Taking your nervous cat or dog to the vets can be a stressful time, and with the rising cost of veterinary care, it’s no wonder more pet owners are turning to the internet to self-diagnose.
New app, Joii, uses complex algorithms written by vets coupled with AI technology, that will help close the gap between Google and vets. Pet owners can find out quickly if they need to seek veterinary treatment, without having to pay up front.
Joii will save pet owners up to 60% on normal vet fees, with access to a wide range of the normal services. The app is free to download, offers a free symptom checker and if the pet requires a video consultation with a vet, this costs £24.
Cat and dog policy holders with Animal Friends Pet Insurance get complimentary access to the Joii app. Joii also offers a range of free clinics run by the Joii nursing team designed to help owners keep their pets healthy. These include weight and dietary advice clinics, advice for pets travelling abroad, dental clinics, older pet checks and advice for puppies and kittens throughout their first year of life.
In 2016 the BBC reported vet fees are rising by 12% each year, and with the average price of a consultation alone costing between £25 and £60 per appointment, depending where you live in the UK. It’s one of the reasons the PDSA reported in 2018 that 3 million cats and dogs are not registered with a vet.
Whilst pet insurance to cover these costs is on the rise, regular monthly payments are not an affordable solution for many owners. There are 7.5 million cats in UK homes, but only 1.3 million are insured. Just 2.8 million dogs are insured out of an estimated total of 8.5 million.
A clinical trial by Vet-AI, the firm behind Joii, revealed that, in many cases, equally accurate diagnoses can be made by vets through a video consultation as can be made by vets giving a physical examination.
Pictured: Co-founder of Joii, Paul Hallett and his dog Ruby, who’s nervous experience at a vet clinic inspired the idea for the app.
Veterinary Dermatologist and Joii co-founder, Sarah Warren, explains:
“There are lots of cases where a face-to-face consultation with a vet is the best way to diagnose and treat a patient. Joii allows owners to find out what the best thing is for their pet; whether that be a visit to their local vet, a video consultation with one of our own vets or some free advice. Our consults are £20, but if our symptom checker advises a consult with one of our vets but the pet needs to go into a clinic, the consultation fee is fully refunded.”
Technology entrepreneur Paul Hallett, along with renowned veterinarians Robert Dawson and Sarah Warren formed Vet-AI in 2017. Joii is the first app from the firm, and the trio hopes to make a measurable difference to the lives of both animals and their owners. Paul explains:
“We are campaigning for changes around the guidelines for prescribing remotely for some areas of medicine, as this will help give people and pets access to care that aren’t eligible for the PDSA, and can’t afford practice prices. This inevitably improves animal welfare because currently these people have limited options. Both owner and pet suffer as a consequence.”
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