Volume 11 Issue 7

Moral distress, compassion fatigue and burn-out in veterinary practice

Concerns regarding compassion fatigue and burn-out in veterinary practice are steadily increasing. Burn-out is defined as the state in which a person feels emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. Work-related stress can have a significant impact on our quality of life and unfortunately lead to burn-out, moral distress and compassion fatigue. As veterinary professionals are exposed to ethical dilemmas and stressful situations daily, it is important that they are aware of the signs of burn-out and how it can be managed.

Kirby's Rule of 20: the veterinary nurse's critical patient checklist part 2

Kirby's Rule of 20 is a patient checklist including 20 parameters that should be checked daily in the critically ill patient. It reviews the established evidence-based information regarding patient checklist use in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine. The list of 20 will be discussed over a four-part series to give an appropriate level of information and attention to each patient parameter. Part 2 includes: blood pressure, body temperature, oxygenation and ventilation, red blood cells and haemoglobin, and coagulation cascade.

Educating clients about raw diets and the associated parasitic risks

Raw diets are increasing in popularity among UK cat and dog owners with a trend towards home prepped rather than processed formulations. This potentially exposes household pets to parasitic infections which can lead to direct zoonotic risk and economic losses for farmers. These parasites include the tapeworms Taenia species and Echinococcus granulosus, and a wide range of cyst forming protozoa such as Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum and Sarcocystis species. Avoiding feeding pets raw diets or adequate freezing prior to feeding that kills the cystic stages of these parasites, avoids exposure via this route. This forms an important part of controlling food-borne parasites in addition to worm treatment, responsible disposal of dog faeces, good hand hygiene and keeping dogs on leads on and around ruminant pasture. Many pet owners are unaware of the parasitic risk posed by raw feeding and client education is crucial in helping to prevent pet exposure. Veterinary nurses play a vital role in educating clients and working with them to minimise parasites transmitted by raw feeding.

CPD article: Poisons affecting the cardiovascular system

Cardiac and cardiovascular function can be affected by numerous substances, including overdose of drugs for cardiac and cardiovascular conditions, drugs used in the management of other diseases, over-the-counter medicines and supplements, foods and natural toxins such as plants. A common cause of tachycardia in dogs is exposure to salbutamol from piercing an asthma inhaler. Cardiac drugs such as beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers can cause hypotension and disrupt cardiac rhythm. Although severe cases are not common in companion animals, management may be complex, requiring high dose insulin therapy and/or lipid emulsion therapy. The methylxanthines caffeine and theobromine, which are found in foods, and caffeine in supplements, are readily accessible to pets and can cause central nervous system and muscle (including cardiac muscle) stimulation. Animals with pre-existing cardiac disease or those with a mixed cardiotoxic drug overdose are likely to be more at risk of effects after exposure to substances affecting the cardiovascular system. Support of cardiac and cardiovascular function is essential to prevent cardiac injury and maintain tissue perfusion. Specific management depends on the severity of clinical signs and the particular substance involved.

Thymomas in rabbits

This article will look at thymoma recognition and treatment in rabbits. Medical versus surgical treatment options will be explored along with nursing strategies for dyspnoeic rabbit patients. Thymomas are slow growing neoplasms in the cranial mediastinum that can pose life-threatening complications to rabbit patients. Although the incidence of this condition is thought to be low, clinicians and nurses should be aware of the symptoms and morbidity associated with this condition in order to provide rabbits with the correct treatment options.

How to detect the subtle changes of early deterioration

A crucial nursing role is the identification of patient deterioration. Identifying deterioration usually begins with the observation of vital signs. Nevertheless, this depends on how users interpret the results they find, as well as their ability to consult with their senior colleagues when needed. The aim of this article is to help nurses improve their knowledge of the skills required to promptly identify potentially life-threatening problems by employing a systematic approach, which can ultimately result in better care and better outcomes.

Forelimb amputation of a feline with a humeral fracture: a patient care report

This report looks at the nursing care of a feline patient that underwent a forelimb amputation. Key areas of care for amputee patients include targeted and appropriate analgesia, alongside appropriate wound care and rehabilitation. Veterinary nurses are essential in aiding the return of these patients to normal ambulation and therefore require good knowledge of physiotherapy practices.

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.