Most people love their pets like their own kids. No wonder spending for pet-related products and services remain strong despite economic slowdown. And if you’re an animal lover or have a degree related to pet care, you may want to follow the path of this Toronto-based site named PetsMD.com – touted as the first online vet service in the US today. Here are the highlights of the article in Reuters:
Last year they raised $30,000 from friends and family and registered their website, which includes their trademarked Symptom Checker tool (they also built an iPhone app for it) that helps users diagnose what is wrong with their dog or cat, before calling a vet or booking an appointment. PetsMD is free for pet owners, but charges vets an annual listing fee, ranging from $59.95 to $249, much like an apartment rental site would charge a landlord. So far 30,000 vets have listed their clinics or services on the site
Americans will spend more than $12 billion this year on veterinary care – an increase of about $1 billion from the 2008 total – according to the 2009-10 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
In addition, Cannon said PetsMD will be looking to partner with some major pet brands and is already in talks with a few companies. Cannon said right now they only handle bookings for people with dogs and cats, but will be expanding their portfolio to include exotics at some point. But Cannon said their main challenge is building awareness for the site and the unique content and services it contains for pet owners.