Pet Policies

Closing the Gap: Multifamily, Vet Industry on Similar Pursuit to Improve Accessibility of Pet Information

    While the pandemic has yielded few winners, pets would tend to disagree.

    They are receiving more walks, playtime activities and overall attention from their suddenly homebound owners. As we recently alluded to, adoption rates have spiked during the pandemic, which has left many shelters empty. Foster activity has seen a pronounced uptick, as well.

    A recent article in Maryland Today, produced by the University of Maryland, relayed a handful of statistics that underscore the influx of happier pets and owners. According to a study by VitusVet, 52% of respondents said they felt more loved and comforted by their pets than usual, 53% played more with their pet at home and 39% said they took their dog on more walks.

    But it was something else in the article that caught our eye.

    Apparently, a disconnect exists in the veterinary industry concerning the ability to share medical records. More specifically, veterinarians often have no way to access the medical records of animal patients who arrived in an emergency room after hours. That means vets often have to treat them without knowing potentially life-saving information like pre-existing conditions or active medications.

    The parallels to the apartment industry are well apparent. Like the veterinarian, property managers often welcome pets to their property without having any pertinent background information. While that scenario certainly isn’t as dire as an emergency-room situation, the potential consequences with regard to risk are prominent.

    With the abundance of tech tools and capabilities now available, these scenarios are no longer acceptable for either industry. The article notes that while traditional health care providers have almost all transitioned to some degree of online records management and telemedicine, veterinarians are still relying on outdated communication tools like postcards or landline phones to remain in contact with pet owners. In most cases, medical records aren’t shared digitally.

    Tech providers in the veterinary space are working to bridge that gap by creating digital platforms that enable veterinary practices and pet owners to share medical records. The tech also allows veterinarians to schedule appointments, send treatment reminders to pet owners and relay monthly payment plan options.

    Fortunately, the apartment industry is moving in a similar direction. Platforms have been developed that provide insight for property managers pertaining to a pet’s behavior history and that of its owner. The digital profile will remain active if the pet and owner relocate to a new home and can be accessed by the new property management team. As in the veterinary example, this eliminates much of the guesswork and paper processes pertaining to pets. Perhaps equally important, it helps to mitigate risk for property owners and allows pets to be evaluated on their own behavior history rather than breed, weight or any other pre-existing characteristics.

    As pets steadily become an even more integral part of our lives, the processes that surround them should provide as much visibility and transparency as possible. Thankfully, it appears the veterinary and multifamily industries are heading in that direction.