Veterinary Ireland: Measures in place to keep vet services available

Veterinary practices, state and local authority veterinary services nationwide will endeavour to remain open and operating throughout the Covid-19 national emergency period, Veterinary Ireland has confirmed.

Dr. Conor Geraghty, president of Veterinary Ireland, said: “Our primary role is to protect animal health and welfare and, also, by ensuring the health of the animals we keep and safety of the food we eat, to protect our nation’s health whilst maintaining the continuation and integrity of the food chain during this emergency.”

‘Essential workers’

For this reason, veterinarians are classified as ‘essential workers’ by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Veterinary Association (WVA), the president added.

Dr. Geraghty gave assurances that measures have been put in place to keep Irish veterinary services available to as near normal as possible whilst protecting the health of clients and staff.

Many practices have split their teams into two or three core groups, with no physical contact between them, to ensure that if a member of one group contracts the virus and is isolating, then others can step in to ensure the practice remains operating.

On a local level, veterinary practices are working with each other to ensure that if one has to close or reduce capacity for a period then others nearby can and will step in, the president said.

This may mean prioritising emergencies, he added.

Dr. Geraghty said that vets are used to dealing with infectious diseases.

We know the precautions to take. Indeed many vets will have first-hand experience dealing with such an outbreak during the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic.

“Whilst on a different scale the first principles are the same and this experience, as well as the deep medical knowledge and extensive practical training the veterinary profession has, allowed us to adapt virtually overnight to this new situation,” the president said.

Dr. Geraghty said that vets are there for their clients and patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – and will continue to be throughout this crisis.

Cooperation

“With the understanding and cooperation of the public we will get through this emergency together.”

Concluding, Dr. Geraghty said:

Never in our lifetimes have we faced such a challenge. However, never in the history of humankind have we had the tools, resources and knowledge to find a cure and develop a vaccine.

“All of us together face many difficult months and many difficult decisions but we will get through this, we will persevere and, by working together with kindness and solidarity, we will protect the most precious in our society until we have a vaccine available and our lives get back to normal. That day will come.”

Paying tribute to medical and nursing colleagues, front-line workers, those keeping the food supply intact and others, Dr. Geraghty said: “Whatever we, as medical professionals, can do to help in this time we will do.”