New ASPCA survey reveals pet owners need access to telemedicine


Virtual care can serve as lifeline for pets whose pet owners experience financial, geographical, and logistical barriers

New data1 from an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) national survey has revealed that one quarter of pet owners said there was a time in the last 2 years when they wanted or needed veterinary care but were unable to get it. Additionally, over two-thirds of respondents (69%) that had an unmet need for veterinary care in the past 2 years reported an interest in using veterinary telemedicine if it were available, and 2 out of 3 respondents (66%) reported that they would see a veterinarian more often if telemedicine were available.

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According to an ASPCA release,2 telemedicine can be critical for pet owners experiencing significant financial, geographical, and logistical barriers, including seniors, working families, and those who live in underserved or remote areas with few or no veterinarians. The current shortage of veterinarians and other veterinary professionals is also causing obstacles for pet owners trying to access care, with a Banfield study suggesting that 75 million pets in the US could be without veterinary care by 2030.3

Additionally, telemedicine can benefit pets frightened of going to the veterinary clinic, or those who are potentially aggressive or difficult to transport. In many cases, it may be the only way for those animals to receive care.

"When used responsibly, telemedicine can reduce animal suffering, address financial and logistical barriers to veterinary care, keep pets in their homes, and extend the capacity of animal shelters to serve animals and their communities," expressedCamille DeClementi, VMD, DABVT, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, in the release.2 "Telemedicine was essential to ensuring pet owners could access veterinary care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this data shows that not only is the demand for telemedicine services still high but the benefits of virtual veterinary care extend far beyond the pandemic."

Early during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and state policymakers issued emergency orders that temporarily waived the regulations and laws in place inhibiting veterinarians from using telemedicine. These rules in the pandemic have expired, and laws are blocking access to virtual; care by either preventing veterinarians from establishing new patient relationships using telemedicine technology or by requiring veterinarians conduct an in person physical examination of a patient before a veterinarian may legally diagnose or treat animal ailments.

The ASPCA supports public policy that empowers highly trained, licensed veterinarians to identify when to use telemedicine technology and is urging state policymakers to advance measures that will enable veterinarians to use telemedicine to deliver safe, effective veterinary appointments. Several states are considering proposals that would expand access to virtual veterinary care, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, and Michigan.2

Learn more about ASPCA's efforts to increase access to veterinary care or sign the petition in support of expanding access to telemedicine here:


  1. ASPCA national public survey on access to veterinary care & telemedicine. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. March 15, 2023. Accessed April 10, 2023.
  2. Pet owners need access to telemedicine amid nationwide shortage of veterinarians, new ASPCA survey reveals. News release. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. April 10, 2023. Accessed April 10, 2023.
  3. 75 million pets may not have access to veterinary care by 2030, new Banfield study finds. Banfield Pet Hospital. September 14, 2020. Accessed April 10, 2023.
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Aaron Smiley, DVM
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