Volume 13 Issue 2

Surveillance of hospital acquired infections in veterinary practices

The importance of surveillance of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) is often overlooked within the veterinary community, with limited research available, resulting in this vital step being overlooked. When carried out correctly, it allows a practice to accumulate data on the rates of HAIs and ascertain when further action is required. Without these data, practices are often unaware of the severity of their problem. All practices should have an infection control ambassador or committee appointed to ensure these statistics are used correctly and shared with all team members. This article will examine current literature available and determine the pros and cons of each surveillance method and how they may be implemented.

Managing nausea in the hospitalised patient

Nausea is an unpleasant sensation of needing to vomit, and there are numerous negative consequences for the patient if not effectively managed. The clinical signs of nausea can vary widely from subtle to severe and, currently, there is no validated nausea scale for cats and dogs. The management of nausea often requires a multimodal approach, including management of the underlying disease process and pharmacological approaches to minimise the unpleasant sensation. Registered veterinary nurses should have an understanding of the mechanisms of nausea, as this guides drug selection, and also of the pharmacology of each of the anti-nausea medications.

Spring poisoning hazards for pets

Warmer weather in the spring may encourage owners and their animals to spend more time outdoors where pets may be exposed to garden products and spring plants. Ingestion of common spring flowering plants, such as tulips, primrose, hyacinth, snowdrops, grape hyacinth, spring crocus, bluebells and daffodil, often cause gastrointestinal signs in pets. Severe poisoning is uncommon but there is a risk of more pronounced clinical signs in some cases and ingestion of plant bulbs may cause gastrointestinal obstruction. Similarly, ingestion of fertiliser may cause gastrointestinal signs and ingestion of bone meal is a potential obstruction risk. Plants containing grayanotoxins, such as Rhododendron and Pieris species cause gastrointestinal and potentially cardiac effects. Patio cleaners and disinfectants containing cationic detergents such as benzalkonium chloride or didecyldimethylammonium chloride, are a particular risk to pets, especially cats. They are usually exposed after walking over a treated surface and then grooming, presenting hours later with salivation, hyperthermia and oral injury. Treatment of pets with clinical signs after exposure to a spring poisoning hazard is supportive.

The environment, flea products and the need for year round flea control

The need for routine flea treatment is fundamental to parasite control protocols in cats and dogs. The benefits of routine flea treatment need to be considered against the possible environmental impact that may be associated with long-term use. This article considers whether routine flea treatment of all UK cats and dogs is justified, the evidence for environmental contamination with flea products and the role of the veterinary nurse in client education.

Surgical safety checklists from concept to implementation

With the availability of free, readily downloadable surgical safety checklists from various websites the checklist has become accessible for any practice wishing to implement it. There is now a good research base into how the surgical safety checklist can work in veterinary practice and this article will help you to choose, adapt and implement the checklist into your practice in a streamlined and professional manner. Ultimately the goal is to improve communication of the teams involved, provide consistency of standards, improve patient safety, reduce the instance of errors and improve morbidity and mortality rates.

How to provide nutrition to rabbits in the critical care setting

Rabbits have been a popular domesticated pet for many years, with 2% of adults owning a rabbit and over 900 000 estimated to be owned within the UK alone, however, few people understand the requirements of rabbits for a happy, healthy life. They are often hospitalised for dietary issues (dental problems and gut stasis) and appetite change; providing the correct nutritional needs can be difficult, and the success of nutritional supplementation depends on the feeding route, frequency of feedings, and the quality of the diet fed.

Public perceptions of the veterinary nurse

Background: The veterinary nursing profession has undergone major developments since its formation, with veterinary nurses (VN) becoming registered professionals in their own right. Despite this, there is still a lack of public recognition of and respect for the VN role. Currently, there are limited data on public perceptions and opinions of the VN. Aims: The purpose of this study was to determine the public's perceptions and awareness of the VN's role. Methods: Members of the public answered an online questionnaire about their experience and opinion of VNs. Results: A total of 148 valid responses were received. Results showed 90.5% of respondents had a positive opinion of VNs, and 98.6% believed the VN's role was important. Unsure opinions of the VN were a result of a lack of interaction and understanding of the VN's role. Conclusion: Social media may play an instrumental role in increasing public awareness and recognition of the VN's highly skilled role. Further research is required to accurately determine the general public's perception of the VN.

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