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The Importance Of OVs

Like other professionals working in the medical field Vets aren’t just “vets”. There’s a wide range of qualifications, experiences, and specialties. One of the specialties you’ll see on a vet’s website is called an “OV”. What exactly is an OV? What are they? Are they important to you as an owner of a pet?

What’s an OV?

An Official Veterinarian is a vet licensed to do tasks on behalf of the government, usually with regard the public’s health. All vets with OV status are licensed veterinary surgeons however, not all veterinary surgeons are OVs. To be an OV, vets need to complete additional training known as official Control Qualifications (Veterinary) or OCQ(V). Then, they must be authorized to do so by The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

What are they doing?

The importance of OVs is much greater than the majority of people think!

Food Safety

The most important duties of an OV is the area of hygiene in food and animal welfare when it comes to trade in meat and slaughter. The UK is home to one of the highest standards of animal and food safety laws around the globe. This is largely due to the usage of OVs. There’s an OV in each slaughterhouse for animals. The OV helps in inspecting the carcasses of animals following slaughter. It ensures that the meat is safe to be eaten by humans in addition to identifying any issues with animal welfare that the animal was suffering from, like the presence of worms or other injuries. Because each carcass is carefully examined, it is simple to stop a single carcass that is unhealthy from being a part of in the chain of food.

It is essential that OVs examine the animals and the products they produce prior to and after slaughter in order to ensure that their products are safe for humans and also assure customers that their meat is of the highest quality. A variety of diseases are transmitted by animals to humans. Therefore, OVs play a crucial role in reducing the spread of food-borne illnesses. Importantly, OVs are an important process in identifying illnesses that can be reported that are not easily detected, like feet and mouth diseases mad cow diseases, some tapeworms, and others that could have negative effects on the health of animals and humans when not detected and treated promptly.

It is the OV will also make sure that every animal carcass is properly labeled and properly processed and all by-products can be safely disposed. If there are concerns regarding the safety of food at any time during the process The OV can stop production until the problem is addressed.

Animal Welfare

When the animals are brought to slaughterhouses, they are checked. If there is any issue that need to be addressed, the OV is informed so that modifications can be made at the farm , or through the transportation. This ensures the welfare of animals and the quality of meat. Post-mortem inspections are an additional check on animal welfare issues on the farm even if they don’t affect human health, for instance, the ectoparasites.

In slaughterhouses, vets are also accountable for “emergency slaughter,” which occurs animals are suffering from any kind of discomfort or is suffering from a health issue The vet will swiftly end the animal’s life humanely in order to end the suffering.

Importation of animals and exportation of animal products

They also play a role beyond slaughterhouses. When animals are transported out from the UK (this usually via sea from ports as it is an island) It must be legal. This means that an OV must sign multiple documents referred to in the form of Export Health Certificates (EHC). An EHC assures that animals are handled in a safe and secure manner and that they are tracked. This is essential to determine and stop cases of outbreaks of disease. When a disease is discovered in an animal that originated from the UK It can be detected using EHCs. This also reduces the illegal movement of animals, which could affect the welfare of animals.

A different result of Brexit, following our departure from EU OVs play a different purpose, this one with companion animals. Before, traveling into the EU with pets was a requirement for an animal passport that was simple to obtain. Since Brexit was announced, the UK is now considered as a third nation by EU and therefore pets entering the EU is required to have the submission of an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to be completed with an OV. The OV has to make sure that your pet is microchipped and current with their routine vaccinations, is vaccinated against rabies (or blood test) and has been treated for tapeworms, if they’re an animal. AHC AHC could take several hours to complete correctly, and is only for one-time use unlike the prior pet passport. This means it could cost a traveler PS100 or more per pet every time they travel. Previously, pet passports were about PS60 which was valid for the duration of their validity.

In reality, OVs have always been signing AHCs for pets traveling to locations outside the EU However, now that EU pet travel is significantly more prevalent, OVs are finding they are signing more AHCs as opposed to before Brexit.

Are OVs important for you?

The importance of OVs is immense for anyone, regardless of whether you do not have pets and don’t eat meat. Foodborne illnesses are a major killer and easily pass from person to person with no any meat consumption. OVs can reduce this risk to a great extent, and also work to stop outbreaks quickly when they occur. A prime example is the outbreak of mad cow disease that occurred in the 1980s and 90s. the mad cow virus is prions (abnormal proteins) disease spread through beef that was infected by the spinal cord or brain. This complicated and slow-moving disease led to gradual neurological symptoms and then death in cattle and humans. The epidemic resulted in thousands of cattle being killed.

Since the time, new laws have put an end to any further spread An OV aids in this by helping to ensure that spinal cord and brain tissue is properly removed from the slaughterhouse, which prevents contamination of the meat. Even if you don’t know it, you’re protected by OVs each day. This concept of keeping both human and animal life is known as One Health. The OVs are a vital connection between regular vets and medical professionals for humans.

If you’re browsing the website of a vet and you see a vet identified as an OV, it could be relevant when you are planning traveling with pet.

Traveling isn’t permissible with no AHC or an OV Therefore, you must make sure you get in touch with an OV prior to traveling. Since not all vets are one, it is possible that you might be required to locate another vet practice that is OV , if the one you have does not have one. It’s normal to feel this is difficult, especially in the case of a simpler pet passport program prior to this. However, remember that AHCs exist to ensure human and animal wellbeing, both in UK as well as abroad. Both tapeworms and rabies can affect humans and cause severe diseases, so making sure the animals are safe is good for the human body too.

Also, OVs working in small animal practices are in search of any illnesses that affect the health of humans, like Rabies Toxoplasma, parasites and other. While looking for an OV in an animal clinic in your area as a pet’s owner isn’t required but it could be beneficial in certain scenarios.