Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update.

Coronavirus Update


Update  23/04/2020

SRUC Veterinary Services has an obligation to provide diagnostic services to support national farm animal disease surveillance and to provide testing that allows livestock keepers and their vets to maintain the health and welfare of the animals through this time of national crisis. Our focus is to maintain our services to you and Government while protecting our staff by adhering to the national guidance on social distancing, other hygiene measures and home working where possible. Please keep checking this web page regularly for updates.

Post-mortem examinations:

These remain essential for national farm animal disease surveillance and to support animal health and the food chain, however we will operate a triage system to ensure that our resources are used most efficiently to achieve the national goals.

Please contact the Duty Vet in your region (0131 535 3130, selecting Option 1 for Duty Vet and then Regional option as appropriate) to discuss before submitting any carcases for post-mortem examination. During the period of Covid restrictions (as of  week ending the 17th of April) we have experienced no reduction in the number of post mortem cases examined at each of our post mortem sites when compared to the same period last year.

Other diagnostic testing:

Diagnostic testing continues to be carried out to support farm and food-producing businesses, and to support emergency care for our companion animal clients.

The need for telephone discussions about cases in general has never been greater and our VIOs are available to do this. Please contact the Duty Vet in your region (0131 535 3130, selecting Option 1 for Duty Vet and then regional option as appropriate)

Premium Cattle Health Scheme:

RCVS and BVA advice is that vets should not currently be travelling to farms to perform routine tests.

CHeCS have issued guidance, that applies to all cattle health scheme providers - where there is a delay to completing annual testing due to the COVID-19 situation, accreditation will be suspended when testing becomes overdue (one month after renewal date); however, accreditation will be re-instated as soon as the testing is carried out, provided it is clear and the herd has been abiding by the rules of the scheme in the interim.

If a Johne’s annual test is delayed, please submit a faecal sample from any animal over two years old leaving the herd in the interim period.

We recognise that statutory TB testing is taking place and that the opportunity to collect blood samples for health scheme purposes will often be taken during the TB test.

Be assured that at the present time we can process and test all health scheme samples that are submitted while retaining our focus on safe working.

Scottish Statutory BVD tests

The current advice from Scottish Government is that statutory testing should continue for now. This includes BVD annual herd screening (by check test, testing all calves or testing all animals).

Before considering carrying out statutory BVD testing for a farm, please consider the Covid 19 risks on farm and whether sampling can be carried out safely.

Please also assess the BVD risk on farm in order to consider how urgent testing might be or if it could be postponed. For many currently negative herds, if they are not planning on moving animals, a temporary not-negative status will not impact on their business. On satisfactory completion of herd testing in the future, herd status will be regained with no penalty to the farmer for being late.

There are some circumstances however where testing may be considered urgent, such as not-negative herds that need to move cattle for welfare reasons or to maintain the food chain.

Further guidance from the BCVA is available here.

Other BVD testing

We are currently able to process submitted samples, please follow the general PCHS guidance above.

Premium Sheep and Goat Health Scheme

With the restrictions on routine testing, and the difficulty in blood sampling small ruminants in a safe manner, a scheme has been launched to extend members’ current MV and EAE status until testing resumes, when a three-month window will be allowed to catch up with delayed tests. Members are being sent communication about this, and further details are available here

A similar scheme is being launched for PSGHS Johne’s members. Please submit a faecal sample from any sheep or goat over one year of age leaving a herd/flock with a certified Johne’s risk level during the period in which your annual test is delayed.

Please email if you have any questions about PCHS or PSGHS.

Contact with clients and members of the public:

Social distancing and other hygiene measures are in place at all our locations, please read and follow the local information provided. There will be no face-to-face contact with visitors at our post mortem sites. Farm workers dropping off material will be interviewed over the phone (please provide a phone number). We have a drop off point for parcels but please note this service is only available at post mortem sites.

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