Telemedicine is Coming to the Vets, Part 6: Highlight on the Veterinary Virtual Care Association

veterinarian on computer for telehealth appointment
Sep 25, 2020 at 1:01 pm
Carolyn Shadle

This is the sixth in a series of telehealth articles to be published on the VetPartners blog. Each article in the series will feature a different veterinary telemedicine option, providing valuable insight for veterinary professionals, consultants, and pet owners. Communications professional and freelance journalist Carolyn Shadle is not associated with the Veterinary Virtual Care Association (VVCA) or any other telemedicine company. She received no compensation—monetary or otherwise—from VetPartners or VVCA for authoring this article.


This is the sixth in my series on telemedicine platforms serving the veterinary profession. This month, I’m taking a slight detour. Instead of introducing one of the many software services, I want to describe a new organization that brings together all of the platform providers, users, would-be users, and even nay-sayers interested in learning more about this emerging service.

The Veterinary Virtual Care Association

Ali McIntyre, the executive director for the Veterinary Virtual Care Association (VVCA)—a new organization—told me that she and Mark Cushing, JD, worked together for over 10 years, originally in a law firm and later in the Animal Policy Group. Cushing and the former CEO of NAVC conceived of the idea for a veterinary telemedicine association in 2015, and launched the Veterinary Innovation Council to promote telemedicine. They did not, however, feel the time was right for a separate trade association. When COVID-19 hit, McIntyre, Cushing, and industry leaders knew that the need for telemedicine information had arrived.

At that time, Cushing and a colleague, Audrey Wystrach, DVM, assembled a board of experts in the telemedicine space and formally launched VVCA on May 1, 2020. The first order of business for the new board was to organize a virtual conference to share the growing body of information. The Veterinary Virtual Care Summit was broadcast (virtually, of course) on August 18 of this year. You can watch all of its content on-demand, for free, at

As you can read on their website (

“The Veterinary Virtual Care Association is a global, nonprofit association dedicated to developing best practices for delivering virtual care for animals, defining quality standards and protocols for practicing virtual care, sharing experiences among practice teams, engaging with virtual care providers, and advocating for policies in support of quality virtual care.”

cat with computer and pet owner's hands

The need is there

McIntyre and VVCA board members have heard lots of stories from service providers and users who confirm the need for this kind of association. Whether it’s veterinarians, farmers, or pet owners, each want to know how virtual service might work. When someone becomes concerned and asks, “Why are my dog’s gums a different color?” the answer is best provided by a qualified veterinarian who knows the animal. A telemedicine exchange is simple, and might prevent a lot of worry, unnecessary travel to the veterinarian, or instant advice for action—far safer than Dr. Google. This organization will facilitate growth in the use of telemedicine and virtual care tools to elevate the standard of care in veterinary medicine.

Directory of providers

One of the wonderful features of the VVCA website is the directory of telemedicine providers, which we are introducing one-by-one in this VetPartners blog series. You’ll find an overview of their services and convenient contact information.

Quick-start guide

Given all this information, how does a newcomer know where to start? According to McIntyre, the organization will remain “impartial” when it comes to advocating for a particular service provider, but you can find a quick-start guide on the website, which is a big help in determining where to start.


Another great service, which is in the planning stages, is an opportunity to network. Knowing how much people need to know (and how much great experience many already have), the organization is planning to build a members’ network to connect peers and experts. This planned website service will also enable members to connect by state or region, so they can share understandings of state regulations related to the veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR).

VVCA is an organization whose time has come!


VetPartners plans to publish one article of this series per month. The author has featured, or will feature, the following telehealth companies:

Are you a veterinary telemedicine company not listed above? Contact the author for a chance to be included in the series!


Like this article? Check out our blog for more informative articles!

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Carolyn C. Shadle, PhD, is the director of Interpersonal Communication Services, Inc., which assists individuals and organizations in improving their interpersonal relations. Those in the veterinary profession know her as the co-author of "Communication Case Studies: Building Interpersonal Skills in the Veterinary Practice," published by the American Animal Hospital Association, and by her presentations at regional and national veterinary conferences. She holds a PhD in organizational and interpersonal communication.

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