There aren’t many issues where Florida and California agree, especially when legislatures in both states pass similar laws unanimously. Now we have one: virtual care and a telemedicine VCPR.

That’s right, despite opposition from trade associations, on March 6, Florida joined the ranks of states opening up the privilege for pet owners to start a relationship with veterinarians through telemedicine. The combined vote of the Florida House and Senate was 153-0. Legislators rejected the argument that even though telemedicine works for people and their healthcare, somehow it cannot work for pets.

Legislators rejected the argument that the entire Veterinary care system would collapse, or that pets would be harmed left and right, if telemedicine was an alternative for pet owners. And, with some “thunder and lightning,” the Florida Senate Rules Committee rejected an argument advanced by a trade association that there’s no access to Veterinary care issue in Florida, only pet owners who don’t want to go to a clinic.

What’s the lesson? Reality has a way of catching up with politicians.

There now are 108 million Americans (just shy of one-third) who live in jurisdictions where a pet owner can launch a relationship with a licensed veterinarian through virtual technologies. I’m sure the battle will continue in other states, but it’s safe to say that Veterinary telemedicine is here to stay in the United States no matter how hard some groups try to “roll it back.”

How will telemedicine reach the other states, where 220 million Americans today may only start medical care of their pets by securing an appointment at a Veterinary clinic and being seen in person? Hard to say, but it may take until the oldest generation of veterinarians retire and no longer lead Veterinary medical associations.

These veterinarians aren’t mean spirited, but they seem to react to change like the measles: to be avoided at all costs. They manufacture arguments without the facts and ignore the fact that Veterinary telemedicine isn’t harming pets or pet owners. It’s hard to conclude that economics and a fear of lost income aren’t the root causes. Somehow Veterinary telemedicine will hurt their pocketbooks, even though it hasn’t happened in human healthcare with so much more money at stake.

It will just take time, and fortunately groups like the Veterinary Virtual Care Association are patient and willing to build upon successes to keep moving forward.