Florida: Expand Access to Critical Vet Care!

FL H.B. 1117/S.B. 1600—Expands Access to Veterinary Telemedicine
ASPCA Position: Support
Sponsors: Rep. James Vernon Buchanan and Senator Blaise Ingoglia

Update—May 8, 2023: The PETS Act made progress throughout Florida’s 2023 legislative session, passing through committees and the full Florida House of Representatives. Unfortunately, it was unable to cross the finish line this year because Florida’s legislative session ended before the PETS Act could receive the Senate votes it needed to become law.

We will continue working to empower veterinarians in the Sunshine State to use this valuable healthcare tool and expand access to virtual veterinary care.

Next session, Florida needs to pass legislation to ensure that licensed veterinarians can connect with pet owners using the internet or video calls, enabling pets to remain in their comfortable home environment.

Currently, an outdated, pre-COVID era Florida law blocks veterinarians from practicing veterinary medicine or prescribing medication unless they have recently examined the animal in person. This has been a difficult, often unnecessary obstacle for many pet owners, animal shelters and veterinarians, especially at a time when there is a dangerous shortage of veterinary professionals to serve pets.

More About Veterinary Telemedicine

The stress and anxiety of an in-person veterinary visit can often cause pets to exhibit fearful or aggressive behaviors. Also, an in-person veterinary visit can present a difficult barrier for pet owners who have limited access to transportation, limited time off from work, those who live in veterinary deserts, or for those who are disabled and elderly and cannot take pets in themselves without additional help.

Telemedicine, also called virtual or remote appointments, can benefit ALL pet owners and pets—especially anxious, large or arthritic animals, and those living in rural or underserved areas. It even benefits veterinarians, allowing them to continue providing excellent, efficient patient care when staffing shortages make their caseloads heavier than usual.

For more actions you can take to help animals, join the ASPCA Mobile Action Team! We’ll keep you informed of important, breaking news for animals in Florida and beyond.