FARMING: Learn how to adapt to challenges ahead

Lockdown coincided with lambing season.Lockdown coincided with lambing season.
Lockdown coincided with lambing season.
Since I started working as a farm vet at Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group in late 2017, every year has had its challenges: joining a new team and getting to know a different county, new practices opening in the region, working during the beast from the east, etc., but nothing like 2020.

What started as a relatively quiet year soon turned into something never seen before. The arrival of COVID-19 and the strict lockdown in March matched the beginning of the lambing and calving season and, as key workers, farmers and farm animal vets carried on working as “normal” during our busiest time of the year.

From April 1, the majority of the support staff at our different branches stayed at home on furlough leave and the vets found themselves at the frontline of our practices, suddenly expanding our job titles to become receptionists, nurses, cleaners and vets all at once. We learned how to order stock, sterilise surgery kits, bank up at the end of the day, to name just a few jobs, and we answered more phone calls than ever. On top of that, everything that we would have done to disconnect and relax after work, e.g., meeting friends at the pub, visiting family, exercising at the gym, etc. were taken away from us. It was challenging at the best of times, but we got through it and, although this will sound cheesy, I am sure that today we are all a lot stronger because of it. We also now appreciate more than we already did how valuable the jobs of our non-vet teams are.

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We are still very far from what our old normality used to look like, it feels like it was ages ago that we had pet owners in the surgery during consults or farmers sitting at reception having a chat while waiting for their drugs to be put up. Moreover, 2021 will also come with its own challenges: we have Brexit and the changes to the agricultural policy to look forward to, and this annoying virus is still causing a lot of havoc, but we are ready for it and we will learn and adapt like we always have.

Happy new year everyone!

About Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group: Our Alnwick clinic is an RCVS accredited Small Animal General Practice and Farm Animal General Practice, welcoming dogs, cats, birds, exotics, poultry, small mammals, cattle, deer, equine, pigs, sheep, goats and camelids.

We offer continuity of care if you wish to see a specific vet please let us know when making an appointment; all of our vets can be found in the meet the team sections in the small animals and farm areas of our website. Facilities and services: Client car park, Public disabled access, Healthy Pet Club, Small animal services, Farm animal services. Telephone: 01665 510999.

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