Volume 2 Issue 1

A new meaning for lab reports

The few researchers who have looked at the role of scent in human interactions have been largely disappointed, while for most mammals olfaction is a key player in communication.

How to record and interpret an electrocardiogram

Veterinary nurses are frequently required to record electrocardiograms (ECGs). Some arrhythmias need quick recognition and action, and so a nurse that can assist is incredibly valuable. This article will discuss how to record a good quality ECG trace and how to minimise artifact interference. It will also describe the ‘normal’ ECG appearance and show how to interpret the recording using six simple step-by-step questions. It will also highlight and explain some of the more common arrhythmias seen.

Commonly used dietary supplements in canines

Almost 30% of pet owners in the UK fed supplements to their pets in 2008, however, the feeding of supplements in Australia and the USA is lower, with approximately 10–13% of owners giving supplements to their pets. Fatty acids, probiotics and glucosamine with chondroitin have been reported as among the most common supplements fed to dogs.Efficacy studies for these supplements show promise, however, further research is required to determine more accurate dosing schedules and safety data. It is advisable to contact the company producing a supplement for their quality control data as well as their safety and efficacy studies to evaluate the supplement prior to use. Where possible, improve the diet before considering use of a supplement, and always ask owners about supplement use for their pet when taking a diet history.

Is there a healthy future for pedigree dogs?

As veterinary nurses the ethical, health and welfare issues surrounding the breeding of pedigree dogs with exaggerated anatomical features are a part of our everyday working lives. By reviewing the evidence of various reports commissioned by organizations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (RSPCA), The Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare that have a vested interest in solving the ongoing issues of the health and welfare of certain breeds, this paper aims to highlight the role the veterinary profession can play in ensuring welfare compatible dog breeding in the future, as well as provide an ethical framework for use in veterinary practice.

Practice—client relationships: handling complaints effectively

Effective complaint-handling procedures in veterinary practice are key to client satisfaction. Research has shown that a client whose complaint has been handled well is more likely to remain a client afterwards than if they had never experienced a problem at all. Drawing on research carried out on the quality of service provision, this article identifies and discusses the gaps in service quality that may exist for veterinary practices and describes how these can be overcome, particularly through good communication. A ‘best practice’ approach to complaint handling is then outlined. The article concludes by providing a summary of the key features of an effective complaint-handling procedure which practices should incorporate into their own systems in order to ensure client retention.

Heatstroke in the veterinary patient

Heatstroke is a very serious life threatening emergency which can have an effect on all body systems in the small animal. When the body's pathophysiological mechanism, which is in place to protect it, fails secondary complications can occur and these will need prompt treatment. Heatstroke in the small animal needs to be recognized quickly and treatment initiated — most heatstroke patients will require intensive care nursing for a favourable outcome to be reached.

Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics for VNs: 2

In order to use drugs safely in animals it is important to understand individual drug pharmacodynamics, or the physiological effects of the drug on the body. This article describes the principles of pharmacodynamics, starting with the different mechanisms by which drugs bound to a receptor can elicit an effect as well as the receptor actions of agonist, partial agonist and antagonist drugs. The terms efficacy and potency in terms of drug action are defined. Different pathways of drug metabolism and elimination are identified and the importance of understanding the relationship between drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics explained.

Anaesthesia for caesarean section in the bitch

No anaesthetic should be considered ‘routine’ and each should be tailored to the individual patient. This is particularly important when considering an anaesthetic protocol for caesarean surgery, where the veterinary nurse will encounter many additional complicating factors that influence the selection of drugs and the dose rates used. This article looks at the challenges to anaesthesia that are presented by the altered physiology of the bitch during pregnancy, and the immature physiology of the neonates, and aims to provide the veterinary nurse with the knowledge required to select appropriate anaesthetic agents and techniques to maximize survival rates of both bitch and puppies.

An introduction to cataracts

Nursing ophthalmic patients can be delicate, difficult and very rewarding. The aim of this article is provide technicians and nurses with some background to the condition known as cataracts. Being equipped with the knowledge and understanding of what they are and why they occur will assist in the nursing of these patients.

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