google-site-verification: google28f501b00d980d5f.html Vets Urged to Up Their Game with Biosecurity - Vetpol Community

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Vets Urged to Up Their Game with Biosecurity

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  • Vets Urged to Up Their Game with Biosecurity

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    Alasdair Macnab BVMS MRCVS threw the gauntlet down to delegates at this year’s OV conference, challenging them to consider whether their daily routine was a risk to biosecurity. Mr Macnab, managing director of AJM Agri Ltd, a veterinary surgeon and pedigree cattle breeder, is also an assessor for Improve International, which handles OV registration and training in England, Scotland and Wales on behalf of the Animal and Plant Health Agency. He claimed that four out of five vets assessed for Tuberculin testing fall short on biosecurity standards.

    In view of this and the increasing threat from antibiotic resistance, anthelmintic resistance and disease - endemic, zoonotic, imported or novel - he urged delegates to review their own behaviours and practices and to be prepared to challenge biosecurity standards at their practices and on clients’ premises.

    He suggested delegates base their biosecurity strategy on the four pillars of the UK’s biological security strategy:
    • Understand biological risks
    • Prevent biological risks
    • Detect biological risks
    • Respond to biological risks
    Based on this strategy, he posed questions to delegates including:
    How biosecure is your practice? He advised them to identify risks to their practice, animals and clients to identify the biosecurity measures required then plan how to respond to them.
    How good are your consulting room hygiene procedures? He questioned the protocols they currently have in place for hygiene practices in their consulting rooms, kennels, clothing, equipment, sample handling and vehicles.
    Do you critically challenge what is going on around you? Mr Macnab was concerned that few vets appear willing to raise biosecurity and antibiotic handling and storage issues with colleagues and clients. He questioned why this should be.
    Where do you stand on the ethical use of antibiotics and on antibiotic and anthelmintic resistance? He asked them how they decided on antibiotic use and whether they could justify their decision-making. Drawing comparison with farm assurance standards he questioned whether vets should be subject to collation of antibiotic use and justification of their decisions. He also queried whether SQP staff should also be subject to collation and audit.
    Are you ready for a notifiable disease case? He described a suspect rabies scenario and asked the audience if they had adequate measures in place to ensure a biosecure isolation of the suspect case and could continue business as usual.
    Where do you stand on Pet Passport processes? He asked them to consider whether their protocols for dogs coming to or returning from abroad adequate and how they communicated the importance of treatment timing to their clients? As an example, he mentioned that timing is important in Echinococcus multiocularis treatment.
    Who is responsible for auditing biosecurity in your practice? He asked whether there was a single individual with overall responsibility for this area.
    How clean is your car? He presented examples of substandard hygiene and cleanliness in cars and equipment found at TT audits and challenged the audience to decide if the examples were acceptable.
    Are you letting your colleagues down? He presented examples of where equipment going onto farms had not been cleaned and disinfected before returning to the practice and asked if this was letting your colleagues down.

    Mr Macnab also urged delegates to consider their role in getting the message across to farmers and pet owners, suggesting that some veterinary surgeons were failing to communicate the importance of biosecurity effectively because the language they used was not direct enough. He gave examples of advice containing words like ‘encourage, urge, advise, think and consider’. He suggested that the inclusion of words like biosecurity itself and ‘translocation’ which he had seen in some materials was equally unhelpful because they were not understood by non-professionals.
    Concluding, he said: “The challenges we face in disease control are significant so we have to ask ourselves whether we are set up to meet them. At the moment, we are not where we should be. Going forward, developing training and applying and enforcing protocols for preventing disease and drug resistance from spreading must become the centre of our professional needs.”
    Alasdair Macnab spoke at the annual OV Conference, which took place on 25 and 26 September at Alexandra House in Swindon. Offering a unique forum in which OVs discuss current topics of interest and recent developments in their work, it is organised by veterinary CPD provider Improve International, in conjunction with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and 5m Publishing.

    Improve International IT assessment scoring system. In a recent survey of 200 vets’ TT assessment reports – 80% failed to score a 1, which is the highest score.
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