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About The Veterinary Nurse

The Veterinary Nurse – now part of the UK-VET group of titles – is the leading international peer-reviewed journal for veterinary nurses. It publishes evidence-based clinical, educational and practical articles, in addition to the latest nurse-led veterinary research. It promotes gold standard care by supporting readers’ continuing professional development and by sharing best practice worldwide.

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Achieve all your CPD: The Veterinary Nurse  produces an extensive range for CPD content, supporting subscribers to complete the mandatory requirement of 45 hours’ CPD over a 3-year period. Premium and website subscribers can access our latest and archive modules, a selection of which can be found below. Subscribe Today

Nurse parasite clinics and the benefits of routine testing

Cats and dogs are infected with a wide range of parasites, many of which are capable of causing or contributing to disease. Veterinary nurses play a vital role in helping to formulate parasite control plans for pets. Routine diagnostic testing alongside risk-based appropriate preventative treatment is important for efficacy of treatment to be monitored, screening for sub-clinical parasitic infections and drug resistance and to demonstrate that current parasite control recommendations are adequate. A wide range of diagnostic tools are available to veterinary practices and this article considers some of the diagnostic techniques available for routine parasite diagnosis and how they might be used in parasite prevention plans for cats and dogs.

Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) exposure in dogs

Blue-green algae are cyanobacteria that grow in fresh, brackish or sea water. Under certain environmental conditions they form blooms in water bodies and these often colour the water blue-green (or brown, black or red). These blooms have long been known to be associated with animal deaths, occasionally resulting in mass mortality events of wildlife. Cyanotoxins produced by these organisms are neurotoxic, hepatotoxic or, less commonly, dermatotoxic. Gastrointestinal effects may also occur. Signs can be very rapid in onset, particularly with neurotoxic compounds, with death following soon after. Hepatic effects generally occur within 24 hours. Aggressive and rapid treatment is essential with decontamination, liver protectants and supportive care. Survival is rare in animals with significant clinical signs. Not all algal blooms are toxic, however, and confirmation of exposure is rarely available and not within a clinically relevant time frame. Illness and deaths in dogs associated with suspected blue-green algae exposure are signal events and should be reported to the relevant environmental authority to safeguard public and animal health.

The importance of lavage in wound care

Open wound management in veterinary practice is commonplace, with the aim to provide the optimum wound condition to help aid healing and closure of the wound. There are four main principles of wound management needed to provide a healing environment. There needs to be identification and control of any infection and contamination, and wound necrosis needs to be controlled, any ongoing deterioration in the wound controlled and acted on and any further damage to the wound needs to be prevented. This article looks at lavage, one of the most important firstline methods in controlling infection and discusses how it is performed.

Poisons affecting the skin

All homes contain substances capable of causing serious injury if they come into contact with the skin. These substances include detergents, acids and alkalis found in many cleaning products, and petroleum distillates such as white spirit and petrol. Asphalt used in road surfacing can also cause local effects, particularly if it is still hot when contact occurs. The risk of effects on the skin from these chemicals is increased if decontamination in delayed. The method of decontamination will depend on the substance involved but in many cases simple bathing is sufficient. Removal of oily or greasy substances may require the use of a commercial degreaser and sticky material may need to be softened with oil or fat to facilitate removal. Decontamination after contact with corrosive substances may require prolonged and repeated water irrigation to ensure thorough removal. Another potential source of dermal injury in pets is exposure to psoralen-containing plants (such as hogweed, Heracleum spp.) in combination with ultraviolent light (sunlight) which can result in erythema, blistering and dermatitis. In this case, management is supportive with avoidance of sunlight.

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