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NEWS INTERVIEWS NEWSLETTER
REPOSITORY
ANIMAL HEALTH MATTERS
ISSUE 44
Veterinarians: An untold story of the COVID-19 pandemic

When the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic by the WHO on March 11 2020, the full threat to health was unknown.

It was unclear which animal species the virus could infect and whether these species could infect humans. As restrictions were imposed on our movements, additional concerns arose around animal welfare and health, food security and biosecurity.

But over the past year, veterinarians across the world have risen to the challenge of addressing those fears and answering the important questions. This month, to coincide with World Veterinary Day on April 24th, let’s explore the heroic work of veterinarians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in protecting animal and human health.

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BIG READ: CELEBRATING THE WORK OF VETERINARIANS
DURING THE COVID-19
PANDEMIC
The impact of the COVID pandemic has been colossal. It has rippled out into every community and industry, and has affected both humans and animals.

The critical role of veterinarians throughout the pandemic has had an enormous impact on welfare, and there are three key areas where their work has been truly life-saving.

  1. Food security - we live in a highly interconnected world. Food grown in one place is consumed in another. Disruption of critical food production and supply lines caused by the pandemic is a real danger to food safety and security. Throughout the pandemic, veterinarians have helped safeguard global food security and stability in countless ways, using their expertise to support the continuity and safety of the food supply chain.
  2. Animal welfare - the impact of COVID-19 on human health and wellbeing is just one side of the crisis. The pandemic has also affected the health and welfare of almost all animals. Once again, veterinarians have played a vital role here – from reassuring pet owners that their companion animals cannot infect them to the essential huge range of work undertaken by farm vets catering to the welfare needs of the animals in their care.
  3. Disease prevention and biosecurity - while best evidence suggests that the risk of certain animals spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people is extremely low with only a handful of cases have been documented worldwide, the virus has been seen in a few animal species, including domestic cats, tigers and mink. Veterinarians have played a central role in maintaining biosecurity throughout the pandemic, with extra protective clothing and disinfecting between clients. They also quickly embraced new practices to minimise face-to-face contact such as virtual consultations and remote prescribing.
While we recognize the tireless work undertaken by veterinarians over the last year, they will continue to play a significant role as we move into the next phase of the pandemic. Veterinarians are supporting vaccine roll outs in some nations and enhancing testing capabilities as variants emerge, helping to strengthen global efforts.
WHO SAID IT
"Through this challenging time, veterinary medicine meaningfully and rapidly evolved, demonstrating veterinarians’ ability to cope, adjust, and adapt; and to continue in their role as leaders of animal health and welfare and public health."

World Veterinary Association
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Do you know a veterinarian who has gone above and beyond this past year? Applications are now open for the World Veterinary Day Award, which honours one member’s activities related to 2021’s theme - Veterinarian response to the Covid-19 crisis. Click to apply
SOMETHING TO SHARE
Veterinarians have a huge impact on the world we live in, from keeping pets healthy to improving food security. Take a look at the infographic below to find out more:
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