Getting timely access to a veterinarian can be challenging for many livestock farmers.
It’s not only a problem for Canadian farmers: a shortage of veterinarians is being felt around the globe, as farmers across the U.S., the UK, and Australia struggle to find health care for their animals, says Dr. Colin Yates, CEO of a VETSon, a telemedicine platform launched in 2022.
The brainchild of Yates and his father, veterinarian Dr. Glen Yates, VETSon delivers livestock services using an AI-powered virtual health care platform. “This frees up time for the veterinarian to essentially just sit on their computer or on their phone and have a conversation rather than making that 45-minute drive, and in some cases in Canada it could be a three-hour drive, to do a simple call that could have been done over the phone and in 15 minutes.”
Yates says VETSon gives farmers access to veterinarians when needed. It all starts with the VETSon app, which allows farmers to book virtual video calls with their veterinarian, order medication and supplies from an online store, access direct-to-farm shipping, and access notes, prescriptions and invoices left by the veterinarian.
The virtual veterinary service won Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show Innovations Program Livestock Award for 2023 at the annual farm industry showcase at Woodstock, Ont.
“It’s as simple as taking your smartphone and going to the Apple Store, or the Google Play Store, and downloading the app for free,” notes Yates. “And then if you don’t have a veterinarian, we will tie you to a veterinarian. Or, we’re looking to partner with other veterinary practices across Canada to make sure that they can get their clients onto the app and work with their clients. We’re not looking to poach their clients, we’re looking to make sure that veterinarians get better access to their own clients and vice versa.”
VETSon currently serves farmers across Ontario and plans to expand the virtual service across Canada and around the globe. Pay as-you-go and monthly plans are currently available.
Check out the full conversation with Yates and RealAgriculture’s Bernard Tobin, filmed at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show 2023, brought to you by PRIDE Seeds.
Tap here for more coverage of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show.