Vet clinics may help amid coronavirus pandemic

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Transmission electron microscope image of  severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), previously referred to as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Transmission electron microscope image of  severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), previously referred to as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles resemble a crown, giving the disease its characteristic name. © NIAID-RML

Veterinary clinics in Britain may come to the rescue during the coronvarius pandemic, with the possibility raised of loaning ventilators to hospitals.

The Animal Health Trust, along with other veterinary referral centres, “is currently in discussion with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine about the possibility of sharing ventilators to help support the NHS”, a statement said.

It is estimated that Britain has about 5000 forced ventilation units, but more will be needed.

Veterinary bodies have been providing advice to clinics to help keep businesses open while maintaining a low risk to staff. In the US, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is advocating for veterinary hospitals and ambulatory practices to be considered essential businesses and remain open during periods of mandated business closures, because they “provide important animal and public health surveillance, deliver essential medical care for ill animals, and ensure that only healthy animals enter the food supply”.

Equine care during a pandemic

Canada’s Equine Guelph is urging horse owners to be stocked up with extra supplies, medications feed, and other necessities. It is advised to have enough feed and bedding in stock for at least a week, preferably two.

It advises checking with regular suppliers to see if they are open and if they have methods of providing you with your orders,  such as putting your order outside the door of the store as you arrive, or delivery.

“It is also important that you write out the care instructions for your animals.

“In the event of illness or injury, you have a plan for caring for your animals so that someone else can step in and help.

“Check on friends and acquaintances (virtually) to ensure they are okay and have things in place and enough food, particularly those that are living alone and those that may not have a support system. Neighbours can help arrange to bring in food and leave at their gates/steps for those that are in home isolation or assist those who are caring for animals.”

Even though there is no evidence that horses can become infected with Covid-19 or transmit the virus to people, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States recommends that people with Covid-19, or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, should avoid direct contact with pets and other animals, including horses. This includes handling their mouths, feeding horses treats and kissing and/or petting them on the nose.

“Please make sure your health provider is aware you work with animals,” the CDC said.

The Ontario Animal Health Network (OAHN) has a downloadable fact sheet on caring for your horse during a pandemic.

 

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