Legalizing Telemedicine for Pets in California

Legalizing Telemedicine for Pets in California

What is Assembly Bill 1399?

California has always been on the cutting edge of technology, from the famous startups of Silicon Valley to the emerging biotechnology industry in Los Angeles. Yet at the same time, the state is one of the most strict when it comes to healthcare technologies like veterinary telemedicine. As medical professionals and their human patients rely more and more on virtual visits and digital checkups, we strongly believe that this same freedom should be given to our pets. Assembly Bill 1399, in short, would remove much of the unnecessary red tape and regulation surrounding veterinary telemedicine care in California and we need your help!

Why is it important?

Many people in the Golden State do not live within close proximity to a proper veterinary facility. Others in lower income neighborhoods may also lack the proper insurance or healthcare plans. Some are unable to get to the vet in the first place because of unequal access to transportation. Veterinary telemedicine changes all of that! Not only is it oftentimes cheaper than a traditional visit to the vet, but it also allows anyone no matter where they live to gain equitable access to professional care for their pets.

How can I help?

While our actions cannot fully guarantee the passing of this bill, there are still many ways we can contribute. Some of the ways we can encourage the success of this bill is by signing petitions, bringing awareness on social media platforms, or even emailing your state senator to vote YES on the Assembly Bill 1399. Remember, every little contribution helps! Use the link below to send an automated email to your local senator!

Recent Updates

The Assembly Bill 1399 was last amended on July 13, 2023 by the Senate. As of right now, the amended law states that a veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is needed to perform veterinary medicine. A VCPR requires that both the patient and vet understand the medical professional’s responsibility to diagnose the pet’s medical condition, the veterinarian has enough knowledge of the client’s pet to diagnose the condition, whether through virtual and in-person means, and the vet is available for followup appointments. In order to partake in veterinary telehealth, the vet must hold a license authorized in the state of the client, include prior warnings about the use and limitations of telehealth, and ask for client consent. This bill also makes it so that veterinarians can order or prescribe medication for animal patients. This upcoming August, the Bill will go through another committee vote, so it’s important that you do your part and encourage the passing of A.B. 1399 as the voting date comes closer. Read the actual bill here:

Fourth of July Pet Safety

Fourth of July Pet Safety

Steps to Take Before Celebrations

  • Make sure that the identification tags on your pet’s have up-to-date information on them in the case they are lost
  • Microchipping is another great option to allow you to get your pet back if they get lost
  • Take a recent photograph of your pet to help identify them amongst other dogs of the same or similar breed
  • Consider leaving your pets at home during celebrations if they are historically anxious or rowdy during large gatherings or with many noises

Steps to Take During Celebrations

  • When attending parties, it’s best to leave your pets safe at home, since loud fireworks, other loud sounds, and unfamiliar environments can be anxiety inducing for your pet. Another option is keeping them in another safe space, such as a crate or room during firework displays, to avoid causing unnecessary stress or anxiety.
  • Make sure to keep party decorations or celebratory items from your pet’s reach (i.e. glow sticks, sparklers, or fireworks), as they can be a choking hazard. It’s also a good idea to keep them away from the barbecue while it’s still running.
  • During the summer season, when heat and humidity are commonplace, your pet is more susceptible to dehydration and heatstroke. It’s best to keep them inside, or feed them plenty of water (cold water preferably) when outdoors. Just make sure you’re not leaving your pet outside for long periods of time, as it can be extremely dangerous.
  • Try to keep your pets away from human foods at 4th of July potlucks, as many of the foods may contain unknown ingredients that are toxic to pets. If you think your pet is suffering from food poisoning, and reveals symptoms such as excessive drooling, lethargy, diarrhea, and/or vomiting, contact the Animal Poison Control Center right away.
  • If you’re traveling on the holiday weekend, it’s always a good idea to leave your pet behind with a pet sitter, as they may feel more comfortable in a familiar space. However, you can also bring them on vacation, as long as you follow safety precautions.

Steps to Take After Celebrations

  • If you hosted a celebration party at your home, check for any debris from fireworks or other party goods to ensure that your pet does not accidentally ingest them
  • If you used lighter fluids for a backyard campfire, check to see if it was put away properly and that no extra liquid leaked out onto the ground as it is hazardous to both humans and animals
  • If your pet shows any odd behavior following the party, consider looking into it as they may have swallowed food scraps or reacted poorly to loud noises like a fireworks display or from large crowds