Volume 12 Issue 9

Weight management: insights from the science of human behaviour change

Helping animal owners to recognise and manage obesity in their animals is a particularly complex area of communications in veterinary medicine. Several studies have outlined the difficulty veterinary professionals face in such discussions, including frustration with the client, embarrassment (particularly if the owner is also overweight), and a sense of inevitable failure. However, obesity continues to be a serious and prevalent welfare problem in dogs, cats, and probably other companion animals as well — hence those discussions will only continue. This review considers veterinary surgeon–client interactions around obesity from the perspective of behaviour change psychology and motivational interviewing, in order to determine how veterinary surgeons and nurses can best assist owners. We consider how an approach based on a supportive and empathetic conversational style could be best suited to these discussions, leading to tailored weight management solutions. Nurses are ideally placed to work with owners in this way.

Veterinary management of feline osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a progressive, degenerative condition, which causes mobility issues and behavioural changes in affected cats as a result of chronic pain. Despite reports in the literature suggesting a vast prevalence of the condition among the domestic cat population, the condition appears to be underdiagnosed. This is likely due to a combination of subtle clinical signs, lack of owner awareness and poor correlation between radiographical changes and severity of clinical signs. Multimodal management of feline osteoarthritis is likely to be most successful in alleviating pain and improving quality of life. This may include some or all of the following: medical management, rehabilitation therapies, weight loss, environmental adaptations, joint supplements and surgery.

Use of broad-spectrum parasiticides in canine and feline parasitology

Companion dogs and cats are exposed daily to several internal and external parasites, and to pathogens transmitted by arthropods. Efficacious prophylactic and therapeutic measures are of paramount importance to controlling the occurrence and diffusion of parasitosis and arthropod-borne diseases, as well as protecting both human and animal health. Several broad-spectrum parasiticides are available on the market and represent a crucial tool for the treatment and/or prevention of several canine and feline endo- and ecto-parasites.

Clinical presentation and management of liver lobe torsions in domestic rabbits

Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are common household pets, and make endearing companions for both the young and old. Rabbit medicine has advanced greatly in recent years, and we are now able to recognise, diagnose and treat many conditions and presentations that may have previously been poorly understood. One of the conditions that is increasingly recognised is liver lobe torsion, which can prove difficult to recognise in clinical practice, especially if the team has not encountered the condition before. The purpose of this article is to highlight liver lobe torsions in rabbits, their presentation and treatment options and nursing care, and describe a successful case seen at the clinic.

Cutaneous adverse food reactions

Dietary-induced skin problems of cats and dogs can include food intolerances, primary and secondary nutrient deficiencies and nutrient toxicities. A full dietary history needs to be taken and owners should include specific commercial foods, all snacks and treats, supplements, chewable/palatable medications and vitamins, chew toys, human foods and any food that the animal may have access to. Actively encourage owners to keep a food diary, as with obese animals and diabetics. The classification and diagnosis of nutritional-related skin disorders are initially based on a detailed dietary history and food evaluation. Veterinary nurses are in an ideal position to help owners make an accurate representation of what the pet consumes.

How to provide early enteral nutrition in the canine pancreatitis patient

This article provides a useful insight into the benefits of early enteral nutrition in canine pancreatitis patients. A brief explanation of the anatomy and physiology, followed by the pathophysiology, helps the reader understand the disease process. Feeding tubes are beneficial in anorexic patients and selecting a diet and calculating the resting energy requirements is an essential skill to practice to help prevent malnutrition. This article provides a practical step-by-step guide on how to place a nasogastric feeding tube in dogs, including how to clean and secure it in place. Owner education is essential in helping them understand the disease, manage chronic cases and prevent further flare ups in the future.

Compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction and burnout during a pandemic

Background: Work-related mental health issues in New Zealand are increasing yearly and impact on how employees are able to cope with day-to-day pressures and work productivity. Work-related mental health issues are especially prevalent during times of great stress such as the coronavirus pandemic. Aim: In this study, the prevalence of compassion fatigue, burnout and compassion satisfaction were assessed using the Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) scale and a range of demographic and descriptive questions. Methods: The ProQOL is a Likert-style survey for those in human- or animal care roles, such as veterinary nurses. It measures compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction, rating the scores as low, moderate, or high risk. The survey was hosted via an online survey website for 6 weeks. Results: The survey received 166 usable responses. The average scores indicated moderate risk for most respondents for compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction. Conclusion: This research indicates that New Zealand's veterinary nurses show similar levels of compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction to international results in veterinary nurses assessed prior to the coronavirus pandemic, indicating that New Zealand veterinary nurses coped remarkably well during the global catastrophe.

The Deaf Dog Network

The Deaf Dog Network is a group of people who want to help deaf dogs and their owners. They provide advice for training using force- and fear-free methods based on the latest science. Julie Hill explains.

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