Skip to content

What Does An OV Do?

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

What exactly is an OV?

An OV, also known as an Official Veterinarian is a vet who has been certified to do duties on behalf of government. Usually, this is in relation the public’s health. All OVs are veterinary surgeons who are registered but not all veterinary surgeons are OVs. To be an OV vets need to complete additional training known as the Official Control Qualifications (Veterinary) or OCQ(V). Then, they must be authorized to do so by an agency called the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

What are they doing?

The importance of OVs is much greater than people realize!

Food Safety

The most crucial tasks for an OV is the areas of animal welfare and food hygiene with regards to the trade in meat and slaughter. The UK is home to one of the strictest standards for animal and food safety standards globally. This is largely due to the usage of OVs. There’s an OV in each animal slaughterhouse. The OV helps in inspecting the carcasses of animals following slaughter. This helps ensure that the meat is safe to be eaten by humans in addition to identifying any issues with animal welfare that the animal suffered from, such as the presence of worms or other injuries. Because each carcass is carefully scrutinized, it is possible to stop a single carcass that is unhealthy from making it into to the food chain.

It is essential that OVs examine the animal and its products 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 can be passed on from animal products to human. This is why 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, specific tapeworms and many more that can cause harm to the health of animals and humans If not addressed and controlled quickly.

It is the OV will also make sure that each carcass of an animal is properly labeled and properly processed and all by-products can be safely disposed. If there are concerns about the safety of food at any time during the process The OV will stop production until the issue 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 changes can be implemented at the farm , or through transport. This safeguards the welfare of animals as well as the high-quality that the food is. Post-mortem inspections provide another opportunity to check for issues with the welfare of animals on the farm even if they are not affecting the health of humans, like the ectoparasites.

In slaughterhouses, vets are also in charge of “emergency slaughter,” which occurs animals are suffering from a plight or if its welfare is compromised The vet will swiftly kill the animal with humane methods to end the suffering.

Importation of animals and exportation of animal products

The OVs can also play a part in addition to slaughterhouses. If an animal is being transported out within the UK (this usually via sea from ports because the UK is an island) It is legal. This means that an OV must sign a variety of documents, referred to in the form of Export Health Certificates (EHC). An EHC assures that the animals are transported in a safe, secure, and efficient manner and that they are identified. It is crucial to detect and manage instances of disease outbreaks. When a disease is discovered within an animal originally from the UK it is detected using EHCs. It also helps to limit illegal movements of animals, which could affect animal welfare.

Another result of Brexit, following our departure from EU the OVs also have a new purpose, this one with companion animals. Before, traveling into the EU with pets was a requirement for the pet’s passport, which was simple to obtain. Since Brexit has taken place, the UK is now considered to be as a “third” member of the EU and therefore pets entering the EU is required to have the submission of an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to be completed through an OV. The OV has to verify that your pet’s microchip is and up-to-date with all their vaccinations and is vaccinated against rabies (or blood test) and has been treated for tapeworms, if they’re an animal. AHC AHC can take a long time to be signed correctly and is a one-time purchase in contrast to the previous pet passport. It can cost the traveler PS100 or more per pet each time they travel. Previously, pet passports are priced about PS60 as well. They were also valid for the duration of their validity.

In reality, OVs have always been signing AHCs for pets that travel to locations outside the EU However, now that EU travel for pets has become significantly more prevalent, OVs are finding they have signed more AHCs than they did prior to Brexit.

Are OVs important to you?

Ovs are extremely important to everyone, regardless of whether you don’t have pets or do not consume meat. Food-borne illnesses can be a huge threat to health and are easily transmitted between people without any meat consumption. OVs reduce the risk significantly, and help to stop outbreaks quickly when they occur. One of the most notable examples occurred during the Mad Cow Disease outbreak that occurred in the 1980s and 90s. the mad cow virus is Prions (abnormal proteins) disease transmitted through beef that was infected with the spinal cord or brain. The disease was complex and slow. led to gradual neurological symptoms and then death in cattle and humans. The spread of the disease caused thousands of cattle being killed.

Since the time, new laws have put an end to any further spread and an OV aids in this by helping to ensure that spinal cord and brain tissue is removed safely at the slaughterhouse, which prevents contamination of the meat. Therefore, even if you do not 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 looking at an online vet’s website and you see a vet listed as an OV this could be relevant to you when you are planning for a trip with pet.

Traveling isn’t permitted in the absence of an AHC or an OV Therefore, you must be sure to contact an OV prior to traveling. Since not all vets are affiliated with an organization, you might be required to locate another vet practice that is OOV if you do not have one. It’s normal to feel this is difficult, especially in the case of a simple pet passport system before. However, remember that AHCs exist to ensure human and animal well-being, both in the UK as well as abroad. Both tapeworms and rabies could be deadly to humans, and can cause diseases, so making sure the animals are safe is good for humans too.

Also, OVs working in small animal practices will be in search of any illnesses that affect human health, including Rabies Toxoplasma, parasites and other. While looking for an OV in the local clinic as a pet’s owner isn’t essential but it could be beneficial in certain scenarios.