Volume 12 Issue 4

Evaluation of the nursing care plan in a thyroidectomy surgical case

Veterinary nurses work closely with their patients to deliver a high quality of care. This care is implemented using nursing care plans (NCPs). This article aims to evaluate the use of a nursing care plan and its value in practice as well as enhancing nurses' understanding of them. Within this article the author will be discussing the actual and potential problems and implementing the nursing interventions in a nursing care plan pre, post surgery and at discharge in a thyroidectomy case. Veterinary nurses play an important role in making sure the NCP is successful and patients receive the best quality of care. This article evaluates the benefits and disadvantages of NCPs to determine whether they are useful for nursing care of surgical cases.

Moisture matters: a focus on feline hydration

Water intake in cats is important both in health and disease. While healthy cats with free access to water are adept at maintaining a good water balance, cats can be susceptible to dehydration if the homeostatic mechanisms controlling hydration are disrupted. There are a number of situations in which promoting water intake can be beneficial, particularly in cats with increased water losses (for example, chronic kidney disease; diabetes mellitus; cases of vomiting or diarrhoea), decreased intake of water (for example, as a result of inappetance), and in cats with conditions such as feline lower urinary tract disease. However, cats are often considered ‘poor drinkers’, so increasing their water intake when it is needed can be challenging. This article discusses the water requirements of cats and why they may be susceptible to dehydration. It also explores strategies to successfully encourage water intake in cats and evaluates some of the evidence behind the recommendations.

Diet associated canine dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a common cause of heart failure in the dog. Primary DCM is often a disease of exclusion, but inherited genetic breed dispositions have been reported. Secondary causes of DCM include toxins, nutritional deficiency, systemic and infectious disease. The number of dogs diagnosed with DCM has increased significantly in the last 20 years, and has been linked to the rise in popularity of boutique, exotic and grain-free, legume-rich diets. Veterinary cardiologists raised concerns as DCM was being reported in atypical breeds. Subsequently, the United States Food and Drug Agency released a statement in 2018 warning pet owners of the risks of grain-free and novel protein diets. It is assumed that the problem also occurs in the UK because these diets are popular here also. Contrary to primary causes of DCM, dogs have improved clinically and on echocardiograph when their diet has been changed and/or supplemented. No clear cause has yet been identified between these diets and DCM, but the potential reasons seem to be multifactorial and limited by a lack of understanding of the bioavailability, digestibility and metabolism of the novel proteins and legume-rich diets.

Poisons affecting the skin

All homes contain substances capable of causing serious injury if they come into contact with the skin. These substances include detergents, acids and alkalis found in many cleaning products, and petroleum distillates such as white spirit and petrol. Asphalt used in road surfacing can also cause local effects, particularly if it is still hot when contact occurs. The risk of effects on the skin from these chemicals is increased if decontamination in delayed. The method of decontamination will depend on the substance involved but in many cases simple bathing is sufficient. Removal of oily or greasy substances may require the use of a commercial degreaser and sticky material may need to be softened with oil or fat to facilitate removal. Decontamination after contact with corrosive substances may require prolonged and repeated water irrigation to ensure thorough removal. Another potential source of dermal injury in pets is exposure to psoralen-containing plants (such as hogweed, Heracleum spp.) in combination with ultraviolent light (sunlight) which can result in erythema, blistering and dermatitis. In this case, management is supportive with avoidance of sunlight.

Syringomyelia and Chiari-like malformation

Syringomyelia is a heritable condition caused by fluid-filled cavities in the spinal cord as a result of the abnormal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This results in a number of debilitating clinical signs, including neck pain (which often manifests as scratching or ‘phantom scratching’, head shy behaviour and vocalisation) and neurological deficits. Management may be conservative or surgical but, in most cases, the condition is progressive, regardless of the treatment option pursued.

A retrospective survey evaluating the prescribing tendencies of UK veterinary surgeons, relating to the use of anti-inflammatory drugs in canine angiostrongylosis

Background: In addition to anti-parasitic therapy, appropriate supportive care is vital for the successful treatment of canine angiostrongylosis. Aim: This study sought to determine the prevalence and reasons for the use of corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), by veterinarians, as a supportive treatment for canine angiostrongylosis. Specifically, the study investigated the use of anti-inflammatory drugs in the management of inflammation, anaphylaxis and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, which can develop in some dogs infected by <i>Angiostrongylus vasorum</i>. Methods: These aims were achieved by surveying UK veterinarians from a non-endemic area, Yorkshire, and an endemic area, South East England, for canine angiostrongylosis. Responses were received from independent, corporate-owned and referral practices. Results: Overall, more veterinarians would administer corticosteroids (80%) compared with NSAIDs (40%). Most respondents surveyed stated administration would be case dependent, including the severity of perceived inflammation. Four of six veterinarians who would never administer NSAIDs cited coagulopathies as the reason for their decision-making. While the regional comparison here revealed no significant differences, wider sampling may produce identifiable trends. Conclusion: The survey responses revealed a lack of understanding of if, when, and why, anti-inflammatories should be administered. Imperatively, further research is needed to address this lacuna.

Know your NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are regularly used in veterinary medicine to provide analgesia and to reduce inflammation associated with acute pain (e.g. surgical procedures) and in cases of chronic pain (e.g. osteoarthritis). This article discusses their pharmacology, different considerations with their use and the most commonly available drugs in small animal practice.

Summer poisons

Spending time in the garden, in the countryside or by the sea can be present hazards to pets. Nicola Bates highlights some of the poisons that can affect dogs and cats spending time outside.

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