Pain is an under-recognised, under-diagnosed and under-treated condition in animals. Chronic pain is a significant welfare concern in our fifth life stage (or end-of-life) veterinary patients. This article aims to look at three common conditions that can adversely affect end-of-life patients: osteoarthritis, dental disease, and cancer. It will then look at how the pain in these conditions can be effectively addressed and managed.
The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii was initially isolated from the rodent Ctenodactylus gundi, and it has been found worldwide from Alaska to Australia with nearly one third of the human population having been exposed to this parasite. All warm-blooded hosts, including humans, can be infected by any one of its three infective stages: tachyzoites, bradyzoites, and sporozoites. Felids are the definitive hosts of this intracellular pathogen. Although it usually causes mild disease or asymptomatic infection in immunocompetent adults, this parasite can cause devastating disease in congenitally infected children and those with depressed immunity. Because of its zoonotic potential, toxoplasmosis triggers the interest of the diverse medical and veterinary specialities. Consciousness needs to be increased that this disease can produce clinical cases not only in immunocompromised patients or through vertical transmission, but also in healthy patients. In this article, we will review the biology and the epidemiology of this parasite.
Ear disease is a common problem in primary care practice. A clear understanding of the underlying causes of disease, the need to recognise and treat infection effectively and reverse chronic change to the canal, are key to resolving disease and preventing recurrence. Although nurse's are not in a position to diagnose Pseudomonas infection in practice, it is important that they are aware of the aggressive, multiply resistant nature of the infection and the typical presenting signs of the disease. They can play an important role in the management of all otic disease but especially in Pseudomonas infection where owner compliance is often key to a successful outcome. Their input may be through a knowledge of taking and interpreting otic cytology or by giving advice to owners on the most effective way they can treat their pets through gentle cleaning and sympathetic choice of ear products.
Blood circulates as a liquid containing cells and numerous chemicals; it functions to transport nutrients, chemicals, oxygen and waste products to and from cells, and is involved in defence and wound repair to tissues. Numerous toxic substances can disrupt the normal function of the blood through various mechanisms resulting in clinical signs of poisoning. Some of the substances that commonly cause adverse effects on the blood in companion animals are described. These include onions and related food plants which cause oxidative damage to red blood cells and the formation of Heinz bodies, and zinc which causes haemolytic anaemia. Haemoglobin is also subject to oxidative damage from paracetamol metabolites resulting in the formation of methaemoglobin which is non-functioning, resulting in tissue hypoxia. Disruption of the clotting cascade by anticoagulant rodenticides results in delayed-onset haemorrhage and the drug 5-fluorouracil disrupts the formation of blood cells causing bone marrow depression.
Drugs used to treat heart disease and heart failure are divided into categories depending on their mode of action. The three main groups are diuretics to remove excess fluid, positive inotropes to improve contractility, and neurohormonal inhibitors that prevent activation of compensatory mechanisms. Drugs used to treat arrhythmias are divided into those that target tachyarrhythmias, and those that act on bradyarrhythmias. All drugs used in cardiac patients can have adverse effects and so it is vital that veterinary nurses know how they work and how to monitor them.
There are many different enteral feeding tubes available for use in veterinary practice to support the nutritional management of a wide variety of patients. This article aims to provide practical advice and guidance with regards to all stages of tube feed administration to ensure it is done safely and the tube is of maximum benefit to the patient and its recovery from illness or injury.
Vascular ring anomalies present in young patients and will inhibit growth and development. Therefore it is essential that these patients have the anomaly corrected as soon as clinically stable enough to undergo surgical correction. In particular the congenital malformation of the persistent right aortic arch (PRAA) is uncommon in practice to see, but does require good knowledge and understanding by the veterinary team to provide a successful outcome.
This year's RAW campaign is ‘Protect & Prevent’ and we're raising awareness around how owners can protect their rabbits by getting them vaccinated and help to prevent the spread of the deadly diseases that affect rabbits.