The basic concept of One Health is that the health of people, animals and the environment are intrinsically linked at a local, national and global level. It’s a concept that has gathered momentum over recent years but feels especially relevant in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As veterinary nurses it is very important that we keep up-to-date with all the latest research and information being published about the virus, including on how it might potentially affect animals, so that we can help educate our clients and the wider animal owning community and support them in navigating their way through these difficult times.
It is also important for veterinary nurses to understand the implications of not only the virus but also the restrictions that have been put in place to slow the transmission on COVID-19 and the impact this may have on the levels of veterinary care that we can offer as a result.
The RCVS has a webpage dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions asked about the coronavirus and the restrictions, including changes that have had to be made to how the RCVS regulates the professions under these extraordinary circumstances. Furthermore, the College has published a very useful flowchart that provides a pathway for determining how veterinary services may be provided to the nation’s animals, while prioritising public health and complying with the government’s social distancing advice for both the public and employers. All this can be found at www.rcvs.org.uk/coronavirus.
In terms of information about coronavirus and the potential impact it may have on the UK’s pets, the British Veterinary Association has published advice to both professionals and animal owners on this matter. It is understood that, while COVID-19 probably originated as a zoonosis, it poses no known risk to animals and nor is there any evidence that the disease can pass directly from our animals to humans. However, there is some concern that animals could act as indirect carriers of the disease (or ‘fomites’) as there is the possibility that the virus particles could remain on, for example, their fur and be transmitted to humans who come into contact with them that way.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017) Prioritizing Zoonoses for Global Health Capacity Building—Themes from One Health Zoonotic Disease Workshops in 7 Countries, 2014–2016 [Online]. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/13/17-0418_article