What would you do if you had a sick dog but you lived 700 km from the nearest vet? Or your 500 kg horse is injured but you have no car? Maybe you don’t want to take your vomiting cat on the inner city train? One vet realised not everyone can easily get their pets the care they need and came up with the world’s first virtual veterinary clinic.

Dr Sue Samuelsson is the founder of i-Vet, which helps people who can’t easily access their local vet to get treatment for their pets. Dr Sue runs a veterinary telemedicine service, which means she meets with her patients (and their owners) through a video conferencing platform like Skype or Facetime. She’ll guide the owners to perform tests on their pets and might ask them to feel the animal’s tummy, or measure its heart rate. From there she’ll advise them on the best course of action – whether that be for her to send a prescription to the pharmacy for them to pick up, or perhaps talking them through a treatment for their pet using household medicines.

Before i-Vet, nothing like this existed in Australia. This meant that Dr Sue had to figure out everything from scratch – from what platforms and programs to use, to working out legislation around what kind of consultation she could provide. “If we knew how hard it was to set up, we never would’ve done it!”

But to Dr Sue, who spent some time living in an isolated mining town, this was a necessity. Her idea has not only changed the lives of other people living in remote communities, it has shaken up the veterinary industry and brought it firmly into the 21st century.

That’s why in 2016, the Australian Financial Review ranked Dr Sue among the top 100 Women of Influence. Sometimes the best ideas arise out of necessity.

 

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