Volume 2 Issue 9

Taking action — educating dog breeders

Educating breeders on the health issues involved in breeding is an important role for veterinary nurses, and ‘breeder clinics’ can provide a useful platform for this education.

Witnessing history unfold for the veterinary nursing profession

Making history sometimes happens right under our noses but do we realize it when it happens? When Ernest Rutherford split the atom, did the world truly recognize what an accomplishment that was? Did they realize that they were witnessing one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the century? This year, we are witnessing history in the making as the veterinary nursing community takes steps that could change the course of our profession for years to come. On 11 October of this year, the RCVS celebrated the 50th anniversary of veterinary nursing in the UK with a Golden Jubilee event at the House of Commons. During the event, VN Council Chairman Liz Branscombe urged MPs to sign up to an Early Day Motion calling for statutory regulation of the veterinary nursing profession. There is also an e-petition instigated by BVNA which is now open for all UK residents to sign. The VNC veterinary legislation working party will be considering all options and the recommendations on how to implement statutory regulation of veterinary nurses will be presented to the DEFRA Minister of State in mid 2012.

Transfusion medicine in dogs and cats: products, collection and administration

Many veterinary hospitals have permanent canine and/or feline blood donors to cover their transfusion requirements and some have their own blood bank. Hospitals must ensure there is appropriate donor selection and screening, as there are inherent risks of transmission of infectious agents and of causing adverse reactions.All donors should be fully vaccinated and receive regular veterinary preventative health care. A full physical examination should be performed by a veterinary surgeon prior to each donation, and should be unremarkable. Donors should also be screened for infectious diseases.Blood collection and component preparation can be labour intensive and time consuming. It is of great importance to know the properties of the different blood products available in transfusion medicine, as well as how they might be used to achieve the best results in clinical practice. Veterinary nurses must know how to administer blood and blood products safely to their patients. Blood products are prepared from donor animals and represent a very limited resource, not available in all situations.Through a combination of rigorous donor screening, individualized blood product selection, and careful monitoring, veterinary nurses can minimize the risks and enhance the benefits of transfusion.

A patient care report of a Doberman in heart failure

This article describes the nursing care provided to a Doberman in acute life-threatening heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). DCM is a common problem seen in medium-large breed dogs. It can sometimes lead to congestive heart failure (CHF) and cause arrhythmias, further compromising cardiac function. Nursing care, monitoring and therapy are vital for the patient both in the short term, but also long term, to optimize quality of life.

Animal welfare in disasters

Animal Welfare Emergency Management (AWEM) is an emerging area of emergency management. AWEM is used to describe the management of animal welfare needs, through all phases of emergency management. It is a critical component of modern emergency management, due to the complex bond between humans and animals and the unequivocal evacuation non-compliance of pet owners during disasters.The corpus of knowledge that has evolved from this study could be used to promote awareness of AWEM in government, private and educational sectors. Ultimately, adding to the limited literature available in this area will make a significant contribution to addressing the welfare needs of animals during disasters.

Cuffed endotracheal intubation in cats

Cuffed endotracheal (ET) intubation is used by many veterinary practitioners when anaesthetizing the feline patient. Cuffed ET intubation can, however, result in tracheal injury due to the delicate feline trachea and is a well-documented cause of Veterinary Defence Society claims.This article examines the anatomy and physiology of the trachea and considers why it is susceptible to trauma relating to cuffed ET intubation. It explores current research into tracheal trauma and the findings relating to the cause of injury and suggests specific practical techniques which can minimize the potential damage to the trachea as a result of cuffed ET intubation. These include the choice of ET tubes, the mode of inflation, precautions that can be taken while moving the animal and intra-operative monitoring.It concludes that there are relatively simple ways in which the likelihood of such iatrogenic tracheal trauma can be minimized.

How to manage wound drains

Wound drains play an important role in the management of wounds that arise in small animal practice. These wounds may result from trauma or following surgical intervention and the employment of drains may be used to improve healing by removing any fluid or air accumulation within tissues and reducing ‘dead space’ both of which are known to prolong wound healing and are associated with increased wound infection and wound dehiscence. Wound drains can be divided by their method of action as either passive or active, the selection of which drain type is suitable is dependent on the nature of the wound, its origin and its position. Correct management of wound drains in situ is a vital component of wound care and incorrect management of these drains can adversely affect wound healing and be detrimental to the patient and their recovery.

Triage in the veterinary emergency room: part 1

The triage examination is a rapid assessment of patients presented to the emergency room. The primary survey assesses the respiratory, cardiovascular, neurologic, and urogenital systems in patients to identify life-threatening conditions requiring immediate veterinary attention. Observation of respiratory pattern and rate while listening for respiratory noise can indicate and localize diseases of the respiratory system. The cardiovascular system is assessed by observation of mucous membrane colour and capillary refill time, combined with palpation of peripheral pulses. Neurologic and urogenital triage will be covered in part 2 of this series. Combined with a capsule history, the triage examination is used to identify and stratify emergency room patients so that the patients most in need are assessed and treated first.

PHMB as a topical antimicrobial in veterinary wound management

There are currently no new antibiotics on the horizon, and this fact should cause concern for all involved in both human and veterinary medicine.The use of topical antimicrobials should be considered as the alternative to systemic antibiotics in wound infection in order to minimize their use. Polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) is a relative newcomer to the veterinary market, having been used as an antiseptic/antimicrobial in a variety of industries for over 60 years.PHBM has been incorporated into a range of wound dressings and is highly effective as an antimicrobial as it destroys the outer and cytoplasmic membranes of the bacteria, destroying them. These dressings are able to rapidly reduce the bacterial load in the wound and represent the first line in the management of the bacterial burden of a wound.

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