Telemedicine Has Come to the Vets, Part 13: Highlight on Anipanion

small dog with woman on smart phone
May 13, 2021 at 7:24 pm
Carolyn Shadle

This is the thirteenth in a series of telehealth articles to be published on the VetPartners blog. Each article in the series features a different veterinary telemedicine option, providing valuable insight for veterinary professionals, consultants, and pet owners. Communications professional and freelance journalist Carolyn Shadle is not associated with Anipanion or any other telemedicine company. She received no compensation—monetary or otherwise—from VetPartners or Anipanion for authoring this article.


Anipanion was one of those lucky (or foresightful) platforms that became available before the pandemic. It was 2017 when Tony Cairo of San Diego, California, was asked to take all five of his aunt’s Chihuahuas to see the veterinarian. What a job! After enduring the “battle scars” of the task, he found that only one of the five actually had to be seen by the vet. He said to himself, “Why couldn’t an initial triage process be completed virtually from home, saving the trouble of packing up all five for the vet visit?”

Cairo had worked with Bobby Reddy in the human healthcare space and realized that telehealth was ready to cross over to animal healthcare. Voila! The two of them created Anipanion as a vet-first platform.

A vet-first platform

Rather than using third-party veterinary staff, like some other veterinary telehealth platforms, Cairo and Reddy intended for the veterinarians who adopted the Anipanion platform to provide all the triage and telehealth care with their own staff. Typically, the veterinarian’s technician will triage the pet owner’s call, and channel the client to the appropriate staff person within the practice when necessary. The technician also provides post-surgery check-ups.

Jess Trimble, DVM, Anipanion’s chief veterinary officer, understands that every veterinary practice runs differently. She advises technical staff on veterinary procedures, and assists with adjusting Anipanion to fit each customer.

Anipanion provides a number of “telehealth coaches,” of which Trimble is one, who assist practices in using Anipanion features, including integrating with their practice management software, integrating with Stripe to handle payment processing, or customizing their marketing of the service.

To assist users, as well as prospects, Trimble has been creating a library of videos and resources, including a multiple RACE-approved courses on how to use telehealth and how to market this new service.

Saving pet owners time

Pet owners find that Anipanion can help to save a lot of time. Ranga Gunasekaran recently took his new puppy to his local veterinarian in Brooklyn, New York, only to learn that she needed to go to the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan for gastropexy surgery and a laparoscopic spay, at the same time. Initially, he was concerned when he learned that the center was fully booked for several months, but then he learned that he could get a virtual appointment via Anipanion within two weeks.  The virtual visit was perfect, and surgery followed only 10 days later.  Using Anipanion meant only one visit to drop the puppy off and, after sending a photo of the puppy’s sutures, a trip to bring her home.

woman on smart phone with cat

Saving veterinary practices time and money

Another practice that uses Anipanion is Holt Veterinary Clinic, located in Dallas, Texas, and owned by Geoff Bratton, DVM. Bratton wanted a way to serve his clients after business hours, and, after shopping around, he chose Anipanion. He said that it was because of the responsive service he received, including Anipanion being open to feedback and ideas. For example, he said that Anipanion was willing to add optional responses for his callers, letting them know that someone would be available in (a) 10 minutes, (b) an hour, or (c) 3 hours. He was also pleased the Anipanion allowed him to customize the app, using his logo and the color scheme familiar to his clients. One feature that was important to Bratton, which he didn’t find elsewhere, was that all of his doctors could be in the same account yet have their own personal logins. In the event that a doctor handling a case was not available, he thought it was important to be able to see that doctor’s account.

Bratton began using the service in October 2019—shortly before everything changed because of COVID-19. He was so glad and waxed eloquently about this added service.

When I asked Bratton to give me an example of how he has used the app, he offered multiple stories:

  • One client was concerned about what his dog ate and was assured through their virtual exchange that what he ate was not toxic, so he need not rush to the ER.
  • Another client’s dog suffers from toxic ingestion, so he can walk the client through dosing hydrogen peroxide to empty the stomach—again avoiding a trip to the ER,
  • Other clients send videos of limping dogs or lacerations. A Holt Clinic staff member has been able to assure the clients that they can wait until the morning to visit the vet.

Bratton has a good sense of how the veterinary practice has changed and what is necessary going forward.  He said, “In the old days, all vets took their own after-hours calls. But then came the days of the clinic voice mail and shareholder-owned emergency clinics.” For a time, the practices were just unavailable to clients outside of business hours.

“But now,” he said, “the market is becoming more and more competitive and emergency clinics have been sold to corporate entities and are astronomically priced.”

Bratton reasoned, “We have come full circle, and it behooves clinic owners to be accessible to their clients after hours. This accessibility bonds your clients to your clinic hard and fast, which is so important in a dense market with many other options. It also benefits both the client and the practice financially. The client can avoid high emergency fees; the clinic can capture fees for those services that are diverted away from the after-hours ER and to your clinic the next day, by being accessible through the app after hours.”

Conclusion?  In addition to being able to provide exceptional service to his clients, Bratton’s investment in Anipanion has more than paid off financially.


For this series, the author has featured the following telehealth companies:

Are you a veterinary telemedicine company not listed above? Contact the author for a chance to be included in the series!

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Carolyn C. Shadle, PhD, is the director of Interpersonal Communication Services, Inc., which assists individuals and organizations in improving their interpersonal relations. Those in the veterinary profession know her as the co-author of "Communication Case Studies: Building Interpersonal Skills in the Veterinary Practice," published by the American Animal Hospital Association, and by her presentations at regional and national veterinary conferences. She holds a PhD in organizational and interpersonal communication.

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