Whitehorse veterinarian Kristenn Magnussen talks to Angela Moritsugu with her dog Maynka in Toronto from her basement office on May 23. The two communicated via Healthy Pets, an online veterinary telehealth provider connecting pet owners with licensed vets. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon vet takes practice online

Kristenn Magnusson joins Healthy Pets

A Whitehorse veterinarian is taking her work online.

In early May, Kristenn Magnusson joined Healthy Pets, an online veterinary telehealth provider connecting pet owners with licensed vets.

Magnusson is the first vet in the North to work with Healthy Pets, a service she said makes a lot of sense for the Yukon where communities are spread out and access to a vet may not be easily accessible for all.

Through Healthy Pets, “pet parents” can pay to speak with licensed vets for a consultation over the internet of up to 15 minutes. The website directs visitors to a list of options with the vet closest to them at the top of the list.

“I’m happy (I) can offer this,” Magnusson said in a May 21 interview.

Magnusson is not able to issue prescriptions or treatment over the internet, but can provide advice, which could include making an in-clinic appointment. Other times it may just mean alleviating the concerns of a pet owner over a minor issue their animal might be having.

And though veterinary telemedicine in Canada may be a new format, the concept of a place pet owners can reach out to for clear medical advice from licensed veterinarians isn’t. It’s something that’s been talked about by many over the years given the number of calls that come in to vet clinics from pet owners who are looking for information, but may not necessarily be able to bring their animal in right away.

“We got a lot of phone inquiries,” Magnusson said of working in a clinic.

When those calls come in it’s often the clinic receptionist who ends up dealing with it as vets are booked solid with appointments.

She’s hopeful Healthy Pets will give pet owners a place they can contact licensed vets without adding to the number of calls coming directly into vet clinics from people looking for information. And unlike a typical phone call the Healthy Pets platform allows the vet to see the animal over the internet if the video option is used.

Magnusson acknowledges an in-clinic appointment is always the better option, but when that’s not available telehealth consultations can provide accurate information from a licensed vet without forcing owners to go down a Google rabbit hole.

It was thanks to a spot on television show Dragon’s Den that Magnusson first found out about Healthy Pets. When her dad saw the show, he called her and told her about it.

It wasn’t long before she emailed the company to find out more and eventually signed on to provide services for it.

Magnusson began her career as a vet in Vancouver 12 years ago, moving up to the territory in 2013. Since 2015, when her first child was born, she’s been staying home with her now two kids, though maintaining her veterinary license and doing some veterinary work when she can.

It’s also not uncommon for her to take calls from friends wondering about an issue with their own pets.

Talking pet health is something she genuinely enjoys and she’s happy to take those calls, she said. In fact, it’s something she’s enjoyed most of her life. She was just four the first time she told her parents she wanted to be a vet.

Healthy Pets CEO Emma Harris stressed the importance Healthy Pets places on having quality, licensed vets available. The company has a staffer tasked with verifying each vet is licensed, affiliated with a vet clinic (in Magnusson’s case she’s affiliated with All Paws and Alpine Vet) and that the clinic has a good online reputation, she said. Vets are not able to go live on the platform until that verification happens.

Magnusson said she’s hopeful Healthy Pets will help supplement the already existing veterinary services available in the territory.

“It’s definitely new ground,” she said

To her knowledge Healthy Pets is the only such service in Canada.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Pets and PeopleYukon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

From downtown Toronto, Angela Moritsugu with her dog Maynka talk to Whitehorse veterinarian Kristenn Magnussen in Whitehorse on May 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse veterinarian Kristenn Magnussen talks to Angela Moritsugu with her dog Maynka in Toronto from her basement office on May 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read