COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
We've collated some of our most frequently asked questions on coronavirus to help you find the information you're looking for. These questions cover guidance for veterinary professionals, advice for students and the most common questions from pet owners and farmers.
In the workplace
What should I do now as restrictions are being removed?
We know that practice teams have been working incredibly hard in difficult circumstances, and we also know that heavy workloads continue to put teams under pressure. Employers should be aware of the importance of supporting all employees’ mental health and wellbeing and should encourage and facilitate team members to take leave and breaks.
Continue to risk assess and, where possible, work in a manner that reduces close contact in line with government guidance.
Even where face coverings are no longer a legal requirement you can continue to ask clients to wear a face covering, unless exempt for medical reasons, as part of your terms of business.
In England all restrictions have been removed. All practices should continue to risk assess and, where possible, work in a manner that reduces close contact in line with government guidance.
The Scottish government continues to advise people to work from home if they can. Individual practices should assess whether it’s appropriate for staff members to work from home if possible (for example handling calls and triaging cases). All practices should continue to risk assess and, where possible, work in a manner that reduces close contact in line with government guidance.
In Wales, the government has advised that all remaining restrictions are likely to be removed from 28 March 2022. All practices should continue to risk assess and, where possible, work in a manner that reduces close contact in line with government guidance.
In Northern Ireland, people are encouraged to work from home where possible. All practices should continue to risk assess and, where possible, work in a manner that reduces close contact in line with government guidance.
Where do I find previous BVA guidance? You can access previous guidance for veterinary professionals:
- BVA guidance for UK veterinary practice on working safely during Covid (19 Jan 2022)
- BVA guidance on working safely during Covid-19 (23 December 2021)
- BVA guidance on working safely as lockdown restrictions are eased (24 March 2021)
- Guidance for national lockdowns (6 January 2021)
- Guidance for UK veterinary practices on working safely during Covid-19 (3 December 2020)
- Guidance for veterinary practices during the 2nd national lockdown in England (November 2020)
- Guidance on essential veterinary care (reissued 20 October 2020)
- A guide for vets in clinical practice (published 28 May 2020)
- Guidance on essential veterinary care (published 13 April 2020)
- Guidance in assessing emergency and urgent care (published March 2020)
You can also access the archive of our webinars on Covid-19 and the veterinary profession, run in partnership with The Webinar Vet.
Do we need to wear face coverings?
Although there will be no legal requirement to wear a face covering in England, Northern Ireland, or Wales, the Government suggests you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and indoor spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Businesses can continue to ask staff and clients to wear face coverings, unless exempt, under their own terms of business policies.
Face coverings continue to be a legal requirement in Scotland.
Can I prescribe without seeing the patient?
In response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the RCVS reintroduced remote prescribing temporary measures on 16 December 2021. The temporary measure came to an end on 14 March 2022.
I’m concerned I may not be able to fulfil my EMS requirements due to Covid-19 restrictions, what should I do?
All students have access to the BVA Carpool Cases online EMS series, which has been accepted by most of the UK vet schools and certificates are available. In addition, the RCVS has a useful list of online pre-clinical EMS resources.
How do I protect my mental wellbeing at this difficult time?
Take a look at the Vetlife website for tips on self-care and read the Vetlife Covid-19 FAQs for the veterinary community. Charities such as Mind also have helpful tips on maintaining positive mental wellbeing. The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative is also offering a range of online wellbeing resources to support the veterinary team.
What do I do if I have a concern about my own, or a colleague’s mental health?
Take a look at the Vetlife website for tips on dealing with stress, anxiety and depression. If you need to speak to someone in confidence Vetlife Helpline is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, on 0303 040 2551 or you can send an anonymous email via the website. Support is also available via Vet Support NI and Vet Support Scotland.
Animal owners and breeders
How should I care for my pets if I have symptoms of or have confirmed Covid-19?
The OIE recommends that people who are suspected or confirmed to be infected with the Covid-19 virus should minimise close direct contact with animals. Read the OIE Questions and answers on the novel Coronavirus in full.
Government advice is that owners of pets in households with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, who think their pet may need veterinary treatment, should make contact with the practice first and alert them to the household’s status. Read the Defra Covid-19 advice for people with animals.