Volume 12 Issue 2

Parasite roundup 2020

This article draws information from the European Scientific Counsel for Companion Animal Parasites UK and Ireland parasite forecasts, as well as other renowned sources to provide a roundup of companion animal parasitology in 2020.

Canine arthritis management and the new norm

Canine arthritis is considered a welfare concern, and patients could benefit greatly from nurse-led clinics. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic telehealth has been embraced, and nurses are well placed to run these following a few simple rules. This workshop outlined the benefits of the nurse-led clinic and the best way to approach online consultations.

The importance of year-round flea and roundworm prevention in lockdown and beyond

Whether routine preventative deworming regimens for Toxocara spp. in cats and dogs should be used to reduce zoonotic risk, continues to be a subject of much debate. Nurses are on the frontline of giving preventative parasite control advice and it is vital that this is based on the latest evidence to minimise zoonotic risk while ensuring over treatment does not take place. The need for routine year-round flea treatment is also fundamental to parasite control protocols in cats and dogs. The benefits of routine flea treatment need to be considered against the possible environmental impact and drug resistance issues that may be associated with long-term use. Veterinary nurses play a pivotal role in giving accurate parasite control to clients and balancing these factors based on the latest evidence.

Flea infestation: a snapshot on the common products and the reasons for treatment failure

The reasons why flea infestations remain frequent in companion animals despite the considerable number of anti-flea products is of interest. Successful flea control relies mainly on the use of effective anti-flea products and pet owners adhering to treatment recommendations. When flea infestations continue to persist despite the application of a potent anti-flea product, lack of efficacy may be suspected. In this article, the basics of flea biology and impact of flea infestation on the host are summarised. In addition, the factors that can result in ineffective treatment and control of flea infestation are discussed. Better understanding of the possible reasons can help to inform clinical practice and avoid treatment failures.

Clinical assessment of muscle condition in cats

Loss of muscle occurs in feline patients as a result of multiple chronic conditions, and muscle atrophy may worsen the prognosis for cats that are living with these diseases. In states of health, a balance exists between cellular processes that build muscle and processes that break it down. Disease states such as kidney disease, cancers, cardiac disease, and metabolic conditions promote chronic systemic inflammation which shifts this balance in favour of muscle breakdown. If noted, muscle loss should prompt a thorough medical investigation including nutritional and clinical history, laboratory work, and imaging studies, as well as the creation of an in-depth nutritional management plan. Veterinary nurses are the first line in recognising muscle loss, identifying historical clues as to its cause, and educating clients about diagnostic and therapeutic plans for associated disease management.

Canine developmental elbow disease part 1: aetiopathogenesis and diagnosis

Elbow dysplasia or ‘developmental elbow disease’ as it is now known, is an umbrella term encompassing multiple abnormalities of the elbow joint. These include elbow incongruity, fragmented medial coronoid process, osteochondritis dissecans and ununited anconeal process. These problems may occur individually or in combination with each other and all may cause lameness, pain, reluctance to exercise and restricted movement as the disease progresses. The advanced stage of osteoarthritis associated with medial coronoid disease involving extensive damage to or loss of cartilage is known as medial compartment disease. There are multiple modalities available for imaging the elbow joint: radiography which is widely available in general practice can detect some changes but may miss others; computed tomography in conjunction with arthroscopic examination is considered the ‘gold standard’ in elbow imaging. Part 1 of this two part series of articles introduces the aetiopathogenesis of canine developmental elbow disease, and part 2 will cover the surgical and nonsurgical management.

ARDS: acute respiratory distress syndrome

Respiratory distress is a common presentation in an emergency and critical care setting. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an acute onset condition where the lungs cannot provide the patient's vital organs with enough oxygen. ARDS can occur as a result of several underlying triggers. It is important that veterinary nurses know what to look out for in these patients, and how to appropriately nurse them to ensure they are not compromised further.

Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome: an extended patient care report

This report describes and reflects on the intensive nursing care provided to a patient with multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). Veterinary nurses are at the forefront of supportive care for these critical patients and nursing interventions should focus on close and frequent monitoring for early detection of sepsis. An understanding of the physiological processes that occur with these diseases can increase awareness of the potential life-threatening complications associated with MODS, thus, allowing early recognition and intervention to maximise successful patient outcomes.

Assessing body condition scores assigned to images of dogs by veterinary nurses working in urban, rural and suburban settings in New Zealand

Background: Canine obesity is a growing problem, both in New Zealand and overseas. Veterinary nurses play a vital role as part of the veterinary healthcare team in ensuring clients are provided with timely, accurate, and consistent advice, and this includes advice relating to a pet's nutritional status and body condition. Aim: To investigate if there were any differences in body condition scores assigned to images of canines by veterinary nurses working in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Methods: Veterinary nurses (restricted to those with a minimum of 2 years formal training) in New Zealand were recruited online and asked to complete a short, online survey providing a body condition score for 10 dogs of varying morphology, via a photograph. Results: There were 77 useable responses and results showed no significant difference to the score assigned by veterinary nurses in different geographical settings. Conclusion: These results provide assurances to the consistency of body condition score being assigned by veterinary nurses in New Zealand, showing that geographical setting is not a confounding factor in a veterinary nurse's interpretation of body condition. While this result is optimistic, further research is needed to determine if this consistency is present across other members of the healthcare team.

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