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FAQs Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in veterinary practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

17 December 2020

248kb PDF

This document supersedes the versions authored on the 29/05/2020, 17/05/2020 and 6/04/2020. It takes into account the Public Health England advice which was updated on 20/08/2020 and is now a joint document from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS)/National Services Scotland, Public Health England (PHE), and NHS England; The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance which was updated on the 20/08/2020 on when and how to use masks; the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) guidelines which were updated on 27/07/2020; the RCVS latest guidelines which were updated on 10/12/2020.

A version with track changes is available upon request from [email protected].

This document sets out to answer the following frequently asked questions:

What are the key measures I can take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission?
Should I wear a uniform?
When should I wear gloves?
What if the supply of gloves to veterinary practice becomes limited?
Do I need to wear a face mask as a routine in veterinary practice?
Do I need to use full PPE as routine?
What should I wear for offsite visits?
What PPE should I use when dealing with an animal from a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 positive household?
Should we wash or wipe down animals in the practice?
What should I wear to clean the practice?
How should I wash myself and my clothes?
What should I do if there is a shortage of PPE?
Other useful links

This document has been written by Dr Tim Nuttall BVSc BSc CertVD CBiol MRSB PhD MRCVS and Pam Mosedale BVetMed MRCVS. It is based on information gathered during the production of the RCVS Knowledge webinar, Part 1: Infection control and biosecurity during COVID-19, recorded on the 29th March 2020 ( and on information set out in the useful links.

The information provided is for educational purposes and does not override the responsibility of the practitioner. Informed decisions should be made by considering such factors as the current evidence base, individual clinical expertise and judgement along with patients’ circumstances and owners’ values. While RCVS Knowledge believe that all content herein are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication, they accept no legal responsibility for any errors or omissions, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to material contained within.

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