People: Sarah Allen, Dan O'Neill, Jackie Cardwell, Kristien Verheyen, David Brodbelt

Vet Compass Project Type: Horse

Dates: September - November 2021


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on every aspect of our lives.  Throughout this challenging period, veterinary professionals have had to adapt their way of working in order to maintain essential services, whilst protecting their own health and that of colleagues and clients1-2.  Given the potential for reduced health-seeking behaviour by horse owners and delays in diagnosis and treatment during the pandemic, animal health and welfare may have been adversely affected.  The RVC-based VetCompass™ animal health surveillance programme collates anonymised electronic patient records (EPRs) from equine, small animal and farm veterinary practices in the UK.  Analysis of these records can provide objective insight into changes in veterinary activity and care over time.

Aims and objectives

To evaluate the impact of the pandemic on equine veterinary activity in the UK and explore the contribution of telemedicine to case management. 

 The specific objectives are to:

  • To describe the nature of equine veterinary activity before and during  the COVID-19 pandemic for a convenience sample of 20 mixed and equine veterinary practices in the UK.  The number of equids under active care, the number of care episodes provided and an estimation of proportional face-to-face activity will be reported.
  • Provide a detailed review of veterinary activity for a random sample of equids under active care in each of four key two-month periods two before and two during the pandemic). 

Funding Body

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons


1British Veterinary Association.  Veterinary Practices to Remain Open only for Emergency Care and to Maintain Food Supply Chain.  Available online:

2British Equine Veterinary Association . BEVA COVID-19 Guidelines for Vets and Veterinary Practices 06/01/21.  Available online:

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