Legislators in both US states want to allow veterinarians to carry on virtual visits.
Current legal requirements establish that a veterinarian must physically see an animal before providing any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Arizona approved earlier this month a veterinary telemedicine law allowing pet owners to access telemedicine services after licensed veterinarians establish a virtual veterinary client patient relationship (VCPR).
Introduced by Senator T.J. Shope and supported by the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), veterinarians will be able to refer a client to a local veterinarian and prescribe non-controlled drugs or medications for a short-term virtually.
According to the bill, the veterinarian must inform the client of all medical alternatives and may eventually recommend an in-person visit.
Senate Bill 1053 was signed by Governor Katie Hobbs and it will take effect in August.
Discussions in California
But a new proposal in California wants to redefine the veterinary-client-patient relationship and empower veterinarians in The Golden State to use video technology as a prior assessment before deciding the need for an in-person examination.
The sponsors of law AB 1339, including the San Diego Humane Society and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), aim to make veterinarians more accessible especially in remote areas.
“As we face a statewide shortage of veterinarians, the virtual house call is an excellent option for our pets to improve access to healthcare when deemed appropriate by an attending veterinarian,” said Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal.
The bill, introduced in February, is current being discussed and amended in the state’s Assembly.
According to the Veterinary Care Accessibility Project (VCAS), the accessibility to a veterinarian in California has dropped to 47/100. A Banfield Pet Hospital survey estimated the number of pets without vet care may rise to 75 million by 2030 nationwide.
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