SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals filed a lawsuit against the California Veterinary Medical Board. They are requesting that the restrictions of telemedicine be lifted for diagnosis and treatment recommendations over the phone without a prior in-person visit.

The California Veterinary Medical Board currently has a policy stating that restrictions have been waived for telemedicine services by allowing prescription refills for 18 months after the animal has been examined in-person by the veterinarian and after the first prescription of the drug, according to the CVMB website.

The SFPCA is requesting that no in-person examination of the animal is required to receive telemedicine from a licensed veterinarian.

“The mission of the San Francisco SPCA is to save and protect animals, provide care and treatment, advocate for their welfare and enhance the human-animal bond,” according to the SFPCA’s website.

In a teleconference meeting report, Bruce Wagman, a California licensed lawyer who represents SFSPCA, said that almost every other state besides California interprets veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) to allow telemedicine without prior examination of the animal. He said the current California waiver is now the same as what the law has always been in other states.

Doctor of veterinary medicine, Dr. Cox, said that being able to treat a terminal animal via telehealth can prevent increased pain or injury during transport, the chance of the owner taking treatment into their own hands or the chance of the owner not seeking treatment at all.