Start-up makes health-care house calls ... for pets

A new start-up offers pet owners access to veterinary "house calls" — via smart phone.

"There is a tremendous gap in coverage in the veterinary market with the average pet parent only seeing a vet 1½ times per year," said Mason Revelette, who co-founded Vet On Demand with his brother, Curt.

To work around what the two call, a dated health care model for pets, they created the Vet On Demand app, which allows pet owners to have a live video chat with a veterinarian from any mobile device. The service costs $9.99 per month for unlimited calls, or $40 for a single call. For the animal's medical history, users fill out a profile that includes age, weight and breed.

The founders claim they are not competing with in-person vet visits, but rather, with "amateur" Google searches.

"Our ultimate goal is to provide health-care coverage for all pets and fill this gap," Curt Revelette said.


Dog-eat-dog world

Rider the dog
CNBC
Rider the dog

Vet On Demand is not the only app to fill that gap. Another app called, Vet24Seven, allows pet owners to text, call and have a video conference with a vet.

New York Angels board member Alicia Syrett wondered how Vet On Demand planned to differentiate itself from competitors who might use video conferencing.

"We have talked about adding in dog trainers, behaviorists, other services that every pet parent may need at some point in time," Curt Revelette told CNBC.

Dr. Katy Nelson is less concerned about including additional services. She takes issue with Vet On Demand veterinarians not being able to access a patient's full medical history, which she said would better prepare vets taking these calls.

The founders countered that the on-demand vet is able to see records from past calls, including any recommendations from the previous vet in the Vet On Demand system.

According to the Revelettes, full medical records from actual visits would be challenging to obtain given that many vets do not keep records online.

Vet On Demand told CNBC that 650 calls have been made since its November launch, and the service averages 10 calls per day.

The start-up also said 35 vets across 16 states are already in the system. According to the company, the start-up has 17,000 users and projects it will be profitable by early 2017.

The Santa Monica, California-based start-up has raised $875,000 in funding from angel investors.

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