Today, the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) published an update on its advice and guidance regarding the implications of the Coronavirus isolation regulations for equine veterinary procedures.
Further clarity was provided concerning topics that have caused some confusion, as different veterinary practices had implemented different interpretations of the rules around some procedures that might be, or might not be, deemed “necessary”.
BEVA concentrated particularly in the issue of vaccinations and stud work.
As far as vaccinations are concerned, BEVA acknowledges that “issues around influenza vaccinations are complicated”, but argues that in the current situation, where equestrian events across the country are cancelled, the “risk of equine influenza epidemic is considered to be low”, reiterating the RCVS advise that there should be a ‘real and imminent risk of disease’ for a vaccination to be warranted.
However, many horse owners are worried that if their vaccinations are permitted to lapse during the lockdown period, this will cause them problems when competitions restart. The BEVA are therefore in consultation with the regulatory authorities to determine if some partial relaxation of the vaccination requirements for competition can be temporarily permitted.
BEVA also acknowledged that if a vet is already attending premises for an essential urgent veterinary procedure, they may be able to carry out vaccination work at the same time, if permitted by their practice.
Regarding stud work, BEVA acknowledges that the industry continues to face uncertainty:
“There is current confusion about whether routine pre-breeding stud / reproductive work, including artificial insemination, is considered to be essential work. We are seeking clarification from the government on whether Thoroughbred +/- other horse breeding activities should be considered essential.”
Further explicit guidance should be available in two weeks time, when another announcement from the government is to be expected. Until then, BEVA asserts that “unless we receive official government guidance on this issue, we recommend that routine pre-breeding stud work is not carried out (unless the veterinary surgeon is resident on the stud or attending the stud for other essential reasons).”
However, this is currently only a recommendation, and BEVA acknowledges “the pressures that veterinary surgeons face in this area, and individual practices need to risk assess and make their own judgements on what they consider to be essential work. In all circumstances biosecurity measures must be in place at the premises/stud and 2m physical distancing maintained. Procedures and official guidelines should be reviewed regularly (or daily) should the individual premises/stud or national situation change.”
To read the full news release from BEVA, go to: https://www.beva.org.uk/Guidance-and-Resources/Practice-Managers/Coronavirus/BEVA-commentary