Phone A Vet – For Veterinary Professionals 

Dear veterinarian – introducing you to Phone A Vet

Phone A Vet (PAV) is a smartphone app connecting animal owners with veterinarians. It’s for farmers, pet owners or anyone having questions about animals but wanting the assurance that comes from speaking directly with a veterinarian. It’s for veterinarians who want to exercise their knowledge and experience outside a practice setting, at their convenience, and instead of giving free phone advice, they can get paid for it.

The animal owner uses the app to send a text with a question or outline of a problem and can upload pictures, videos and other information. The veterinarians online receive an alert and can review the case (and the owners star rating) and decide if they want to take it. The first veterinarian to accept the case can then start an interactive 15-minute tele-videoconference session with the animal owner. All of this happens on animal owners’ and veterinarians’ smartphones.

The smartphone camera lets the veterinarian and the animal owner see and talk to each other.  The rear camera switch lets the owner show the veterinarian the animal and its environment. A visible timer counts down the 15 minutes and then cuts the tele-videoconferencing session. After the session the veterinarian can send a text message via the app to provide follow up information to the animal owner. The veterinarian’s name, town and state/territory of residence and registrations are visible on the app along with a short bio and areas and species of interest and experience, however phone numbers and email are not revealed.

At the end of a session, feedback can be provided using a star rating and comments field by the animal owner and the veterinarian. All feedback is reviewed by Phone A Vet admin before being published and anything that is written that is hurtful or inappropriate will be censored.

Sessions are a maximum of 15 minutes for which the animal owner pays $24.95 AU inclusive of GST. Of this the veterinarian receives $18.00 AU and Phone A Vet receives $6.95 AU (to cover costs of video, voice and text communications, the financial transactions and various hosting charges). The financial transactions are run through a third-party provider, Stripe, who’s software provides the technical, fraud prevention, and banking infrastructure to make and receive payments over the internet.

The App is designed for use on iPhone and Android smartphones and is downloadable free from Google Play or the App Store. There are actually two Phone A Vet apps – one is for animal owners the other is for veterinarians. Animal owners register on the app via their smartphone. Veterinarians however must register via the Phone A Vet website  where the form and instructions reside. The completed form and scanned copies of drivers licence or other photo ID and certificate of veterinary registration are required by Phone A Vet admin and Stripe as antifraud measures. Once approved the veterinarian is provided with login details and can download the veterinary version of the Phone A Vet app and commence providing services.

When animal owners download the PAV-for-animal-owners app and register on the App they enter their credit card details. And when veterinarians register via the website they provide bank account details. At the end of a session the financial transaction occurs and receipts and invoices generated. If the session is interrupted or doesn’t go well the veterinarian can refund the owner the full fee. There is no provision to refund part of the fee. If the veterinarian refunds the fee then the veterinarian doesn’t get paid.

The Phone A Vet veterinarians must be registered to practice in Australia. As a provider of services for another company (PAV) the veterinarians are categorised as contractors. As a contractor you will need an ABN and if your turnover is more than a certain amount you will need to register for GST.  In 2019 this amount is ≥$75,000. You can register for an ABN for free at It is highly recommended to have professional indemnity insurance of at least $10M.

Veterinarians are bound by the veterinary practice and medicine dispensing laws of the state or territory where they are registered which means they may not always be able to practice tele-medicine or provide tele-diagnoses depending on the laws of the jurisdiction and whether the animal owner meets the jurisdiction’s criteria of being a bona-fide client of the veterinarian. When a request comes in, the veterinarian can see the location and case details and decide if they want to accept the session.

There is an obligation to report notifiable diseases.

The veterinarians are however able to provide educational tele-advice to anyone anywhere, and if they fear breaking the laws around telemedicine, they may take the approach of using hypothetical scenarios just as financial advisors, lawyers and veterinarians do on talk back radio.

When practicing tele-veterinary medicine, a clinical record must be kept in line with veterinary practice laws. The session record is kept on the apps of both the animal owner and the veterinarian that can be accessed anytime, however for a complete and accurate clinical record it is recommended to keep additional notes.

The animal owner’s consent for the use of telemedicine is obtained and documented in writing by their acceptance of the Terms and Conditions and ongoing use of the App. The animal owners are made aware of the veterinarian’s identity, location, where registered, and potential privacy and security issues via the app and its Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, which must be accepted before using the app.

There are protections for veterinarians in the Terms and Conditions for animal owners. It is recommended that you read the Terms and Conditions for animal owners to understand those protections. The protections include the animal owner understanding and accepting the risks of errors in clinical judgement that may occur with tele veterinary medicine and the animal owner agreeing to behave appropriately.

We welcome any comments, queries and questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us via or through the app (go to Settings and Support).

The Phone A Vet team

  • Here are the Terms and Conditions for Veterinarians

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