Volume 13 Issue 6

Vegan diets for felines

Vegan diets for pets are widely discussed within the veterinary profession, with many products now available for the general nutrition market. The nutrients arachidonic acid, taurine and pre-formed vitamin A are available from non-animal sources, so are vegan pet food companies now making complete and balanced diet using these ingredients?

An overview of rabbit diseases and their current vaccination protocols

Rabbits have become a popular household pet, and it is important that veterinary professionals are able to educate pet owners on their healthcare needs, and in particular on up to date vaccination protocols. The main problematic viral diseases that rabbits can be vaccinated against are of rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease (RVHD) and myxomatosis. While the original strain of RVHD, a type of calicivirus, has been present in the UK for decades, a variant of this disease first reported in France in 2010 has become a concern for many veterinary professionals and pet owners.

CPD article: Diet in canine dermatology part 1: nutrition for skin health and support

Nutrition has a very important role to play in supporting skin and coat health, both in healthy dogs and in those with skin conditions. Key nutrients include protein — which composes 95% of each hair within the coat — omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, zinc, and different vitamins. These nutrients play different roles within the skin, and dietary intake of some or all of them may need to be considered in an individual patient. The role of each of these nutrients will be explored, along with the potential benefits of nutritional modification as part of a multimodal management approach in the support of patients with skin conditions. The article will also look at the role of supplements, and review the latest knowledge about how manipulation of the microbiome may play a role in patients with atopy.

Endotracheal intubation of small exotic mammals

The veterinary nurse or technician plays an important role in avian and exotic anaesthesia, often inducing, intubating, and maintaining an anaesthetic while the veterinary surgeon prepares for a procedure. Gone are the days of avian and exotic specialists being the only source of veterinary care for companion rodents; with an increase in the ownership of these species comes an increase in general practitioners undertaking routine or preventative health procedures. Owners of these pets expect the same standard of care afforded to dogs and cats, and consequently veterinary staff may be required to provide the same standard of intensive anaesthetic management. Successful anaesthetic management requires an awareness of patient limitations, and one such limitation in small exotic mammals is the difficulty of endotracheal intubation. Intubation allows for better respiratory control while minimising the risk of aspiration and is particularly important for procedures lasting longer than 30 minutes, during which hypoventilation and respiratory obstruction are most likely to occur. Regardless of procedure length or complexity, intubation should be the routine standard of care if it can be done in a swift and safe manner.

The physiological mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia and its applications within veterinary practice

The practice of acupuncture as a method of pain relief is becoming increasingly popular in veterinary medicine. With recent advances in neuroimaging and molecular biology studies we now have measurable results to aid with our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of acupuncture-induced analgesia. Multiple body regions can be accessed through individual acupuncture points via the peripheral nervous system and its connection to the central nervous system. Acupuncture's analgesic effects can be conceptually divided into local, segmental (spinal), and suprasegmental (brain) effects and involve the enhanced release of analgesic endogenous substances (e.g. opioids) and reducing the release of pain-inducing substances such as inflammatory cytokines. Electroacupuncture is proving to be the most effective acupuncture delivery method through providing a more potent stimulus to the acupuncture point leading to greater substance release. The purpose of this review article is to summarise some of the mechanisms behind acupuncture analgesia and to highlight how many veterinary patients could benefit from its use.

CPD article: How to create a dog friendly clinic

For many reasons, dogs can find visiting the veterinary surgery challenging. This article discusses the need to understand dogs' feelings and observe their body language, providing examples of how the veterinary environment might impact canine emotional wellbeing. Recommendations are provided for stress reduction adaptations to improve the veterinary experience.Approaches to handling are also discussed, including the importance of considering the dog's perspective of these. The use of low stress handling techniques are promoted, with examples provided for common clinical treatment and necessary interactions, as well as general guiding principles.The importance of the owner within the dog's lifelong veterinary journey is also highlighted, with considerations including owner emotional state, ability to support their dog emotionally, and knowledge of their dog's normal reactions.Preventative measures to better prepare a dog for the clinic environment, such as puppy appointments, are alluded to with references to detailed resources provided.

Veterinary nurse skill utilisation in small animal practice

Aim: Confidence levels can be affected in individuals that do not clearly understand a job role; be it the employee, those that delegate to them or the owners of the patients that they treat. Determining how registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) are currently utilised in practice was one part of a study that looked at their overall preparedness to work within the veterinary environment. Methods: A vignette of the demographics of veterinary nurses was established and frequencies were determined for a variety of duties: 1) administration, 2) management and 3) patient care. Results: The results of this research indicate that there is more that can be done to promote the use of RVNs alongside the understanding of duties that should be carried out in this role. It must not be overlooked, however, that nurses are gaining opportunities to be involved in a variety of duties and therefore need to champion themselves to have these skills recognised. Conclusion: It is important RVNs fully understand their job role before they begin the much needed journey of embedding themselves into the practice.

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