Volume 12 Issue 6

Flexible working in practice: can it be a win–win?

Flexible working comes in many different forms, from flexible roles, responsibilities, altered hours, or adaptable working environments. Flexibility is a key contributor in building an engaged and sustainable workforce. This article poses questions to consider about how to work in a flexible and sustainable way to benefit you, your team, the patients under your care and your practice both during and in the recovery phase following the pandemic.

Obesity in cats and dogs: simple things you can do

Obesity in cats and dogs, is a complex and incurable (but treatable) disease which negatively affects quality and longevity of life. The rising trend is concerning for both pet owners and the veterinary profession. This disease can feel an overwhelming one to tackle at times but there are some simple steps that can be implemented to make a difference. Talking openly about pet obesity, without judgement can improve trust with pet owners, making conversations about cats and dogs with obesity easier. Weighing and body condition scoring pets regularly, from early on in life and recording these values allows trends to be spotted more easily. This means any reactive nutritional recommendations and/or feeding behaviour changes can be made and implemented earlier. Recommending a diet appropriate to the pet's caloric needs, while ensuring meal satisfaction and limiting food seeking behaviour, can go some way towards achieving or maintaining a healthy weight and owner compliance. Combining these nutritional recommendations with daily weighing of the recommended diet on digital scales can also be beneficial. If we all implement some small changes in the way we approach cats and dogs with obesity or indeed those at risk of having obesity, we can make a difference.

Nurse parasite clinics and the benefits of routine testing

Cats and dogs are infected with a wide range of parasites, many of which are capable of causing or contributing to disease. Veterinary nurses play a vital role in helping to formulate parasite control plans for pets. Routine diagnostic testing alongside risk-based appropriate preventative treatment is important for efficacy of treatment to be monitored, screening for sub-clinical parasitic infections and drug resistance and to demonstrate that current parasite control recommendations are adequate. A wide range of diagnostic tools are available to veterinary practices and this article considers some of the diagnostic techniques available for routine parasite diagnosis and how they might be used in parasite prevention plans for cats and dogs.

Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) exposure in dogs

Blue-green algae are cyanobacteria that grow in fresh, brackish or sea water. Under certain environmental conditions they form blooms in water bodies and these often colour the water blue-green (or brown, black or red). These blooms have long been known to be associated with animal deaths, occasionally resulting in mass mortality events of wildlife. Cyanotoxins produced by these organisms are neurotoxic, hepatotoxic or, less commonly, dermatotoxic. Gastrointestinal effects may also occur. Signs can be very rapid in onset, particularly with neurotoxic compounds, with death following soon after. Hepatic effects generally occur within 24 hours. Aggressive and rapid treatment is essential with decontamination, liver protectants and supportive care. Survival is rare in animals with significant clinical signs. Not all algal blooms are toxic, however, and confirmation of exposure is rarely available and not within a clinically relevant time frame. Illness and deaths in dogs associated with suspected blue-green algae exposure are signal events and should be reported to the relevant environmental authority to safeguard public and animal health.

Nursing the seizure patient

Seizures are a common emergency presentation to veterinary practice and can be challenging cases to treat and nurse. There are a large variety of underlying causes for seizures in companion animals, and nursing care can vary depending on the differential diagnoses. Nursing interventions such as seizure plans, intravenous catheter placement and constant rate infusions can all help to provide a rewarding outcome for both the nurse and the patient.

Corneal ulcers part 2: aetiology and management of deep corneal ulcers

Corneal ulceration is one of the most common ocular problems presented in first opinion practice. Ocular diseases in dogs can be distressing for both the patient and owner, registered veterinary nurses can provide advice to distressed owners and ensure that patients are provided with evidence-based and holistic care. This is the second-part of a two-part series which focuses on the aetiology of corneal ulcers and the role of registered veterinary nurses within ocular diseases.

Anaesthetic management of a patient undergoing magnetic resonance imaging with suspected intracranial disease

Seizing patients with suspected intracranial disease are relatively common within the veterinary profession. Veterinary nurses will be familiar with some of the most common challenges these patients present while hospitalised, however to determine the cause and severity of disease, general anaesthesia is often required. This article will discuss some of the specific considerations during the peri-anaesthetic period of a seizing patient undergoing magnetic resonance imaging, including recommendations for future practice.

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