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Coronavirus: Defra acts to quash rumours of vet medicines shortage

Coronavirus “has not caused any issues” with the supply of veterinary medicines, the government has stated.

The Defra statement was released in response to concerns aired by a vet in a Sky News article that although there are no shortages yet, vets could run low on supplies as the crisis progresses.

“We would like to thank all of the veterinary professionals working hard to protect the welfare of the nation’s much-loved pets during this difficult period,” said a Defra spokesman.

“Coronavirus has not caused any issues with the supply of veterinary medicines. However, we have well-established procedures with the pharmaceutical industry to monitor and maintain veterinary medicine supplies we need.”

The statement added the government is doing “all it can” to support the industry, with contingency measures in place including the import of medicines if needed.

“We want to also thank those vets who have responded to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons [RCVS] request to provide ventilators in the fight against coronavirus,” adds the government statement.

Vets are not included in the list of businesses that must close given the crucial role they play in maintaining the supply of safe food for us to eat.”

Veterinary organisations have been asked by Defra for suitable ventilators that they can provide for emergency human care.

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The call comes from Defra with the support of the RCVS, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, British Equine Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Association, Major Employers Group, Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists and the Animal Health Trust.

“We are aware that many veterinary practices across the country may have NHS-compatible human ventilators that they are not using for emergency animal care,” said a Defra statement.

“To be clear we are not asking for ventilators only suitable for animals. We are also cognisant of animal welfare, and that you will need to set aside ventilators for emergency veterinary care. We are therefore only asking you to contribute what you can, acknowledging the difficult balance involved.”

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