Veterinary groups launch new coalition to advance telehealth for patient care

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For immediate release: 07/30/2022
AVMA   Coalition for Connected Veterinary Care

PHILADELPHIA (July 30, 2022) – Seeking to enhance and expand patient care  through wider use of telehealth in veterinary medicine, a group of leading professional and industry organizations today announced the formation of the Coalition for Connected Veterinary Care. The Coalition will collaborate across the veterinary and animal health industry to enhance and expand veterinary care by leveraging technology, while safeguarding the health and welfare of animals and the people who care for them.

“Proper use of telehealth holds great potential to improve access to veterinary services, enhance the medical care we provide for our patients, strengthen and support our relationships with our clients, and improve the efficiency of our veterinary healthcare teams and the services we deliver,” Dr. Jose Arce, President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), said in sharing news about the Coalition during the AVMA’s annual Convention, held this year in Philadelphia.

Use of telehealth, including telemedicine, increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but adoption has slowed in both human and veterinary health care as in-person visits have resumed, and many veterinary practices are not taking full advantage of available tools, according to Dr. Arce. He emphasized that before telehealth is used, an in-person veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) needs to be established.

“As strong advocates of animal care and wellbeing through professional and quality veterinary services, Merck Animal Health is proud to support the Coalition for Connected Veterinary Care,” said Scott Bormann, sr. vice president, Merck Animal Health. “The tools, technology and resources that are provided to veterinarians through telehealth support and promote ongoing and regular patient care, help reduce some of the mental stresses being placed on veterinarians due to increased demand for services, and the time it takes for a patient to receive veterinary advice and care. When paired with the proper in-person examinations and client relationships, the result will be healthier animals, a more efficient veterinary staff and an all-inclusive approach to support continuity of patient care.”

“Veterinary telemedicine is most effective and safest—for patients, clients, and veterinarians/veterinary practices—when used to maintain a VCPR that has already been established via an in-person examination,” noted Dr. Link Welborn, Chief Executive Officer of the Veterinary Study Groups, another founding member of the Coalition. “We’ll be looking to Coalition members to help develop and share resources that will support veterinarians in seamlessly integrating telehealth into their practices while recognizing the importance of the VCPR.”
The Coalition’s goals and next steps include:

  • Building awareness of the opportunities that telehealth presents for bettering patient care.
  • Helping veterinarians explore and adopt tools of telehealth that
    • Strengthen relationships among practices, clients, and patients
    • Improve continuity in patient care
    • Fully engage technology to advance care
    • Enhance practice efficiency and support the wellbeing of veterinary teams.
  • Building and providing practical education and tools for veterinarians and their teams across the profession that help them integrate a variety of telehealth services in ways that work for their practice.
  • Advocacy for regulatory actions that support the use of telehealth while simultaneously respecting the integrity of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship and assuring the safety of veterinary patients and the confidence of their owners in the quality of veterinary care provided.

In addition to the AVMA, Veterinary Study Groups, and Merck Animal Health as founders of the Coalition, other members to date include:

Veterinary Associations
American Veterinary Medical Association
American Association of Avian Pathologists
American Association of Bovine Practitioners
American Association of Equine Practitioners
American Association of Swine Veterinarians
National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
State Veterinary Medical Associations                    
     Alaska Veterinary Medical Association
     Florida Veterinary Medical Association
     Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association
     Iowa Veterinary Medical Association
     Michigan Veterinary Medical Association
     Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association
     Missouri Veterinary Medical Association
     Nevada Veterinary Medical Association
     North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association
     North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association
     Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association
     South Carolina Association of Veterinarians
     Texas Veterinary Medical Association
     Vermont Veterinary Medical Association
     Virginia Veterinary Medical Association
     Washington State Veterinary Medical Association
Veterinary Study Groups
American Heartworm Society
Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association

National Practices
National Veterinary Associates

Animal Health Industry
Animal Health Institute
Boehringer Ingelheim
Merck Animal Health
Midwest Veterinary Supply

Telehealth Companies

To learn more about the Coalition, its growing membership, and the resources available for veterinary professionals, please visit Those interested in joining the Coalition should email telehealthatavma [dot] org.

About the AVMA

Serving more than 100,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.

About Merck Animal Health

At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than a century, we’ve been at the forefront of research, bringing forward medicines, vaccines and innovative health solutions for the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of connected technology that includes identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Veterinary Study Groups

Veterinary Study Groups (VSG) is the central organization for 60 Veterinary Management Groups (VMG) comprised of more than 1,450 practice owner/leader members with 2000 companion animal and equine practices and over 6500 fulltime equivalent veterinarians throughout the United States and Canada.  Each VMG consists of 16 to 22 members in similar practice types who meet bi-annually to share management experiences, ideas, and challenges. Mutual support and motivation help each member attain higher levels of success as practice managers and leaders. VMG members gain access to intellectual capital, purchasing programs, benchmarking systems, and professional development resources typically available only to the largest corporate practice groups. VSG has long demonstrated leadership in the profession by helping to spearhead the development of initiatives such as the AAHA/VMG Chart of Accounts and VSG/AVMA Principles of Veterinary Data Ownership & Stewardship. More information can be found at