Telemedicine is Coming to the Vets, Part 7: Highlight on FiduVet

male doctor talking to female doctor on computer
Oct 7, 2020 at 12:47 pm
Carolyn Shadle

This is the seventh in a series of telehealth articles to be published on the VetPartners blog. Each article in the series will feature 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 FiduVet or any other telemedicine company. She received no compensation—monetary or otherwise—from VetPartners or FiduVet for authoring this article.



This is the seventh in my series on “telemedicine is coming to the vets.” My VetPartners colleagues, Caitlin DeWilde, DVM, and Eric Garcia, led me to oncologist Sue Ettinger, DVM, and, through her, I learned about a very different twist on telemedicine.

Telemedicine, telehealth, and… teleconsulting

Strictly speaking “telemedicine” is a term used to refer to remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. The term “telehealth” is reserved for the distribution of information and advice offered remotely, also by means of telecommunications technology.

Dr. Ettinger refers to FiduVet as a service she calls “teleconsulting,” which offers information and consultation by veterinary specialists to general practice veterinarians—by means of telecommunications technology.

As a veterinary oncologist, Dr. Ettinger was accustomed to being called upon for information and advice offering cancer awareness and direction on next steps. Unfortunately, her contacts were limited to veterinarians she knew, and she wanted to be available to any general practitioner who needed her expertise. In advising veterinarians, she has become aware of how difficult it is for clients to see a specialist who may be a two-hour trip away. Even then, many times clients have to wait weeks to get in to see the specialist, and family veterinarians are eager to provide information while they have to wait.

Fortunately, when Dr. Ettinger met up with Dr. DeWilde and Garcia at veterinary conferences, they began to think about how to make specialists available to general practitioners. Dr. DeWilde, leading a small animal veterinary practice in St. Louis, was well aware of how important it was to give clients baseline information of what to do, especially when they have to wait to see a specialist.  Since she’s always loved to use technology to provide better experiences for her clients and patients, she began thinking about how to use technology to connect specialists like Dr. Ettinger with general practice veterinarians.

As a digital strategist, Garcia has devoted his career to helping veterinary practices adapt all types of technology to their practices to improve patient outcomes. He was eager to join Drs. DeWilde and Ettinger. Before long, the trio connected with another VetPartners member, Mary Gardner, DVM, who had the expertise to build the proprietary software needed for this service.

illustration of woman standing between two computer screens with doctors on them

FiduVet: Connecting general practitioners with veterinary specialists

FiduVet is the result of what brilliant minds can do when they have a vision. Over a couple of years, the group brainstormed and launched their vet-to-specialist platform earlier this year—just in time to help those unable to travel because of COVID-19. Currently, FiduVet has specialists available in dermatology, internal medicine, and oncology. More specialties will be added in time.

This collaboration is a win for all concerned. General practitioners are relieved to have someone to turn to, clients are able to get much-needed advice and help, and specialists are eager to help and appreciate the extra work, often at flexible hours from home.

A quality process has been developed. It begins with the general veterinarian uploading the patient’s medical records, which a case coordinator reviews before connecting the veterinarian with the appropriate specialist. The specialist has the ability to review the case and consult through a phone or video connection with the general practitioner and provide written recommendations (which can be saved in the practice’s management software) to share with clients.

The glowing testimonials of two clients speak volumes.

“It is great to have access to more specialist opinions, especially when there are multiple treatment options,” said Dr. R Allen. “Dr. Sue’s incredibly kind and helpful in guiding testing, treatment, and my nerves. Sometimes, as a pet owner and a practitioner, we need to talk about scenarios and outcomes. It was important for me to figure out what was right for me and what was right for my pet.”

“…it was reassuring to my clients and myself, that there was a qualified specialist looking over the cases,” said Dr. M. Wixsom. “It was well worth the consult!”

Technology is surely providing some unique services. FiduVet is one of them.


VetPartners plans to publish one article of this series per month. The author has featured, or will feature, 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!


Like this article? Check out our blog for more informative articles!

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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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