Veterinary telemedicine and the VCPR entered a new phase when Arizona and California legislatures overwhelmingly passed VVCA-sponsored bills. At the same time, the warnings of doom and gloom ring hollow because no complaints have been filed anywhere claiming that telemedicine visits harmed a pet. What I want to focus on today is the refusal of the veterinary establishment to recognize any value in the precedent that all 50 states recognize, make that welcome, telemedicine in human healthcare. Telemedicine for people is a medical staple even recognized by the federal government, yet somehow the veterinary community (and legislators) are warned to stand guard so that none of these realities contaminate how we take care of pets in a time of veterinary shortages.

This remains the weakest argument I encounter from critics of veterinary telemedicine. Common sense suggests that if it works for people it works for pets.  Yet we’re to believe that apparently human healthcare got it all wrong despite telemedicine’s popularity and utility in a continuing environment of human healthcare shortages. Veterinarians are urged to stay vigilant in ensuring that pet owners (who cannot access in-person care) not be allowed to use virtual video tools to get help.

Here’s the latest example of how hollow this argument has become. I went to Stanford so I receive the monthly Stanford magazine. Why should you care? Well, this month’s publication included a full-page telemedicine ad from Stanford Medicine. Permit me to boast, but Stanford Medicine is a serious institution and universally applauded in medical circles. What did the September issue offer? An ad as follows:

“Save yourself a trip. Visit your doctor by video. Doctor appointments have never been so easy. Most Stanford Health Care clinics offer video visits for your convenience. Whether you are a first time or established patient, a video visit can be appropriate for both primary and specialty care appointments to diagnose and treat many conditions.”

The ad included visuals and details for contacting Stanford Health Care, but the message was clear…and blunt. Read it again and ask yourself: does it make sense for critics to claim that none of what Stanford Medicine offers human patients has relevance for pet healthcare? Really? It’s not possible that a video chat with an experienced veterinarian who is comfortable with what she sees could provide some guidance and comfort for pet owners, and relief for their pets? Is this truly where veterinary medicine in late 2023 sees itself? As you evaluate veterinary telemedicine for yourself, answer this question: why has no state puIled back from its adoption of laws allowing a doctor-patient relationship to be established virtually? Maybe you will be willing to see how telemedicine works out in the growing list of states that embrace telemedicine for both species: people and companion animals.