Volume 10 Issue 5

Looking after the end-of-life patient: four case studies

Patients that are in the fifth life stage (end-of-life) often present with multiple problems, which makes them challenging cases. Often, these patients are very vulnerable, and this is sometimes overlooked. This article aims to provide a brief and basic overview of looking after the end-of-life patient, whether at home or in hospital, by utilising a framework adapted from the 2016 International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, and American Animal Hospital Association Guidelines (IAAHPC/AAHA).

Best practice parasite prevention in the travelling pet

The number of pets travelling under PETS is increasing year on year, while at the same time, climate change and increased movement of people is affecting parasite distribution across Europe and the wider world. Accurate parasite prevention advice to clients taking their pets abroad is therefore vital to keep pets and owners safe. It is also an important aspect of UK biosecurity and the prevention of exotic parasites and vectors establishing. Although it is the role of the Official Veterinarians (OV) to issue passports and ensure legal pet travel requirements are followed, nurses also play a pivotal role in discussing parasite risks with clients and ensure accurate up to date preventative advice is given. This article summarises the risks posed by some of the major parasites and vectors across Europe and effective practical prevention advice to give to clients.

Nutrition for kittens

Nutritional requirements were set for dogs way back in 1971 by the National Research Council, with cats' needs going broadly unrecognised and certainly undifferentiated from those of dogs until 1986. However, the nutritional requirements of cats are very different from dogs in all stages of life, from pregnancy through lactation, their rapid growth period and throughout the remainder of their lives. This article looks in depth at each different stage of growth, noting some of the specific nutritional peculiarities of cats and provides important information to allow veterinary staff to make informed feeding recommendations to kitten owners.

Canine encephalitis — inflammation of the brain

Encephalitis is described as inflammation of the brain and can be defined as infectious and non-infectious. Susceptibility to the condition can depend on the genetic makeup of the dog and the location in which they live, as geographic-specific pathogens can play a large part in causing infectious encephalitis. The disorder is diagnosed as non-infectious immune-mediated encephalitis when there is no pathogen as the cause. This article explores the condition of the canine central nervous system, discussing the type, cause, clinical signs, diagnosis and treatment. It outlines the importance of nursing care for the neurologically impaired patient.

Canine immune-mediated thrombocytopenia

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT) is a common disease in dogs. Primary IMT is idiopathic, while secondary IMT can result from a variety of infectious agents or some treatments. Symptoms may include lethargy, anorexia and mild pyrexia, together with a low platelet count and associated bleeding disorders. Prognosis is generally positive, but reduced with presence of melena or raised blood urea nitrogen. Treatment will include some form of immunosuppressive therapy, such as prednisolone, which can have multiple side effects. Nursing the IMT patient will aim at monitoring and reducing spontaneous haemorrhage and managing treatment side effects. To ensure owner understanding and compliance, it is vital to discuss these side effects and any appropriate home adjustments so an achievable plan can be developed for home care.

Anaesthetic management of a patient undergoing unilateral phacoemulsification with concurrent diabetes mellitus

This report discusses the anaesthetic approach of a canine undergoing a phacoemulsification surgery with concurrent diabetes mellitus. It is the anaesthetic nurse's role and responsibility to deliver updated and high quality nursing care, therefore it is vital to know basic physiology of the patient and pharmacodynamics of anaesthetic drugs as it affects the outcome of the procedure and the recovery. This article looks at the important anaesthetic aspects of both the speciality procedure and the disease in the pre, peri and post anaesthetic period.

An investigation of the prevalence of compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction and burnout in those working in animal-related occupations using the Professional Quality of Life (ProQoL) Scale

Background: Animal-related occupational stress and compassion fatigue are important issues as they can have a negative impact on employee mental wellbeing, workplace productivity and morale. The impacts of these conditions are notable and have become more recognised by those who are employed in animal-related occupations. Aims: This study aims to investigate the incidence of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue (burnout and secondary traumatic stress) in those working in animal-related occupations using the Professional Quality of Life (ProQoL) Scale. Methods: Data were collected from 229 employees from a range of animal-related occupations using an anonymous self-report survey. Results: Most respondents were employed in veterinary practice (either veterinarians or veterinary nurses/technicians) and 85% of all respondents were female. 42% of participants were between 26 and 35 years of age and, 71% had been working in animal-related occupations between 1 and 10 years. Most participants scored in the mean or top quartile on the compassion satisfaction scale; however, about a quarter reported a score which indicated that they were deriving less satisfaction from their work. Low burnout was reported by 78% of participants; however, 21% of participants had a score which indicated that they were at higher risk of burnout. Low or average symptoms of secondary traumatic stress was reported by 74% of participants; however, 25.8% were at risk of secondary traumatic stress. While most of the surveyed population scored in the mean or top quartile on the compassion satisfaction scale, all of the occupational categories reported experiencing the negative aspects of caring: burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Conclusion: The prevalence of compassion fatigue demonstrated in these results should be a major concern in animal-related occupations and thus, be used as a beneficial, contextualised resource to inform resilience training programmes and preventative strategies specifically targeted towards those working in animal-related occupations.

Keep up to date with The Veterinary Nurse!

Sign up to The Veterinary Nurse's regular newsletters and keep up-to-date with the very latest clinical research and CPD we publish each month.