Lawsuit in California aims to make telemedicine for animals permanent after pandemic

This file photo shows a veterinarian examining a dog. (Getty Images)

This file photo shows a veterinarian examining a dog. (Getty Images)

A group of veterinarians and pet owners in California is asking the state to permit more telemedicine for animals even after the pandemic ends.

In a federal lawsuit to be filed Monday, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the state should not end waivers allowed during the pandemic for remote visits and asks that the rules be relaxed further.

“People can use telemedicine for themselves and their children, so why not for their pets?” said Brandy Kuentzel, general counsel at the San Francisco SPCA. “Telemedicine can be a vital tool to improve the lives of pets and the people who love them.”

The pandemic has changed how people live and work, and many want those changes to remain after the threat of COVID-19 fades. As the lawsuit notes, people “live in a world that has grown daily accustomed to medical appointments, court hearings, and classroom instruction conducted by Zoom and other online teleconference platforms.”

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