Equine practice Restrictions Following UK Governments COVID-19 Virus Lockdown Recommendations
Following the advice and recommendations on the 23rd March 2020 from the UK government, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Veterinary Association advises that veterinary practices must reduce face-to-face contact immediately, switching to providing emergency care only, the fulfilment of urgent prescriptions and maintaining the food supply chain. The veterinary profession feels it should be doing everything possible to protect human health and follow the recommendations and advice from the UK government, which is based on efforts to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to protect the NHS. We must also protect the health of our staff to enable them to continue providing an emergency service for our patients, and protect the health of our clients and the wider general public.
On that basis, we will not be carrying out non-essential, routine or elective procedures for the next three weeks; the period the UK government have restricted movement to “only if absolutely necessary”.
Non-essential, routine or elective veterinary procedures to be postponed include, but not limited to
- Annual vaccinations;
If this results in your horse’s flu vaccine status going out of date
(a) there will be a vaccine amnesty to help resolve this,
(b) the British Equine Veterinary Association is in urgent discussion with equine sports regulators to ask for an extension to the usual 365-day rule.
- There is no need for extra six-monthly competition boosters at present as all competitions are now cancelled.
- All dental examinations and treatment – If your horse is unable to eat or has significant chewing problems then this will be discussed with you prior to sending a vet out. This may involve a video call consultation to triage appropriately.
- pre-purchase examinations.
- routine health checks.
- poor performance.
- mild lameness examinations.
- repeat blood sampling for chronic conditions.
- The issue of routine stud / reproductive work raises particular questions. On the basis of the government’s advice, and despite the ability to mitigate risks, we are currently struggling to see how this type of service is essential for animal welfare. However, we appreciate that this has far-reaching implications beyond the veterinary profession, and we have sought guidance from the government and are in discussion with the breeding industry; we hope to provide further direction soon.
For less serious conditions and concerns of welfare, we will offer telemedicine consultations preferably by video call.
- We will continue to provide prescription medicines as appropriate.
Medicine reviews may be made by a phone call.
- Stock-piling of medicines will be prohibited and the drugs will be dispensed in the normal quantities prior to the pandemic.
- Medicines are to be paid for over the phone to reduce the time spent at reception.
- For the collection of medicines outside practice hours, please speak to a member of the practice staff in the first instance.
Procedure for visiting the Practice
If you are visiting us to collect medicines or have been advised by the vet to present your horse to the practice please follow this protocol on arrival.
- Please go to the large animal reception (right-hand side of the building) entrance and knock on the door. The door will be locked. The large animal administrator will meet you at the door to attend to you as soon as possible.
- Please do not unload your horse and wait in your car after you announce your arrival until the vet comes out to meet you. Should you wish to stand in the car park please keep at least 2 metres distance from others.
- Should you enter the practice premises, you will be asked to wash your hands thoroughly with hand sanitiser on the reception desk for at least 20 seconds.
- Only one person should accompany their horse into the practice premises if the horse is to be unloaded.
- There may be occasions when the vet or nurse will take your horse into the practice for examination and treatment whilst you wait outside.
- Payment will be made using cards.
If you have an appointment arranged during the lockdown period you will have been contacted by email or text to please contact the practice on 01963 350307 ext 3 to rearrange on a convenient date and time after the 13th April 2020. If you have not been contacted and are expecting a visit before the 13th April 2020 can I please ask you to phone the surgery to rearrange. However, please bear in mind that the rearranged appointment will be subject to further government recommendations when the current lockdown is reviewed in three weeks time.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the implementation of these controlled measures but these are very difficult and unprecedented times. The consequence of any one of our staff showing the symptoms of coronavirus would lead to the immediate closure of the Practice for at least 2 weeks.
Stay safe and healthy and enjoy your horses, ponies and donkeys. They are safe.
With kind regards,
Steve Wildman BVSc MRCVS
Equine Clinical Director