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For Equine Vets Everywhere

BEVA Guidance

Current BEVA Guidance - 14 May 2020

GUIDANCE FOR VETERINARY SURGEONS UNDERTAKING EQUINE WORK DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC EFFECTIVE FROM 14 MAY 2020 FOR THE DURATION OF THE LOCKDOWN PERIOD (TO BE REVIEWED IN LINE WITH GOVERNMENT ADVICE)


BEVA's current advice is that no equine veterinary procedure is automatically "off limits"

BUT... 

  • Every visit / procedure should be risk assessed
  • Where the risks (to physical safety and/.or disease transmission) can be sufficiently mitigated, the visit/procedure can go ahead provided that the mitigations are applied
  • Where the risks (to physical safety and/or disease transmission) cannot be sufficiently mitigated, the visit/procedure should not go ahead, and alternative plans made 
  • "Sufficient mitigation" is a matter for the practice and individual vets to define according to their own professional judgement
  • No member of the veterinary team or client should be pressured to undertake a visit/procedure that they do not personally believe is safe.


Following the announcement of some easing of the lockdown restrictions by the UK Prime Minister on Sunday 10th May, and subsequent government guidance published on 11th May, we have reviewed our BEVA guidance (which was updated on 10th April – see below). Government guidance can be found here. The current government guidance regarding working safely during the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. This includes 8 guides that cover a range of different types of work (see links below).

Following the announcement of some easing of the lockdown restrictions by the UK Prime Minister on Sunday 10th May, and subsequent government guidance published on 11th May, we have reviewed our BEVA guidance (which was updated on 10th April – see below). Government guidance can be found here. The current government guidance regarding working safely during the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. This includes 8 guides that cover a range of different types of work (see links below).

Our revised guidance aligns with the government’s current guidance and that of the RCVS (see below).  It also recognises vital roles that equine veterinary surgeons play in maintaining animal health and welfare, and in supporting the wider equine industries. Our revised guidance has been informed by (amongst others) the recent BEVA Covid-19 impact survey (see below), the RCVS COVID economic impact surveys (see below), and the two BEVA live on line forums / Q&A sessions.

Veterinary surgeons should follow current government advice, and be aware that this advice may change depending on the dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, although the four nations of the UK are broadly moving together on these issues, the precise details of the guidance may vary in the different devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister’s announcement on 10th May encouraged people to go to work if they cannot work from home – this applies to most equine veterinary teams. We recognise the importance of equine veterinary practices carefully returning to undertaking routine work and procedures, so long as this can be done safely.

The BEVA guidance updated on 10th April still applies, with the exception that the following sentences are no longer considered appropriate:

In particular, veterinary surgeons should determine whether the work unequivocally needs to be done within the next one to two months (i.e. it is time-sensitive work) or whether it can be delayed. For example, it is difficult to see a justification for performing PPE or poor performance investigations at the current time.

Our current recommendations include the following:

  1. All non-emergency work that veterinary surgeons are considering undertaking should be risk assessed prior to performing the work. Modifications to work and procedures should be made to maintain 2 metres social / physical distancing and when this cannot be achieved. particular attention to the risks involved should be considered when making the risk assessment as to whether the work can be undertaken.Risk assessment tools are available here.
  2. Risk assessments should not only consider the risks posed by Covid-19, but should also include the risks associated with handling equids (as demonstrated by the results of the BEVA injuries survey)
  3. There may be situations involving certain non-urgent and non-time sensitive cases where several members of the veterinary team would be required to work closely together in order to undertake the necessary work. In such cases, the decision to proceed or not should be based on a joint discussion involving all of the team members and the client. 
  4. Practices are encouraged to promote the BEVA resources for owners (Don't Break Your Vet and Don't Give Your Vet the Virus) to their clients to encourage the safe handling of horses.
  5. Individual veterinary practices and veterinary surgeons should devise their own policies regarding the types of work and procedures that they are prepared to undertake during the Covid-19 pandemic - this will likely vary depending on the local circumstances, including differing guidance in the various devolved administrations of the UK, differences in availability of facilities and assistance to undertake work safely, etc. 
  6. In order to maintain the highest possible standards of equine health and welfare, veterinary practices are encouraged to work together in order to provide the optimal service to clients and equids in their regions.

Links:


BEVA Guidance - 10 April 2020


Background to 10 April Guidance


COVID-19 Update 30 March 2020


COVID-19 Update 24 March 2020


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