Volume 11 Issue 1

Creepy crawlies in dogs and cats: how to find and treat them

Ectoparasites are a common cause of pruritus in dogs and cats. There are many treatments available, but despite this they remain a problem in general practice. This article will discuss the commonly found ectoparasites in dogs and cats namely: fleas, lice, Sarcoptes spp., Cheyletiella spp., and Demodex spp.. We will discuss clinical signs, what tests can be used to make a diagnosis and how to treat these conditions.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca in dogs

This article discusses keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), factors that may contribute towards KCS and how we might treat/manage it. KCS is often characterised by uncomfortable eyes accompanied with mucopurulent discharge and a general dry appearance to the cornea. Often these patients present to the veterinary practice with secondary complications such as corneal ulcers and infections. In this instance it may be difficult to get a diagnosis of KCS, however this article will discuss some pre-disposing factors, and this information along with patient history may help towards deciding treatment options. KCS can be difficult to manage if the patient is not cooperative and so this article will touch on cyclosporin implants which can be a median-term alternative to administering eye drops. Cyclosporin implants are commonly used in veterinary equine practice, however they can be similarly used for small animal patients and can provide much relief for pets and owners!

Cardiovascular monitoring of the canine gastric dilatation volvulus patient

Gastric dilatation volvulus is an acute and life-threatening disease requiring immediate intervention and intensive nursing. The presence of a large gas-filled stomach and subsequent twisting of the stomach results in compression of surrounding organs, hypovolaemic and cardiogenic shock. Cardiovascular effects of gastric dilatation volvulus include cardiac arrhythmias, hypotension, electrolyte and acid–base imbalance, and ischaemia-reperfusion injury. Understanding the negative effects on the cardiovascular system will allow detection and early intervention should complications arise.

Practical behavioural first aid for rabbits

According to a survey conducted by the RSPCA, rabbits are one of the most neglected and misunderstood pets in the UK. As they suffer in silence, welfare issues can go unnoticed unless they become a problem for the owner.

How to perform a conscious oral examination on a cat and what to look for

Diseases of the oral cavity are a common presentation in veterinary clinics. Veterinary nurses play a vital role in recognising issues that need veterinary intervention. Although teeth pay a big part in the oral examination, they are not the only structure to look at. This article aims to show you how to perform a good conscious oral examination on a cat, and what signs to look for as it involves more than just lifting the lips.

How to conduct an effective patient handover

Within a busy veterinary practice, it can feel at times as if there is simply no time to stop. There is always a set of test results ready, medication to be administered, clients to call and so on. However, taking the time to properly hand over details of your patients to the next staff member is vital in providing continuity of care. British Medical Association (BMA) et al (2005) suggested that handover of care is one of the most perilous procedures in healthcare; when carried out improperly this can be considered a major contributory factor to subsequent error and harm to patients. There is also the human cost to consider: the distress, anxiety and loss of confidence that poor handovers can lead to for clients and for staff. It is therefore essential that all personnel involved in patient handovers understand the most effective methods and are aware of what information to prioritise.

Stress and compassion fatigue in veterinary nurses in New Zealand

Background: Stress and compassion fatigue are widely acknowledged as prevalent in workers in ‘caring’ roles, however this has not been widely documented in New Zealand veterinary nurses. Aim: This project aimed to investigate the prevalence of stress and compassion fatigue in New Zealand veterinary nurses. Method: Using an online survey, veterinary nurses were asked to self-report their incidence of stress or compassion fatigue felt as a result of their working environment. Veterinary nurses were also asked to report the ways in which they cope with stress and compassion fatigue, and their likelihood of changing jobs. Results: There were 288 responses to the survey. Of these, 94% of respondents reported feeling stressed and 82% reported experiencing compassion fatigue as a result of their work. 30% of respondents reported an increase in the consumption of alcohol/cigarettes and drugs as a result of stress. Most respondents reported managing their stress and compassion fatigue by talking to colleagues or family. A large number of respondents reported having considered a career change at some stage due to stress or compassion fatigue. Conclusion: This research demonstrates a high incidence of stress and compassion fatigue in New Zealand veterinary nurses, with a low percentage of those seeking professional support. Further investigation into combatable causal factors for stress as it differs from compassion fatigue is warranted to ultimately offer support to veterinary nurses to continue their vocation.

It's FAB! Launch of the Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians (FABC)

This week marks an exciting new era in the world of clinical animal behaviour with the official launch of the Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians (FABC), an organisation with a clear purpose in supporting the development of clinical animal behaviourists in the UK. Claire Hargrave explains.

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