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A Bill Could Increase Access To Telehealth For Pets

Photo: Hannah Grace

Telehealth has expanded during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, lawmakers are looking into a plan that could increase access for pets.

Jennifer Hobgood with the ASPCA, an animal rights organization, says letting people use telehealth to access veterinarians could mean animals that are getting little or no care now, could start receiving some care.

“Telemedicine is especially helpful for pet owners who have difficulty accessing care due to income, transportation—you can’t put a cat or a dog on public transportation—or disability, for senior citizens, for those who live in remote or underserved communities, those folks who aren’t going into the clinic now and accessing this gold standard of Cadillac care.”

Some veterinarians are raising concerns that a hands-on exam is needed in many cases for animal care since many pet owners don’t have the training to accurately assess their pets’ cues.

An amended bill is moving forward in the Senate that would allow veterinarians to practice telehealth, but limits the circumstances when that would be allowed before the vet has had an in-person meeting and established a patient relationship with an animal.

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