Volume 14 Issue 4

Parasites in cats and dogs

This workshop discussed the wide range of parasites that can infect cats and/or dogs, looked at routes of transmission, diagnosis and, most importantly, methods of treatment and control.

Why is nutrition important?

This workshop outlined the importance of discussing nutrition in each consult, and the role it plays in disease prevention and management, and also in animal welfare.

Immune-mediated polyarthritis: the role of the veterinary nurse

Immune-mediated diseases can present in a number of ways because of multiple manifestations of the diseases, the species and the presence or absence of any underlying condition. This demonstrates the imperative nature of sound clinical history taking alongside a comprehensive physical exam to allow the most appropriate diagnostic approach and subsequent treatment. The registered veterinary nurse should understand the most commonly presenting immune-mediated diseases in order to provide appropriate nursing care for that patient during their hospitalisation and following discharge. Registered veterinary nurses act as an advocate for patients and play a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with any immune-mediated disease. This review discusses the pathophysiology of immune-mediated polyarthritis and classifications including clinical presentation. It has a focus on the initial patient diagnostics, arthrocentesis and how nurses can be heavily involved with these patients all the way through from admission to discharge.

Postoperative care of brachycephalic patients: airway management and cardiovascular support

The ownership of brachycephalic pets has increased significantly in recent years. Anatomical abnormalities, alongside a higher incidence of inherited disorders, have contributed to an everincreasing brachycephalic caseload in veterinary practice. With postoperative complications commonplace in such patients, it is essential that the veterinary nurse is familiar with nursing care provision and interventions catering specifically for the brachycephalic patient to improve standards of care and treatment outcomes. Intensive airway management and cardiovascular support are essential for these high-risk patients in the immediate postoperative period. A review of the literature has highlighted the lack of research available for the postoperative care of brachycephalic patients and further studies are recommended.

Taking the pressure off: glaucoma and what can be done to help

Prompt recognition and treatment to reduce the intraoccular pressures is key in canine patients with glaucoma. If treatment is delayed, glaucoma can cause permanent damage or result in enucleation of the affected eye. Acute glaucoma develops quickly, increasing intraocular pressure and causing high levels of pain, disorientation, stress and discomfort. Nurses play a vital role in the management of these patients, by monitoring and recording pressures, recognising and managing pain, correct and timely application of medications and reducing patient stress.

Are professionals receiving sufficient training in ‘feline friendly’ techniques?

Recognising stress in feline patients is imperative in promoting patient welfare and ensuring a safe experience for both the patient and veterinary worker. This study looked at whether veterinary professionals were confident at recognising stress in feline patients and whether they could adapt their handling methods accordingly. It also addressed whether veterinary workers were satisfied with the training they received on the subject during their qualifications. Finally, it looked at whether veterinary professionals were aware of the Kessler and Turner Stress Scoring System and whether an updated version has a place in current practice. It was evident from the responses of the questionnaire that there is a gap in veterinary curricula when it comes to teaching ‘feline friendly’ methods and that most professionals confident in minimising stress for their patients have developed their techniques through experience and through owning cats themselves.

Do ‘CARE’ labelled canine patients get a lower standard of nursing care?

Aggressive patients are labelled as ‘CARE’ within their clinical history and the quality of nursing care they receive may be compromised because of concerns for staff safety. The aim of this study was to investigate if a difference in the quality of nursing care exists between aggressive patients labelled as CARE and other patients not labelled as CARE, hoping to identify whether this suggested a breach of patient welfare. This study used a cross-sectional, observational survey distributed online via social media veterinary nursing community pages. Open invitations were also emailed to the first author's own practice, and the RVC's Queen Mother Hospital for Animals. UK-based registered veterinary nurses who had been in practice within the last 12 months participated. Likert response categories of 1-5 were used to question registered veterinary nurses about how likely they were to undertake certain nursing activities for both CARE and non-CARE canine patients. In total, 390 registered veterinary nurses completed the questionnaire. Pearson's chi-squared test was used to statistically analyse the data. An association was discovered between level of nursing care and CARE or non-CARE labelled patients. Statistically significant differences (P=0.05) in nursing care were found under every nursing category for CARE patients. The key categories identified were patient hygiene, feeding, pain scoring, exercise and restraint. The current study provides evidence that aggressive canine patients do get a lower standard of nursing care compared to other canine patients. Areas of concern are highlighted when these differences are discussed in the context of animal welfare. The authors hope these findings serve as a prompt for practices to examine their performance towards aggressive patients to ensure adequate standards of nursing care and patient welfare are sustained.

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