“A veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients and is critical to the health of your animal.
) A VCPR means that all of the following are required;
1. The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the patient, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarians’ instructions.
2. The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the patient’s medical condition. This means that the veterinarian is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the patient by virtue of a timely examination of the patient by the veterinarian or medically appropriate and timely visits by the veterinarian to the operation where the patient is managed.
3. The veterinarian is readily available for follow-up evaluation or has arranged for the following: veterinary emergency coverage, and continuing care and treatment.
4. The veterinarian provides oversight of treatment, compliance, and outcome.
5. Patient records are maintained…
Maintaining patient records can be thought of as similar to having a primary “family doctor” where that individual is the one you consult with regarding prescription needs, changes in health status, or specialized services.”
In Wisconsin, an in-person physical exam is needed for a legitimate VCPR.
Therefore, a telemedicine appointment is not sufficient per Wisconsin law to establish a Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR). This may be confusing to new clients. With the current COVID-19 Pandemic, people are understandably trying to leave their homes as little as possible. Although telemedicine is not sufficient to establish a VCPR, it is still beneficial in determining if a patient needs to be seen in person.
Your veterinarian may take a history and see your pet through video chat to determine how critical the patient appears, and if they need to be seen immediately, or at all. They are not allowed by law to give medical advice or prescribe medications without a previous in-person physical exam.
Once a patient has been examined in person, the VCPR is established. Your veterinarian may then give you medical advice, diagnose your pet, or prescribe medications. If an established patient presents with new symptoms, it may still be in your best interest to request a telemedicine appointment to determine if your pet’s condition may require a new physical exam or workup. Performing a thorough in-person physical will give your veterinarian the most information about what may be wrong with your pet.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is a confusing and challenging time for everyone. Social distancing measures have changed things dramatically for clients and veterinary staff alike. If you are concerned about your pet, call your veterinarian. They will use their best judgment to decide if your pet needs to be seen. This may help decrease appointments of otherwise healthy pets and help maintain social distancing.
Due to social distancing regulations and recommendations, Brook-Falls Veterinary, like many veterinary hospitals, have had to institute “curbside appointments.” Despite these changes, your pet is still receiving the best care possible during these curbside appointments. As a result of other veterinary clinics closing due to the Pandemic, we are seeing many new clients and patients because of staying open. Curbside appointments and an influx of new clients and patients are some of the reasons appointments may take longer than usual.
We love caring for your pets and will do whatever it takes to make sure they get the best care possible. We are incredibly grateful for our clients, and thank you for your patience during this challenging time.
Please remember to call ahead to your veterinary hospital to see if your pet needs to be seen, be kind to the veterinary staff, and stay safe!
Esteban Barajas, DVM
Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital and Exotic Care, Inc