A Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) outlines the legal relationship between a veterinarian, the pet parent (client), and the pet (patient). VCPRs are required by law in most states before a veterinarian can diagnose or treat your pet or prescribe medications.

What is a VCPR?

A VCPR is defined in the AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics as “the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients.” This partnership is said to be based on open communication, trust, and a shared commitment to the pet’s health and well-being.

Why a VCPR Matters

Here's why a VCPR is important to your pet's care:

  • Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment: A veterinarian familiar with your pet's medical history can provide more accurate diagnoses and personalized treatment plans.
  • Improved Communication: Clear and open communication between you and your veterinarian ensures you understand your pet's needs and can make informed decisions.
  • Enhanced Preventative Care: Regular checkups allow for early detection of potential health problems, leading to better preventative care.
  • Increased Trust and Confidence: A trusting relationship with your veterinarian allows you to feel confident and ask questions about your pet's health.

How to Build a Strong VCPR

Having a VCPR with your veterinarian means you are both committed to your pet’s health and prioritize their best interest.

Here are some ways to build a strong relationship with your pet’s care team:

  1. Choose a veterinarian you feel comfortable with
  2. Schedule regular checkups, even when your pet seems healthy
  3. Be prepared to discuss your pet's medical history in detail
  4. Ask questions and voice any concerns you may have
  5. Follow your veterinarian's recommendations for treatment and care

States with a Virtual VCPR

The following states currently allow a VCPR to be established virtually through a telemedicine visit: Idaho, Arizona, California, Virginia, New Jersey, and Vermont.

This information is updated frequently, so check back often to confirm your state’s status


Building a strong VCPR with your veterinarian is an investment in your pet's long-term health and happiness.  By working together as a team, you can ensure your furry friend receives the best possible care.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a VCPR?

The purpose of the VCPR is to legally define the roles and responsibilities of the veterinarian and the pet parent for the protection of the pet. The VCPR is not a physical document, but it does have legal implications and is essentially permission for the veterinarian to treat the pet.

Can I establish a virtual VCPR with BetterVet?

Yes! If you live in California or New Jersey, you can establish a virtual VCPR with one of our veterinarians to receive veterinary care, including prescriptions for medications, via a Virtual Vet Visit.