Emotional support animals, or ESAs, are often misunderstood in the media, but the truth is that they are an essential tool that can help people lessen the symptoms of their emotional or psychological conditions. Some people mistakenly feel that an emotional support animal is just a glorified pet, but these creatures can actually help to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic attacks. The truth is that as well as being pets, emotional support animals offer a unique form of support to their owners that allows them to live their best possible lives.

The problem with getting treatment from an emotional support animal is that many people who would benefit from them are self-conscious about seeking treatment and are unsure of the best people to speak to in order to get their pets certified. The good news is that, thanks to telemedicine, the process has never been easier.

Telemedicine is the process of delivering health or diagnostic advice through telecommunications technology. While it is experiencing a boom now through the advent of smartphones, it has been used in many guises since telecommunications has been invented. Thanks to smartphones, more and more patients are using telecommunications to access excellent health care, often at more convenience and at more affordable prices.

Divan Medical - emotional support cat

Emotional support animals can be an amazing form of therapy and treatment for people with emotional disorders.

So, how can you use telemedicine to get an emotional support animal? Well, first you need to know how emotional support animals become certified. To qualify as an emotional support animal, your pet needs an official document called an emotional support animal letter. This can only be obtained from a qualified medical professional, but the good news is that telemedicine completely facilitates you getting your ESA letter.

The first step is that you either make an appointment or “drop in” to an online telemedicine clinic (such as Moosh). You may have to wait to see a doctor in a virtual waiting room, but once you’re in with a medical professional, it’s just like seeing a regular doctor in person. You will use the camera on your phone to speak to the doctor and explain why you need an emotional support animal. They will ask about your condition and how the pet supports you, and you’ll be given an opportunity to discuss the ways in which your pet could act as an emotional support animal and to get advice from the medical professional. Then, if you are deemed suitable, the doctor will provide you with an emotional support animal letter, which will act as a legal document for you to ensure that your emotional support animal receives protection under the law. The letter is signed, stamped, and dated and is valid for one year, so if you wish to continue to register your pet as an emotional support animal, you’ll need to have another appointment to renew your documentation.

There are so many perks to using telemedicine in this way, but the key advantage for many people with the conditions that can benefit most from ESAs is that it allows them to see a non-judgmental medical professional in a way that is convenient for them. Sometimes, medical professionals who are not as educated in emotional support animals can be overly judgmental about people seeking this treatment. In using telemedicine, it is much easier to seek out someone who specializes in this treatment and who is used to seeing and treating people just like you.

Divan Medical - man with dog and computer

In the new age of telemedicine, it’s never been easier to get your pet certified as an emotional support animal.

If you suffer from a condition that makes it difficult for you to leave the house, it’s also very helpful that you can use telemedicine from the comfort of your own home. The paradox is that often, in getting an emotional support animal, you will feel less anxious and more able to leave the house and live a happy and fulfilled life, but your symptoms can often make it very difficult to get the documentation you need to properly access this treatment. When you get a telemedical appointment, you’ll be able to speak to someone openly and honestly from your own home, comfortable in the knowledge that they won’t judge you and they’ll be happy to give you the advice and documentation that you need.

You may already be getting the benefits of an emotional support animal from your regular pet, but if you have the documentation, you’ll be able to get benefits while traveling or renting a home that would not be open to you otherwise. In using telemedicine to access these benefits, you’re empowering yourself to take control of your own life and health with the help of telemedical professionals who want to make sure that patients get the chance to access the medical care that they need without any fear of judgment.