The Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) has issued updated guidelines to registrants in response to further nationwide restrictions announced by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, on Friday (March 27th).
Veterinary practitioners have featured on the ‘essential services’ list released by the Department of Health.
VCI president, Joe Moffitt, outlined that veterinary service providers should confine their services to those supporting food production, in addition to emergency care at this time. “This is an extraordinary time and it requires extraordinary measures.”
“Animal welfare and food production support services are areas of priority at this time, however, the VCI recommend that all veterinary practices confine their services to emergency treatment and care required in the interests of animal welfare, and services required in the support of food production.” he added.
All registrants over 70-years-of-age and those with underlying health conditions are requested to shield or cocoon, as per the direction of An Taoiseach.
“We ask all veterinary practices and colleagues to support one another as much as possible at this difficult time.”
“The health and well-being of registrants is imperative, in the best interests of animal welfare and public health.”
Urgent or emergency matters
An urgent or emergency matter, is one giving rise to animal welfare concerns, requiring veterinary assistance, according to Moffitt. “Any urgent matter should be interpreted as presenting a significant risk to life or clear risk to welfare if not assessed.”
“A potentially urgent matter being one which could develop significant welfare compromise or become life-threatening in the current period of restriction.”
“Emergency or urgent matters, and those potentially urgent matters should receive veterinary assistance, as an essential service.”
This, he added, should be carried out at the veterinary practice or on-farm, having regard to the safeguards and measures recommended by public health guidelines.
These include physical distancing at all times, minimising contact with animal owner, requesting assistance from practice colleague such as another vet, nurse etc, to restrain the animal and avoid contact with animal owner, if required.
The Veterinary Council of Ireland encourage vets and other prescribers and retailers of veterinary medicines to continue with normal ordering patterns to maintain appropriate and proportionate stocks of veterinary medicines, in line with assurances from Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE).
If this is undertaken, there should be no need for additional stocks, the council added.
All routine clinics and treatment appointments, unlikely to have an impact on welfare should be deferred, including matters such as booster vaccinations, nail clipping, update on progress of existing conditions, treatment course changes, repeat prescription consultations, etc.