limping, stiffness), and pain levels during various activities (walking, climbing stairs).

  • Standardized video assessments: Standardized video recordings of pets performing specific tasks (walking on a leash, navigating obstacles) allow vets to remotely evaluate gait, range of motion, and joint stability.

  • Telehealth consultations: Scheduled video consultations with veterinarians enable physical examinations focused on joint health. Vets can assess range of motion in specific joints, palpate for swelling or tenderness, and observe behavior during manipulation.


By allowing pets to participate from a familiar and relaxed environment, telemedicine minimizes stress, leading to more reliable data for a stronger foundation for your product claims. This approach can also capture valuable owner observations on their pet's behavior in their daily environment.


A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Navigating Regulations: The use of telemedicine in clinical trials is relatively new. Partnering with an experienced clinical research organization (CRO) can ensure you navigate this process smoothly.

  • Choosing the Right Tech: Not all platforms are data collection tools are equal. Look for a user-friendly system for pet owners, secure data storage, and seamless integration with your existing trial management tools.

  • Tech-Savvy Vets: Ensuring participating veterinarians are comfortable conducting remote consultations and utilizing the telemedicine technology is essential for a successful trial.


The Future of Pet Product Testing:

Telemedicine enables ease of pet product testing. By increasing accessibility, reducing pet stress, and facilitating comprehensive data collection, telemedicine can pave the way for faster development and even better pet healthcare solutions.


Ready to explore the potential of telemedicine for your next clinical trial? Contact our team to discuss how this approach can help your pet product reach its full potential.


For more insights into the emerging pet health Industry, you can read our 2024 Pet Industry Consumer Insight Report here

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