Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update.

Coronavirus Update


Update  06/07/2020

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.

Turnaround Times:

We are able to process and test all samples that we receive and can currently do so within published target turnaround times for the vast majority of our services. However, particular tests may be affected by aspects of the Covid crisis impacting on the supply chain of test materials and reagents. Any known issues are noted below. We will monitor this and update regularly.

BVD tissue tag PCR testing:

Consumables for PCR testing have been diverted to NHS labs for Covid testing. In addition there have been delays to the delivery of reagents. Adapting to these, plus staffing, safe working and other issues have led to a temporary increase in the turnaround time for this test. Current expected turnaround to reporting: 5-10 days from receipt at the central laboratory.

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 we have experienced no significant 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:

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 we can process and test all health scheme samples that are submitted while retaining our focus on safe working. If the vet practice is willing to undertake the sampling please go ahead with testing where you feel able to do so safely. 

Scottish Statutory BVD tests:

The current advice from Scottish Government is that statutory testing should continue. 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.

There are some circumstances 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:

If your vet practice is willing to undertake the sampling for these herds/flocks we can test the samples. Please go ahead with testing where you feel able to.  Occasionally the standard turnaround time may be exceeded but on the whole we are open for business and meeting turnaround times.

With the restrictions on routine testing, and the difficulty in blood sampling small ruminants in a safe manner, we will extend members’ current MV and EAE status until testing resumes, when a three-month window will be allowed, to catch up with delayed tests (the official 3-month period for catching up on missed tests has not yet begun, we will make it clear when this starts). Members will be 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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