Veterinary News Crunch Weekly Digest – 20 March 2020
UK Government To Pay 80% Wages To Support Jobs
With the increasing number of veterinarians across the UK forced to self-isolate and the decrease in clients coming into practices, a worry of an uncertain future is growing in practices due to a drop in revenue. To combat this and quell this worry, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has called on the UK government to include veterinary practices in its emergency support measures for businesses affected by COVID-19.
On Friday the government empathically responded to the entire business community by announcing a raft of jaw-dropping support measures including to pay a large slice of the monthly wages of workers in an effort to prevent mass layoffs as we veer into a sudden recession.
Though details are thin on the ground as to how this will operate, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, indicated the funds will be accessed via the tax office (HMRC).
We advise contacting your accountant to gain further details on how best to access this potentially vital piece of funding to help your practice remain solvent.
Research finds pets can protect against suicide in older people
A research team from the University of South Australia has found that older people with pets are less likely to commit suicide. In Australia, people over the age of 60 have the highest rate of suicides than any other age group. The research team interviewed 35 people over age 65 with their thoughts on suicide.
“More than one third (12) who reported being “actively suicidal” or “significantly traumatised” discussed how their pets gave them a reason to live. Feeling “known” by their pet was crucial. Taking responsibility for an animal (feeding, grooming and exercising it) gave them purpose, and the constant physical presence of a pet helped mitigate the loneliness and despair they felt.”
Dr Young, one of the researchers from the team said: “Pets offer a counter to many older people’s sense of uselessness. Animals need looking after which creates a sense of purpose for older people, and they also promote social connections with other people.”
BVA renews calls for clampdown on illegal puppy smuggling
The BVA has renewed its calls for tighter restrictions on pet travel following the Government’s response to the Efra Select Committee report on tackling illegal puppy smuggling. One of the calls includes a recommendation that puppies only over the age of 15 months to be sent to the UK to reduce the likelihood of them only being shipped to be sold. However, Lord Goldsmith has responded saying that the Government “has no immediate plans to change our pet travel arrangements.”
BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said: “This is such a missed opportunity for meaningful action to clamp down illegal puppy smuggling and improve disease controls. It’s far too easy for organised criminals to bring puppies into the UK for sale by abusing the current pet travel controls.”
Hong Kong COVID-19 dog dies
A 17-year-old pomeranian who had been tested to have the coronavirus. The dog had been placed in isolation and was tested multiple times for the disease, returning weak positive samples repeatedly, but showing no signs of the disease at all. However, after returning home for two days, it sadly passed away.
The owner had refused an autopsy so it a cause of death has not been confirmed.
Royal Vet College principal Stuart Reid said: “I don’t know what’s going on in labs around the world, but as far as I can see at this stage, there is no evidence that an animal becomes infected and then passes it on to humans. All I would say is that, if I understand the studies, the virus can persist on surfaces; so, like any other inanimate object, if there is a virus on something that you’ve cuddled recently then there is obviously an opportunity for that virus to be transferred.”
RCVS Council temporarily suspends EMS requirements for veterinary students in response to COVID-19 pandemic
The Royal College of Veterinary Science Council has announced that it will temporarily suspend its requirements for UK veterinary students around extra-mural studies (EMS) due to COVID-19. Normally, students will have to complete a minimum of 38 weeks of EMS throughout their degree. The RVCS has stated:
- The RCVS recognises that it should not be compulsory for students to complete EMS over the next eight-week period, after which the situation would be reviewed. This would apply to students in any year of their studies.
- The RCVS recognises that for students in their final year of study, it may be difficult for them to make up any missing EMS prior to graduation. Vet schools should continue to support students and explore alternatives for final-year students’ EMS placements, however, any shortfall in up to four weeks’ duration in EMS relative to the requirements should not be a barrier to completion of the programme.
- For students in years one to four of their studies, it would be expected that there will be sufficient time for them to make up the full 38 weeks of EMS required to complete their degree programme. However, this will be reviewed as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
It may also be necessary to consider alternative means of accessing students in certain areas where it may be hard to avoid self-isolating.
Maryland veterinary clinic using ‘curbside check-in’ to stem coronavirus
With safety precautions taking centre stage across the world, a clinic in Maryland is offering clients a ‘curbside check-in’ to stop the spread of COVID-19. This initiative, allows the client to call or text the clinic when they and their pet are outside the clinic so a professional can meet them and bring the pet inside with minimal human-to-human interaction.
Laila Bolsteins, a vet technician at the clinic said: “There’s no way to be able to see a dog (or) cat from home. So the best we can do is see the animal without the people present, just to reduce some of that human contact,”
How to survive isolation with your roommates, your partner, your kids – and yourself
If you are one of those that are currently self-isolating due to the spread of COVID-19 and are worried about what to do whilst at home or worried about spending so much time at home, read this article to get some tips from professionals.