BEVA Projects | BEVA
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BEVA Projects

We work on a number of projects and initiatives to help ensure that as a profession we thrive.

What we're working on?
Sedating for Non-Veterinary Procedures

BEVA is working on guidance to clarify the situation equine vets are in when asked to sedate horses for non-veterinary procedures (e.g. clipping, farriery, equine dental technician procedures). This is being carried out with input from the RVCS and VDS, and we hope to announce the new guidance later this year.

Leg Up Coaching

The Leg Up coaching scheme was the brainchild of BEVA Past-President, Renate Weller back in 2019, and has gone from strength to strength since, with BEVA Council member, Kate Blakeman, now overseeing the scheme. 

It has seen 44 members coached by a total of 13 members who volunteered to be trained as coaches at the outset. In early 2023 the scheme was extended from the original 0-3 year graduates to include 0-5 year graduates. This autumn there is another cohort of BEVA members who have volunteered to undergo training to be coaches. The feedback has been phenomenal and we are proud of the support this scheme offers to new graduates seeking sustainable careers in equine practice.

Go to the Leg Up coaching scheme.

Back in the Saddle

Following on from the success of the Leg Up coaching scheme for 0-5 year graduates, it was suggested that BEVA could provide career coaching to members beyond the five years of graduation. Discussion led to the idea of this taking the form of group coaching, which it was felt could be of more benefit to people in this later stage of their career. 

Many equine vets seem to encounter issues regarding their careers around the middle-age point of life, when families take precedence, illness and injury may have been acquired, and priorities have simply changed as a result of life progressing. By creating a forum for like-minded individuals who have career queries and conundrums, within which they can air their thoughts and seek ideas and inspiration from others in a safe and familiar environment, we hope to help those who want to stay in practice and help others explore other avenues.

Coaches for the Back in the Saddle scheme are scheduled to undergo training later this year, with the view to opening up group coaching for the first cohort in January 2024.

Residency Guide

The Careers Committee have been busy developing guidance and advice for students and new grads. Following on from their valuable work setting up the BEVA Recognised Internships initiative, the natural progression was to provide information and help to those seeking to achieve further formal qualification amongst the opportunities offered by equine residency programmes. 

Information about residencies both in the UK and abroad will be available later this year.

Pregnancy and Parenting

Following on from the success of BEVA Past-President, Vicki Nicholls’ initiative for working mums in equine practice, MumsVet, the current Council members were tasked with updating the resources and extending them to all parents in the equine veterinary profession. From working whilst pregnancy, to understanding parental leave and pay, and being prepared for when things don’t go to plan, the new Pregnancy & Parenting webpage should provide you with all you need to know, whether you are an employee or employer. Access to the right information and facilitating understanding between individuals, is fundamental to ensuring that parenting as equine vets is as straight-forward as possible for members of the equine profession.

Staying Sound

Council member, Sophie Eaden, has been the driving force behind developing BEVA’s mental health and well-being resources. Equine practice can present some specific challenges which members might struggle to find relevant information on, extrapolating from other veterinary industries and more general resources. The Staying Sound initiative is aimed at signposting to existing resources and filling in the gaps that begin to show themselves. BEVA is aware of the physical and mental strain that equine practice can pose to its members, and whilst there are limits on how we can minimise this as an association, there is no limit to how our membership can support each other. We have listened to those who have presented solutions and we hope to provide a hub of information to share that with all our members.

Radiography Skills

Radiography skills are essential to most in equine practice, both vets and nurses. While we will not all be dedicated radiographers, we have a duty to ensure our skills are sufficient in order to carry out diagnostic procedures which involve ionising radiation, both within clinics and out in the field. Insurance companies see a wide range of quality of radiograph amongst those taken for pre-purchase examinations. BEVA endeavours to help improve the skillset of all members who are willing to try, by way of offering practical CPD, live online and membership app discussion forums, and recorded webinars. There are hopes and plans afoot to produce an online platform for interactive learning, which should see a one-stop-shop created to reference technique and appraise outcomes in order to enable learning and improving skills across the board.

ProtectMeToo - Avenging the Abuse of Anthelmintics

Following on from the legacy of the ProtectME toolkit that saw equine vets sit up and take responsibility for the use of antibiotics in practice, this next chapter is the war on overuse of anthelmintics. BEVA’s Anthelmintic Working Group, with the help of the Sustainability Group, is putting together a ProtectMeToo toolkit to help practitioners ensure the appropriate use of anthelmintics in equine practice, taking into account diagnostic tests, treatment options, resistance, and environmental impact. This work is being done alongside that of the VMD’s CANTER initiative, but with our aim being vets and how we can influence use of anthelmintics alongside the role played by SQPs and online pharmacies. Collaborative work is always best and while the overall situation is not wholly within our control, we can ensure our own camp is in order when it comes to responsible use of medicines.

Semen and Embryo Storage Survey

Council member, James Crabtree, has been the workhorse behind this project, following some concerning revelations at the December 2022 BEVA Advanced Reproduction Discussion Forum. A poll about semen and embryo storage tank failures showed that 20% of the respondents had experienced a tank issue resulting in the loss of semen and embryos. This was a far greater number than had been predicted and indicated a serious issue which needed addressing.

James has created a survey for BEVA AI List members which mirrors similar research done in human cryogenic storage facilities, in quantifying the rate of semen and embryo storage cryogenic tank failures and identify the issues leading to significant and/or critical events.

We hope to use this data as a benchmark, and it will likely result in the creation of guidance and resources to help our members minimise such critical and adverse events. We also hope to liaise with insurers, so that they understand what standard operating practices are within our industry and what insurance cover needs to provide.

    The survey is currently being reviewed by the RCVS Ethical Review Panel, then once approved we will be in contact with those practices.

    Euthanasia Guidelines Review

    At this year’s Equine Insurance Providers Meeting, it was noted that BEVA’s ‘Guide to Best Practice for Veterinary Surgeons When Considering Euthanasia on Humane Grounds: Where Horses are Insured Under an All Risks of Mortality Insurance Policy’ had not been reviewed since 2009. Council member, Ian Beamish, was tasked with leading a small group to review the current guidance and work together with the equine insurance providers to update if and where necessary.

    Splinting Aide Memoire

    Nicola Housby-Skeggs of The Horse Trust has been working with Council member, Ian Beamish, to create a easy-reference, digital guide to splinting limb fractures in the field. There is everything from what equipment you need, technique, rationale and how to make splints out of a wooden pallet. There will be photos and videos to help you make the right decision under pressure, and to give the patient the best chance of a good recovery.

    PPE Toolkit

    Tim Mair’s original BEVA Pre-Purchase Examination manual has stood the test of time, and together with the ever-popular PPE – The Essentials CPD course, have guided equine vets through this tricky part of equine practice for years now. A few years ago Council members set about reviewing the manual and have created a digital PPE Toolkit, which contains all the information and documents you need to confidently navigate the PPE process in the UK. A new Seller Declaration document is undergoing refinement with the VDS and RCVS, and will be promoted as an industry standard in collaboration with the British Horse Society. The aim is that all parties involved will clearly understand their roles and responsibilities as they proceed through a vetting, from start to finish, with minimal potential for misunderstanding and confusion.

    Power to Ukraine

    Power to Ukraine is a joint initiative between BEVA and World Horse Welfare conceived out of the desire to help fellow veterinary surgeons and centres caring for displaced horses in Ukraine.

    The aim of the project is to supply portable generators to colleagues in Ukraine. To date the project has raised sufficient monies to purchase 24 portable generators and plans are currently being made to transfer these into Ukraine. In addition, donations of veterinary equipment that is good working order and may be of benefit in a limited resources setting, is being sought. For more information or to get involved please contact Alison Talbot on