FARMING: Team pulling together in a time of crisis

These are surreal times we are living in - the past few weeks have been changeable and uncertain which for many of us breeds feelings of worry and panic.

Thursday, 26th March 2020, 12:00 am
Some our vets dogs – Zeus the Border Collie and Logie the Labrador.
Some our vets dogs – Zeus the Border Collie and Logie the Labrador.

So when I was asked to write an article this week, the natural choice was one based around the on-going viral pandemic and how it is affecting day-to-day life but with a focus on the positives.

Since Monday, March 16, drastic changes have been implemented in our practices to try and limit the impact of the virus, while allowing us to still provide the highest level of care possible. Hand sanitizing facilities at entry and exit points to buildings; asking clients to wait in the car with their pets; one pet, one person rule; telemedicine consultations for clients in self isolation; longer appointments; allowing elderly clients to visit first thing in the morning; and significantly stricter cleaning protocols across the board. Our farm and equine vets, though they are less at risk, all have hand sanitiser in their car and are limiting their exposure times while out on visits. Given the time of year, it is essential to our farms and livestock that we continue on with our visits and emergency out of hours service.Inevitably, we have several members of staff self-isolating, as per the government guidelines, which has put added strain on those still working… but we are doing it. I am proud to say that as a team, we are pulling together, working tirelessly to ensure we are still able to offer that care to you and your animals.

The veterinary profession itself is rallying - lists are being compiled of equipment that we can offer to hospitals for the treatment of individuals affects by COVID 19 such as oxygen monitoring devices, anaesthestic machines and mechanical oxygen ventilators. In the near future, with reduced imports of meat products from mainland Europe, it is likely veterinary professionals will be increasingly relied on in areas such as abbatoir meat inspection and on farm, at the front-line of food animal production in the UK. This is a role we will readily step up to.

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In our communities, we can see individuals and groups actively going out of their way to help the vulnerable or less able, ensuring that they are well stocked with food (and toilet roll!). People are making the effort to talk to their nearest and dearest every day as well as checking in with friends further afield. With technology as a helper we are able to video call and ensure that, despite self-isolation protocols, we do not feel alone. We are extremely lucky to be able to have such good availability of local food producers, selling to butchers, bakeries and other shops. Supporting them with our custom, helps these smaller businesses weather the storm that is yet to come.

No one knows what to expect tomorrow, or next week, but in the here and now we must all do our part to care a wee bit more and to stay at home.