The chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Pet Wellness Clinics says the COVID-19 pandemic will change how veterinary services are offered in the future. Dr. Mike Graves says the company has seen a sharp increase in the use of telemedicine services as fewer people are leaving their homes but still seeking care for their pets. Pet Wellness is also moving forward with plans to open two new clinics over the next few months.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Graves said he expects changes to take place for both animal and human medical care.

“I think there’s going to be a paradigm shift in general, not just with us (but) I think with everybody,” said Graves. “Telemedicine’s been around for much longer on the human side but that’s even increased dramatically during this whole episode. It’ll slow up a little bit when people actually start getting out more, but I think it’s going to be a continual part of the practices and probably increase over time.”

Pet Wellness Clinics began offering telemedicine services last year, but Graves said that is just one way it is providing care for pets. He says the company’s central Indiana locations have been open to the public with restrictions on the number of people coming in and social distancing measures in place. 

“(Telemedicine) has been very useful for older folks that can’t get out or don’t feel comfortable getting out. We’ve had several people that were actually COVID-positive people that couldn’t come out because they were quarantined that have used the service.”

Graves says they’ve stayed “comfortably busy” during the pandemic because of the need for services.

“I can’t say we’re not taking a hit because of this, everybody is, but probably less than some other places because we have a variety of ways for people to come in and see us.” 

Graves adds the company is continuing with its plan to open a new clinic in the Broad Ripple neighborhood in Indianapolis next month, as well as another location in Carmel in June. He says those plans were put into motion before the pandemic hit the U.S.

Graves says he expects changes to take place for both animal and human medical care.