Pet owners in Arizona won’t have to worry anymore about having a “ruff” time seeing a veterinarian under the state’ stay-at-home order to battle the coronavirus.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order on Wednesday allowing pet owners to get their animals examined by their veterinarians through telemedicine in a move to keep more people from venturing out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order by Ducey, a Republican, allows Arizonans for the first time to see a veterinarian over the phone or computer and also prohibits the doctors from charging a higher fee for telemedicine.
“Even as we physically distance, we want to ensure that pet owners and livestock producers can access the resources they need to properly care for animals,” said Ducey. “This order allows veterinary professionals to carry out their commitment to caring for Arizona animals, including house pets and farm animals, while Arizona residents practice physical distancing and limit time away from home.”
Ducey’s order follows a similar one from last week that required health insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services that would normally be covered for an in-person visit. That action is meant to help ensure that Arizonans who may be sick or under quarantine can access care from their homes and avoid potentially risky trips to a health care provider.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Arizona had reported just over 1,400 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, but state officials say that number is likely to rise once testing is ramped up and the virus spreads further into the population.