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Role of vets in practice

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As a vet in practice, you can participate in surveillance by:

  • Discussing cases, particularly new, unusual severe or unresponsive, with APHA’s Veterinary Investigation Officers. You don't need to send in a submission to discuss cases or get free advice from vets in the network
  • Following best guidelines when making a submission. Take a look at our online submitting service
  • When submitting samples for post mortem examination or laboratory testing, make sure you complete all the boxes on the submission form so that all data relevant for interpretation and further analysis of results is captured

Vets in practice have a crucial role in scanning surveillance as the 'eyes and ears' of animal health and welfare on farms, investigating herd and flock health and production problems on a daily basis across the country.

Engagement with scanning surveillance provides benefits for vets and their clients through rapid and specific disease diagnosis, allowing prompt and effective decisions on treatment. It also allows us to monitor local and national disease trends, so that information on changes in disease patterns can be shared more widely. An example of sharing the data can be seen on the disease surveillance dashboard.

The scanning surveillance network also generates a wide range of information from the contacts and case discussions that take place between vets in practice and vets in the surveillance network.

Submissions to the diagnostic network by vets contribute to a wide range of other benefits of surveillance including:

  • Finding new or unusual antimicrobial or anthelminthic resistance patterns that can impact the effectiveness of treatment
  • Detecting and controlling zoonotic diseases, which can be followed up in collaboration with public health agencies
  • Helping to fulfil statutory national and international disease reporting requirements
  • Promptly detecting ‘chemical food safety’ threats which can be investigated on behalf of the Food Standards Agency, to protect the food chain
  • Promptly detecting threats to international trade
  • Identifying suspect adverse reactions which can be investigated on behalf of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  • Gathering evidence to inform the need for further field studies and targeted surveillance
  • Building a valuable archive of samples which can be stored for use in test validation, or for scientific research to help understand livestock and wildlife diseases.