Volume 14 Issue 2

Protecting the title of veterinary nurse

The British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) has released the preliminary results of their survey, which was open between 26 September and 31 December 2022. The survey’s purpose was to provide an overview of how those within the veterinary profession feel about this issue, plus how it may or may not affect them, their patients and the public.

Teaching students how to interpret animal emotions 2: putting research into practice

Part one of this article discussed the importance of teaching veterinary nursing students how to interpret animal emotions, and presented educational strategies for the classroom and clinical placements, informed by Herrington and Oliver's ‘Authentic Learning Framework’. However, translating educational strategies into tangible teaching plans may require considerable effort. This article aims to reduce some of the work involved by sharing an authentic teaching design that was used to support veterinary nursing students, in stage two of the University College Dublin's BSc Veterinary Nursing programme, in learning how to interpret animal emotions. Insights into the student learning process gained from analysing the teaching are also discussed, including student engagement (participation), the use of anthropomorphic descriptors, and the students’ strengths and weaknesses in interpreting animal emotions. Future directions for teaching are also considered. This article is an example of how veterinary nursing students can enhance teaching for future cohorts by participating in educational research.

Senior cats: nutritional adaptations and practical feeding considerations

This article outlines the nutritional goals and adaptations required by cats more than 7 years of age, including nutrient modulation. The article discusses nursing interventions to help ensure optimal dietary intake and methods to help educate pet owners on nutrition for their senior cats, including practical tips on respecting feeding behaviours for cats in this life stage. It is vital to assess each cat as an individual, applying the most suitable nutritional adaptations, whether it be for a healthy senior cat, or one for whom a clinical diet may be more appropriate.

Care of hamsters in the veterinary environment

Hamsters are a solitary species, originating from south east Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Since their introduction to the United States of America in 1938, they have grown in popularity as pets. When in the veterinary environment, their temperature and clinical signs should be monitored regularly and the correct diet should be provided. Owners should be advised of the signs and symptoms to look out for to ensure rapid and proper veterinary treatment.

Canine and feline hypertension

Systemic hypertension is a common finding in small animal practice. It has been classified into three groups: situational (or white-coat hypertension), primary or idiopathic, or secondary to another disease process. Secondary hypertension is the most common form, and chronic kidney disease the disease most reported to be associated with it. It is diagnosed using reliable and repeatable blood pressure measurements, and by excluding other causes. Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause. Recent guidelines have suggested measuring blood pressure in dogs and cats at a senior life stage and performing a fundic examination in all animals with blood pressure more than 160 mmHg. Client education and regular screening are ways that veterinary nurses can help identify blood pressure changes and assess efficacy of antihypertensive medication.

A dog in third degree atrioventricular block: patient case report

This case report describes the patient journey of a young Cockapoo with symptomatic bradycardia, from admission to a referral hospital, investigations and management with pacemaker implantation, until discharge from the hospital. The case describes the general physical examination findings specific to symptomatic bradycardia, as well as common investigative tests performed in cardiology cases such as indirect blood pressure measurement, biomarkers (in-house cardiac troponin I), six-lead electrocardiography and comprehensive echocardiography. This case also describes the specialist nursing role during pacemaker implantation, including pacemaker programming using telemetry, the use of fluoroscopy with a C-arm, and surgical pull list and theatre set up. The post-surgical follow-up and further optimisation of the pacemaker settings is also described. Third degree atrioventricular block is the most common reason for pacemaker implantation. Awareness of the patient journey during pacemaker implantation is important to provide adequate support and advice to owners of canine patients with symptomatic bradycardia before referral.

Burnout, compassion fatigue and moral distress in veterinary professionals

Veterinary professionals are becoming increasingly exposed to, and concerned about, burnout, compassion fatigue and moral distress. Work-related stress can have a significant impact on quality of life and contribute to poor mental health. Several studies have shown that emotional exhaustion and mental health illnesses are significantly higher among veterinary surgeons, with the rate of suicide in the veterinary profession four times the rate in the general public. There is an abundance of evidence in the human healthcare field regarding burnout, compassion fatigue and moral distress, but there is very little research in the veterinary field. This study aimed to investigate whether veterinary professionals in the UK are experiencing burnout, compassion fatigue and moral distress, identify possible contributing factors, and ascertain whether veterinary professionals are able to recognise these conditions and have the tools to deal with them. The study found that veterinary professionals showed moderate levels of burnout and compassion fatigue, despite moderate levels of compassion satisfaction. Veterinary surgeons, patient care assistants and veterinary receptionists experienced low levels of moral distress, but registered veterinary nurses experienced moderate levels of moral distress.

Keep up to date with The Veterinary Nurse!

Sign up to The Veterinary Nurse's regular newsletters and keep up-to-date with the very latest clinical research and CPD we publish each month.