Online vet care services spring up in China

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 14, 2021
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Golden retriever, Alexander, has been suffering from itchy and watery eyes lately. But its owner found help online instead of directly taking him to the vet.

After filling in the dog's basic details like his age, gender and medical history on an internet veterinary platform, the dog owner was soon contacted by a professional animal doctor who provided a detailed treatment and dietary plan. The whole process cost him less than 100 yuan (about 15.6 U.S. dollars).

The fast online service helped the owner save time and money these last couple of years. "We don't need to go to a vet unless there is a problem that cannot be solved online," said Xiao Long, Alexander's owner.

Many online veterinary consultation platforms, including mobile applications, have sprung up in China, illustrating the massive potential of the pet medical services market.

On Oct. 8, e-commerce giant launched an O2O healthcare service platform called JD Pet Hospital, with services covering the entire lifetime of pets from disease prevention and diagnosis to comprehensive health management on offer.

Over 3,000 veterinarians have registered on the platform, ready to provide around-the-clock pet health consultation services through messages, images and video calls, according to

A report on China's pet industry released in 2020 by Pethadoop, an analytical company, logged over 100 million pet dogs and cats living in China's urban areas. The number of the country's pet-raising families exceeded 99.8 million.

Meanwhile, the scale of China's pet market for dogs and cats surpassed 200 billion yuan last year, the report noted.

In the next three years, the value of China's pet industry is expected to maintain its steady growth to reach more than 400 billion yuan in 2023. Among its diversified sectors, pet medical care ranks the second largest after pet food, according to market research firm iResearch.

Cai Xuepeng, head of the China Veterinary Drug Association, said that online pet healthcare platforms could play a vital role in offering more convenient and affordable medical services for all pet lovers.

Yao Haifeng, director of a pet hospital in Beijing, highlighted the benefits of online medical care for both pet owners and veterinarians due to its timely services and price transparency.

"I once got a call from my regular client at 3 a.m. asking me what to do about his dog's diarrhea. If I turned down his call, the dog would suffer from the pain. But receiving the call that early in the morning made me suffer too," Yao quipped.

Online instant pet medical consultations may be a new solution to the problem. Although, according to Yao, the nascent sector also indicates some issues, such as the lack of veterinary specialists and homogenization available in the medical services.

"The burgeoning pet industry is surely developing more precise and customized services and more professional medical workers. The internet platforms can make a difference in medical resource integration during the process," Yao added. 

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