Volume 11 Issue 5

Nursing advice for owners of a visually impaired dog

Dogs are often presented in first opinion practice with visual impairment resulting from a variety of acute and progressive diseases or trauma. Visual impairment and blindness in dogs can be distressing for both the patient and the owner, and registered veterinary nurses can provide guidance and support on the adjustments needed to allow the patient to have a good quality of life. This article will discuss the disease processes, treatment options and client education for canine blindness.

Vector-borne disease distributions and risks to the UK

In the recent decades, the geographic distribution of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) of dogs and cats has changed for intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. Therefore some infections/infestations, some of zoonotic concern, have been recorded in geographic areas where they were unexpected. In Europe, arthropods (e.g. ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and sand flies) and the pathogens that they transmit are in general considered to be more frequent in the Mediterranean Basin. Nonetheless, a possible occurrence in other regions should not be a priori excluded, given that travels of animals (to or imported from endemic areas), movements of goods and global warming all may foster the introduction of vectors and/or transmitted pathogens in previously free areas. This could also be the case in the UK, which, because of its territorial characteristics as an island area in north-western Europe, is traditionally considered at minor risk of VBDs. Given the growing increase of movements and travels of pets, and changes in the phenology of many arthropod vectors, it is crucial that veterinary practitioners are aware of and prepared to diagnose, treat and control a series of unexpected diseases.

Complications of diabetes mellitus in canine and feline patients

Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrinopathy diagnosed in small animal patients, and once stable can be managed and well controlled in the home environment. Complications can occur, however, when unexpected factors arise which can cause destabilisation of the patient. This article will provide a brief review of diabetes mellitus in canine and feline patients before describing some of the common complications that may be observed including hypoglycaemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, urinary tract infection, diabetic neuropathy and cataracts. The aim is to ensure the veterinary nurse has a good understanding of these complications, for them to be aware of the clinical symptoms that may be displayed, and for them to appreciate the different treatment options available allowing them to be efficient advocates for their patients should the need arise.

Healthy rabbits and communicating with owners

Rabbits need species-specific care, in order to meet their health, welfare and behavioural needs. Preventative health care is imperative to help keep rabbits healthy. Advice needs to be given to owners on their rabbit's dietary requirements, and why hay and grass is imperative as the bulk of their diet. Vaccinations to help prevent myxomatosis and rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease (RVHD1 and RVHD2) should be advised for all rabbits, including house rabbits. Rabbits require adequate space and the companionship of another rabbit to live a good quality life. They should have access to an exercise area, and have the choice of where to spend their time, without the need to be picked up and moved from a hutch to a run.Many owners will look to veterinary nurses for current advice, and it is important that nurses feel confident in offering the most up-to-date information. At times, it may be that owners need to make changes to the way they care for their rabbits, and being confident in explaining why these need to be implemented, and the positive effects these will have on the rabbit's life, is vital.

Canine degenerative myelopathy

Canine degenerative myelopathy is a progressive, debilitating condition of older, often large breed dogs, and is seen on a fairly frequent basis in practice. This article discusses the background of the condition including clinical signs to be expected at different stages in the disease process, how the condition is diagnosed, and looks at how best the condition can be managed using rehabilitation therapies with no curative treatment currently available. It also includes a case study describing a rehabilitation protocol for a patient referred for rehabilitation by the referring veterinary surgeon following diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy.

How to manage the practice dispensary

Dispensary management is made of different elements: the stock (what you stock, the amount you stock, rotation of old and new); the personnel within the dispensary; and the protocols that they are required to adhere to. Some of these elements you will be in control of and some will be set out by the practice. Monitoring of stock usage helps to set overall quantities of what is kept in. Monitoring of any dispensing errors can help identify how to improve protocols, placement of items on shelves and look at the type and quantity of items that are held in stock.

Nursing implications of over-breeding brachycephalic canines, focusing on British and French Bulldogs

Background: Within the veterinary field there are currently limited data on the role of registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) in improving the health of brachycephalic canines. To tackle this the veterinary team must discourage further breeding of those with predisposed health conditions. This can be done through raising awareness. Aims: The purpose of this study was to determine the nursing implications of overbreeding French and British Bulldogs. RVNs completed an online questionnaire on brachycephalic canines and clinical occurrence in practice. Data collected were extracted from NoviSurvey and analysed using Excel and Minitab 15. Results: Out of 103 participants, 67 responses were valid. Results showed a high prevalence of brachycephalic canines in practice, with 79% of RVNs treating them at least once a day. Caesarean sections were common, with 43% of RVNs identifying genetic abnormalities in brachycephalic litters on a frequent basis. Social media was identified as a cause for the increase in ownership. Conclusion: The veterinary profession must now play a larger role in public education to assist in improving welfare in these breeds.

Sailing in the same sea, but in different boats

‘We are all sailing in the same sea, but we are all on different boats’. Does this resonate with you? Carolyne Crowe from VDS Training and Lou Northway from @LouTheVetNurse have been running free nurse support sessions over the past few weeks, and during this week's session, this metaphor really summed up the discussions around the challenges of returning to work after furlough and re-establishing teams.

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