Norfolk Equine Vet Practices Joint COVID-19 Update 13.4.2020

April 13, 2020




This statement has been agreed by a majority of practices based in Norfolk that perform equine work. It is based on advice from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the British Veterinary Association and the British Equine Veterinary Association.


COVID-19 remains a serious threat to the UK population.


As vets, we have to balance the needs of our patients with the national interest of reducing person to person contact and we cannot make any unnecessary journeys.


Clearly, when working with horses we need handlers and people in close proximity to us to reduce the dangers of the job itself. This is at odds with the fundamentals of the Government’s advice. We cannot risk any of our staff getting hurt so we must work in the safest way possible at all times.


However, we have a duty to the animals under our care and, as such, we all intend to continue to provide a veterinary service. We have to consider what is routine and what is not. That is, do we absolutely need to attend or can we deal with a case by other means.


Our cases will fall into three groups:



This will include pre-purchase examinations (“Vettings”), routine dentistry, routine stud work and Artificial Insemination. (PLEASE SEE FURTHER DOWN TO CHANGES IN THIS CATEGORY)



Colics, wounds, foalings, laminitis and eye cases are examples of urgent cases.



We will operate a triage system. This will involve a phone call from a vet with the use of photos and videos with further telephone follow up. We will then decide whether it is appropriate to treat remotely or whether we need to see the horse. For example, a low grade “Mud Fever” can probably be dealt with from photos in the first instance. If it becomes more severe then we would likely attend.


We have vets working around the clock. You can always ring us. We will continue to do our absolute best to help you.


The above should be read in conjunction with our individual practice protocols regarding COVID-19.


Where we deem a visit to your horse is necessary for whatever reason we will ask you to read the BEVA Covid-19 client checklist. This in conjunction with answering  some questions from our receptionists will enable us to produce a risk assessment document prior to the veterinary surgeon’s arrival.




(1)  VACCINATION - where this can be done safely, we may now carry out:


·  1st Vaccinations (Flu / Tetanus)

·  2nd Vaccinations

·  3rd Vaccinations

·  Annual Boosters


We will not give 6 monthly Flu vaccines at this time


(2) CASTRATION – we will castrate colts due to the longer- term benefits


(3) ROUTINE REPRODUCTIVE WORK  - for mares already in foal only


All of the above is still subject to our own risk assessment of the situation. Where we can handle horses “safely” on our own we may choose to do so. Equally, we may send a vet and an assistant separately. This will form part of our discussion with you prior to booking the call.


If you have vaccines that are now overdue because they were cancelled in the initial lockdown period we will discuss re-starting procedures and the cost implications with you / vaccination amnesty procedure.


To be clear, this is not “business as usual”. The change of stance is simply because there was always due to be a review of the position at 3 weeks by our professional bodies. It appears likely that the lockdown period could continue, to at least some degree, for weeks if not months. On that basis, we have to now consider the longer term health implications of not performing certain work. 


Anchorage Barn Equine Clinic

Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership

Wensum Valley Veterinary Surgeons

Westover Veterinary Centre / Breckland Veterinary Centre

Wood Farm Vets




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