Volume 13 Issue 8

Supporting students in practice part 1: clinical supervisor role

The clinical learning environment is a complex sociocultural landscape. It can be a challenging place to manage in a way that appropriately supports the professional development of student veterinary nurses (SVNs). One of the most influential factors in determining student satisfaction in this environment is the role played by the clinical supervisor. Clinical supervisors who are proactive in their role can provide a sense of belonging in the induction phase, function as positive professional role models and support timely progress through regularly planned training and tutorials. There are also benefits for the clinical supervisor, such as an increased sense of job satisfaction and maintaining up-to-date clinical knowledge.

Castrating dogs: why, when, how?

Castration is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the UK, and yet there is little in the way of consistency among practices in the advice given to owners wishing to have their dog neutered. Opinions are often conflicting in terms of pros and cons of castration and the ideal timing. This article considers some of the available evidence and tries to resolve some of the ambiguity where possible.

Pruritus in dogs and cats part 1: what is pruritus and how do we approach the pruritic patient?

Dogs and cats with skin disease are some of the commonest patients to be presented in general veterinary practice and those with pruritus are seen frequently. The veterinary nurse can help to reassure distressed clients that their itchy pets can be helped by an appropriate dermatological work-up, and can also be involved in the process, particularly in the harvesting of skin/scale/hair samples and in the preparation and identification of ectoparasitic and microbial elements using microscopy and other laboratory skills. Many veterinary surgeons trust the inspection of skin preparations to their experienced nurses, making their role crucial to the success of the work-up, which is interesting and rewarding for the nurse.

Awareness and management of canine cognitive dysfunction

Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) affects many senior pet dogs worldwide. In addition to veterinary support, owners can be given advice on what behaviour changes may be observed, such as disorientation, a decline in response to training cues and established toilet training, an increase in anxiety and change in activity patterns. Raising awareness and providing management advice may help owners to protect their ageing dogs from stress and injury, and enjoy their final years together.

Small mammal herbivores, part 2: nutrition for wellness

Exotic companion mammal herbivores have specific nutritional needs as they are adapted to optimise nutrition from a high-fibre, low calorie-density diet. Unlike other traditional companion animal species such as cats and dogs, there are no nutritionally complete commercial diets available for these exotic species. Feeding plans need to take into consideration the species, age and reproductive status of the patient, and a nutritional assessment includes body condition scoring as well as muscle condition scoring. Patient activity level, body condition score, muscle condition score and the presence of ongoing illnesses are also important considerations. To make a nutritional assessment and plan for a patient, a modified Nutritional Assessment Checklist is effective, as recommended in the toolkit of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Nutritional Assessment Guidelines Task Force (2011). Patient behaviour and the presence of healthy integument and diet-related illnesses can help determine the suitability of the patient's current diet. Although herbivores share a basic dietary plan, it is important to know the unique needs of individual species. This is the subject of part 2 of this series.

Computed tomography acquisition for veterinary diagnostic imaging

Computed tomography, or CT, is rapidly becoming a routine diagnostic imaging procedure for a wide range of pathologies in the veterinary industry. Many veterinary imaging techniques are adapted from human use, and veterinary-specific acquisition information is sparse. This article covers the basics of CT image acquisition, common artefacts and tips and tricks for high quality images.

Soil contamination with Toxocara spp. eggs in public parks in the Midlands

<strong>Background</strong>: Soil contamination in public parks with <em>Toxocara</em> spp. eggs increases the risk of infection to both humans and animals.<strong>Aim</strong>: In this study, the hypothesis that soil samples in public parks within the East-Midlands region in England are contaminated with <em>Toxocara</em> spp. eggs was tested.<strong>Methods</strong>: A total of 405 soil samples were collected from 23 parks and nine associated play areas in three East Midlands cities, namely Nottingham, Leicester, and Derby. Soil samples were analysed using a modified flotation centrifugation technique.<strong>Results</strong>: Analysis revealed that 74% (17/23) of parks were contaminated, with an overall <em>Toxocara</em> spp. soil prevalence of 7.9% (32/405 samples). Moisture, temperature and play areas vs non-play areas were recognised as potential factors associated with <em>Toxocara</em> spp. prevalence in soil. There was a prevalence of 8.06% (15/186) in Derby, 9.65% (11/114) in Leicester and 5.71% (6/105) in Nottingham.<strong>Conclusions</strong>: These findings reveal the risks posed to those regularly frequenting these areas. Moreover, there should be further measures to improve environmental control, such as formulating a de-worming scheme that targets vertical transmission from mother to offspring and consideration of the role foxes have in <em>Toxocara</em> transmission.

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