Chewy's push into pet telehealth runs into regulatory hurdles, skeptical veterinarians
- Chewy's Connect With a Vet allows customers to virtually talk with licensed veterinarians and technicians, but regulations prevent them from diagnosing conditions or prescribing medications.
- There's a growing movement to change those regulations, spearheaded by a noncharitable nonprofit that was co-founded by a lobbyist and is funded in part by Chewy.
- Several longtime veterinarians expressed their skepticism about Connect With a Vet, saying it could potentially be harmful to pets.
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The Chewy.com application is displayed in the on an Apple iPhone.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Chewy, the e-commerce pet-goods giant best known for its convenient auto-ship services and generous return policies, wants to grow its veterinary telehealth service as part of an overall push into health care.
While the telehealth service is a small part of the company's rapidly expanding health offerings, it is important to its strategy. Yet it also faces regulatory obstacles and skepticism from the veterinary community.Longtime veterinarians told CNBC the service can have some benefit for minor situations, or for people who don't have easy access to vet care. But it could create problems for pets, too, they said.
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