Volume 2 Issue 3

A big step forward, but an even bigger opportunity lies ahead

This April marks a notable development in the history of the veterinary nursing profession. The implementation of a formal disciplinary system for registered veterinary nurses has allowed us now to complete the first step towards full recognition of the veterinary nursing profession in the UK. Now, complaints about professional conduct in veterinary nurses will be handled and investigated in the same way as they are for veterinary surgeons. Registered veterinary nurses found guilty of serious misconduct will be at risk of being struck off, or suspended, from the non-statutory register. In addition, veterinary surgeons will be advised to avoid delegating Schedule 3 tasks to unregistered veterinary nurses.

Decubitus ulcer: risk factors, prevention and treatment

Decubitus ulcers are most commonly seen in debilitated and malnourished animals as well as those with long-term bandaging or hospitalization. Identifying risk factors is key to preventing the condition developing. Implementing a good nursing care plan will ensure continuity of care and will help minimize the occurence and progression of decubitus ulcers. If treatment for an existing ulcer is required, there are a number of nursing interventions that can be implemented to help avoid a prolonged painful and debilitating recovery.

Early neutering of cats: the risk factors and benefits

Leading feline welfare bodies in the UK are encouraging veterinary suregons to neuter cats earlier to reduce the number of unplanned litters born that lead to many unwanted cats. Veterinary surgeons have been concerned that early neutering may lead to higher mortality rates from surgery, as well as higher incidences of urinary problems, obesity and growth plate fractures. It has been demonstrated that earlier neutering does not cause any long-term health implications, and that the procedure can be performed safely in young kittens as long as the patient is properly prepared, monitored and recovered.

Nursing the canine with osteosarcoma resulting in coxofemoral disarticulation

Osteosarcomas are malignant, aggressive tumours that are the most common skeletal tumours in dogs. This article outlines the condition and its management options. Canines who require coxofemoral disarticulation of the hind limb for the treatment of osteosarcoma require supportive and palliative nursing care. The veterinary nurse plays a vital role in patient care, including dietary intervention to prevent cancer cachexia and wound care. It is important that the dog is assisted with standing initially after the operation so that it can re-establish weight distribution and establish its first walk pattern with only three limbs. The nurse can educate the owner to follow a recovery plan to improve rehabilitation.

How to perform dental prophylaxis to reduce periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent conditions seen in companion animal practice, and there are growing concerns about how it can contribute to the incidence of systemic disease in these animals. Regular oral examinations coupled with effective dental prophylaxis can help prevent periodontal disease and thus can contribute to the overall health and well-being of patients. Dental prophylaxis consists of several steps, including external and internal oral examinations followed by de-scaling (scaling), polishing and periodontal probing to measure attachment loss of the gingiva to the tooth roots. Regular preventive dental care is an area that nurses can play a vital role in to help animals live longer, healthier lives. Good nursing care and skill in dental prophylaxsis and hygiene techniques is paramount to ensure effective prevention of periodontal disease.

Ticks and tick-borne diseases of pets in the UK: risks to travellers

The ticks most commonly found on dogs and cats in the UK are Ixodes ricinus, Ixodes hexagonus and Ixodes canisuga with other Ixodes species rarely seen. Ixodes ricinus is known to transmit some diseases in the UK. Dermacentorreticulatus and Haemaphysalis punctata also are indigenous and found occasionally on pets in some areas. Rhipicephalus sanguineus has been identified after importation on pets from continental Europe and elsewhere, despite the requirements for treatment for ticks under the pet travel scheme. The increasing movement of pets between the UK and countries with a high incidence of tick-borne disease will require the use of strong parasite control programmes to prevent the spread and import of tick-borne disease. Tick-borne diseases of pets are briefly described.

Writing patient care reports: author guidelines for VNs part 2

This article is the second of the two-part series on writing patient care reports (PCRs). As previously discussed, published PCRs provide a valuable means for veterinary nurses to share clinical experiences with their colleagues while increasing their knowledge base and contributing to the establishment of evidence-based veterinary nursing practice. In this article, the authors aim to provide potential authors of PCRs with a set of practical guidelines and instruction on how to write detailed and succinct reports to a publishable standard.

The professional, legal and ethical issues in VN: a scenario

As veterinary nursing makes the transition from vocation to profession, it will be important that members act according to professional, legal and ethical guidelines. This article discusses a clinical scenario in order to identify how these issues can affect daily practice.

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