Volume 1 Issue 1

Plant toxicosis in birds: educating owners

Veterinary professionals should educate bird owners on which plants may be highly poisonous as prevention of plant toxicosis is imperative. Accidental exposure by even the most well-intentioned pet owner may occur because of lack of general awareness about plants that are toxic to birds. Aggressive decontamination is the mainstay for preventing clinical toxicosis. Once poisoned, crop lavage followed by administration of activated charcoal is imperative to prevent further absorption of the toxicant by birds. Supportive and symptomatic care (in the form of nutritional support, fluid therapy, etc) is essential once clinical signs have already developed. This article reviews commonly available plants that are toxic to birds, and discusses the underlying mechanism of action of toxicosis and general treatment recommendations.

Evaluating the need for continuing professional development (CPD)

As professionals, it is essential that veterinary nurses seek to deliver the highest standards of patient care. In order to do this effectively, they must keep their skills and competence up to date. This article will discuss the need for relevant and effective continuing professional development (CPD) and methods by which it can be completed. The process of planning and organizing CPD relies on needs assessment to identify individual strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the article highlights the role of reflection in effective CPD with a comparison of two frequently cited reflective models. Veterinary nurses who maintain their competence as well as using evidenced-based practice to develop new skills, will also help to develop veterinary nursing as a profession.

Ear mites: tackling a persistent problem

Ear mites are a common problem in animals and frequently seen in companion animal practice. Otodectes cynotis is the best known ear mite, but is not the only one. Mites from the demodecidae and sarcoptidae family can also be found in the ear canal. Clinical signs of ear mites include excessive scratching of the ear, head shaking and dark brown crumbly wax. Transmission can occur by direct contact and also via fomites. Successful treatment of ear mites requires mechanical cleaning of the ear canal, topical and systemic treatment, and also cleaning of all the material that has been in contact with the mites, for example grooming tools, bedding materials and transport cages.

The effect of adding butorphanol tartrate to an acepromazine maleate premedicant on anaesthetic induction and recovery in dogs

This study evaluated the inclusion of butorphanol to an acepromazine maleate (ACP) premedication in 20 healthy bitches undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy to determine whether this was beneficial in improving the practice's premedication protocol. Ten bitches were administered ACP (0.04 mg/kg) and ten bitches were administered ACP (0.01 mg/kg) and butorphanol (0.01 mg/kg); both groups received carprofen (4 mg/kg). Anaesthesia was induced with propofol (4 mg/kg) to effect and was maintained on isoflurane. The time of extubation, sternal recumbency and standing was recorded, and pain scores were completed at 0, 1, 2, 3 and 24 hours. The volume of propofol required to induce anaesthesia was also recorded. Owners completed a questionnaire regarding the bitch's behaviour post operatively. It was concluded that the addition of butorphanol to an ACP premedication significantly increases the time for the bitch to regain sternal recumbency and to stand (p=0.017); all other differences in effects and observations between the two groups were statistically insignificant.

Do we need a new peer-reviewed veterinary nursing journal?

It is with great pleasure that I, along with my fellow editorial board members, introduce the first issue of The Veterinary Nurse, an exciting new journal for veterinary nurses and technicians worldwide. We aim to bring you informative evidence-based clinical articles, while a series of ‘How to’ articles will provide advice on improving your practical skills. Professional and ethical issues will be discussed and most importantly the journal will include articles that document the results of research specific to our profession, further enhancing the recognition our profession is developing and certainly deserves.

Human wrongs, animal rights

‘Of course I didn't eat your shoe’. We all know that look of innocence in a pet's eyes when they are lying to us. Or do we? Are we really in touch with their emotional world.

Pain assessment and pain scoring models: a review

With increasing awareness within the veterinary profession of the importance of recognizing pain in animals, it has become essential to ensure that the duty of care for patients includes assessing the animal for pain with the possible use of a good pain scoring model. There is much debate about the best possible intervention to achieve this goal, and with differing opinions on assessing pain a review of the literature revealed that a multidimentional approach, including physiological and behavioural responses of the patient and staff training in the use of a pain scoring model, achieved the best possible results.

Small animal post-operative orthopaedic rehabilitation

In the human medical world, post-operative rehabilitation is imperative to the successful outcome of the orthopaedic surgery patient. Rehabilitation of the canine patient is now also becoming recognized as an important facet of veterinary medicine. Rehabilitation may be provided by a variety of animal health professionals including animal physiotherapists, veterinarians and veterinary nurses. While having a qualified animal physiotherapist on site to oversee the rehabilitation of all patients is desirable, it is not always possible and treatment is often administered by veterinary nurses. This article outlines the aims of rehabilitation following orthopaedic surgery, when to commence therapy, appropriate selection, administration and monitoring of treatment techniques, contraindications and when to refer on to a qualified animal physiotherapist or back to the referring veterinarian.

Creating a nurse rota

This article aims to give people who are responsible for creating the nurse rota in practice a guide to getting started. It addresses the external factors, such as employment law, and also the internal factors, such as dealing with staff requests, both of which can have an affect on the production of the rota. It looks at the various methods used to create nurse rotas and how a consistent and fair rota will help the veterinary practice.

Manuka honey: an effective wound healing environment

Honey has been used for over 4000 years making it one of the oldest recorded therapies for treating wounds. Routinely and independently used over many different continents it was clearly a reliable method for wound management that had stood the test of time.The suggestion of honey for wounds today can still be looked upon as somewhat ‘alternative’. But in only a couple of years the use of honey, particlulary Activon Manuka Honey (Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK) has become a popular and successful treatment for all manner of veterinary wounds. This product focus explores some of the science behind honey, why manuka is preferential and how it has been used to date in veterinary patients.

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