Veterinarians are the kind of doctors who still make house calls, because transporting a large animal or several large animals into town for an appointment is not very practical. But now, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused veterinarians and farmers alike to take more precautions during those on-farm visits.
Vankleek Hill veterinarian Dr. Darryl Smith said that he and his colleagues began screening farm residents when the pandemic started — checking to see if they had any symptoms of COVID-19. Physical distancing between farmers and veterinarians followed, and if people need to be closer together, they wear masks.
Smith said that biosecurity is important on farms even when there is no pandemic. He said that veterinarians change all of their protective equipment between visits to farms. As a precaution against COVID-19, farm personnel who are feeling sick do not go to the barn when the veterinarian arrives. In those situations, the veterinarian will have a technician accompany them on the call.
“We don’t want to be spreading diseases from farm to farm,” said Smith.
He said that his clients are mostly dairy farmers and noted that organizations like the Dairy Farmers of Ontario have instructed their members about the precautions they should be taking against COVID-19.
Smith remarked that the prevention of animal diseases is usually the focus of veterinarians, but due to COVID-19, they are having to ensure human diseases are not spread either.