Volume 14 Issue 1

Canine urinary incontinence: diagnosis and treatment

Canine urinary incontinence is a common presentation in small animal practice. The care required by the owners at home should not be underestimated as a number of these dogs are presented by owners with a request for euthanasia. Many of the causes of incontinence are treatable, so the veterinarian and veterinary nurse should perform a thorough investigation in order to obtain a diagnosis and instigate appropriate therapy. This article outlines the initial approach to an incontinent dog and discusses the specific diagnostics and treatment options available and nursing care required.

The geriatric guinea pig

Guinea pigs make enduring and entertaining pets for the old and young, with an average lifespan of 5–7 years. However, with advances in veterinary medicine and better owner education, these animals are living longer and requiring ongoing care. This article discusses common age-related conditions, and looks at the ongoing home and veterinary care that can be offered to these species into their later years.

Clinical features of hepatozoonosis in dogs and cats

Canine and feline vector-borne diseases are emerging diseases caused by a multitude of worldwide distributed pathogens (bacteria, viruses, protozoa and helminths) and transmitted by ectoparasites (ticks, fleas, sandflies and mosquitoes). They are important because of their increasing prevalence and distribution, great pathogenic potential in companion animals and the zoonotic potential of some of them. Among vector-borne diseases, hepatozoonosis is a neglected but emerging tick-borne disease of dogs and cats. It is caused by different protozoa species belonging to the genus Hepatozoon and is characterized by variable clinical pictures, from subclinical and subtle to potentially life-threatening signs. Data on the biology, epidemiology, clinical features and treatment of canine and feline hepatozoonosis are still limited and the disease is often overlooked in clinical settings. This article discusses the current literature on clinical aspects of canine and feline hepatozoonosis, to increase awareness of this disease.

Gastric dilatation volvulus: a review

Gastric dilatation volvulus is a common life-threatening condition experienced by dogs. A distended stomach and rotation of the stomach about its axis causes severe adverse haemodynamic effects, and the disease can have a poor prognosis. Veterinary nurses are crucial in the recognition of symptoms during triage as well as aiding diagnosis, treatment and postoperative management. This article reviews the pathophysiology of the condition, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and client education.

End-of-life support and after-death body care for pets: what pet owners want

Background/Aims: Pet owners caring for a pet during the end of its life are faced with numerous aftercare choices and decisions. This study was undertaken to explore the perceptions and expectations of pet owners regarding end-of-life issues. Methods: An anonymous online survey was distributed via Amazon's Mechanical Turk, an open online marketplace providing access to potential survey respondents. Findings: A total of 2043 dog and/or cat owners (41.4% male, 57.9% female) responded to the survey. The majority of these owners indicated they preferred to work with a specific crematorium (43%) or cemetery (70%) and over 95% reported feeling it is important to work with their preferred after-death body care service. Eighty-six per cent of owners reported relying on their veterinary team to help them with end-of-life decisions and arrangements with pet aftercare services and companies. Participants expressed significant concern over several aspects of after-death body care (e.g. body mislabelling or the type of container used for short-term and long-term storage). Conclusions: Results suggest that owners look to their veterinary teams to offer ethical after-death body care. These findings can help guide veterinary teams' efforts related to end-of-life communication and services.

Ethics in practice: Schwartz rounds and veterinary clinical ethics committees

Structured approaches to emotional and moral distress, such as Schwartz rounds and clinical ethical committees, are common in human medicine, but less so in veterinary medicine. Although different in their goals, they are both ways to provide organisational structures that support moral resilience. It is possible that, by creating a sense of moral agency and community, these interventions could also help to mitigate moral distress in staff members. Veterinary nurses have an important role to play in developing forums for ethical discussion within practice and the profession. This article discusses the structure and function of both approaches, and looks at what roles veterinary nurses can play in their development and management.

Teaching students how to interpret animal emotions part 1: in the classroom and on placement

Identifying the patient's emotional state enables veterinary nurses to tailor care, provide better advice on animal training and behaviour problems, and stay safe during human–animal interactions. However, the ability to interpret animal emotions is not instinctive and must be learnt. This article refers to Herrington and Oliver's ‘authentic learning framework’, which may be used in the classroom and during clinical placements to structure teaching and learning. For example, classroom-based teaching could transmit appropriate knowledge (‘scaffolding’), demonstrate the interpretation process (provide ‘access to expert performance’ and ‘modelling’) and task students with identifying animal emotions in images and YouTube videos (‘authentic activities’). Within clinical placement, supervisors could activate their students' knowledge by using questioning, model their own process of identifying animal emotions (‘access to expert performance’), and set authentic learning activities such as an audit of animals' emotions. Within both contexts, reflection and discussion should be encouraged, coaching provided as necessary, and authentic assessment used to gauge student ability. Placement supervisors can build their formal knowledge of animal emotions by reviewing their students' learning materials, attending animal behaviour conferences or webinars, accessing reliable websites and reading academic journal articles. This would also count towards their annual continuing veterinary education requirements. Part 2 of this article will discuss putting into practice what has been learned.

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