Volume 3 Issue 3

A clinical audit to identify factors contributing to surgical wound healing complications

This clinical audit investigated the potential effect of a range of factors on wound healing success in a mixed sample of 285 cats and dogs post ovariohysterectomy in a practice that had noticed healing complications in some patients. Patient records over 18 months from 2008-2009 were included in the study. Factors investigated included skin, muscle and subcutaneous suture material, differences between species and age, the use of an Elizabethan collar, post-operative antibiotics and whether the individual veterinary surgeon performing the surgery affected the incidence of healing complications. Statistical testing included risk-ratio analysis, Chi Square test and Fisher's exact test. The use of catgut in muscle and subcutaneous tissue was found to significantly increase the risk of healing complications (p≤0.001). Dogs appeared significantly more at risk from healing complications than cats (p<0.001). When polyglactin 910 was compared with nylon as a skin suture material to assess the risk of healing complications, the findings were insignificant. The effect of age, the use of Elizabethan collars, the veterinary surgeon and the use of post-operative antibiotics on healing complications were insignificant.

Taking action to embrace veterinary nursing research

While veterinary nursing is distinct and different to human nursing, there are some key parallels between the two similar professions. Our two vocations are centred on medicine and the science and art of caring for our patients. We share many of the same skills and topics of learning. We also have faced some of the same challenges with respect to professional development and recognition. To deny that we have much to learn from human nursing is to deny an opportunity to learn from our closest cousins, our allies in the provision of care on the frontlines of practice.

A care report of a feline sacroiliac and coxofemoral luxation following a road traffic accident

This article describes the nursing care provided to an elderly domestic short haired cat with a fractured pelvis following a road traffic accident. It is essential to consider the entire animal when presented with a fracture case owing to the high incidence of shock, pain and additional soft tissue injuries. Analgesia and shock therapy treatment commenced immediately and post surgery intense nursing care and physiotherapy began to allow the patient the best chance to make a full recovery.

How to manage the veterinary dispensary

This article provides readers with guidance on the setting up and running of a veterinary dispensary. Following guidance and requirements from relevant bodies (such as the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)), readers will be taken through some of the required and recommended policies and regulations associated with the management of a veterinary dispensary. It is important for the veterinary nurse to be aware of current requirements for veterinary prescriptions, prescribing cascade, suitably qualified person, waste guidelines and the understanding of stock control which has been included in this article.

Understanding and reducing stress in dogs left home alone

As stress is a physiological response to what is occurring in the surroundings, it is likely that every pet in the world experiences stress each day. Acute stress is essential for survival, enabling an animal to deal with the initiating stressors in a manner that will enhance the animal's chances of survival. However, many animals experience chronic stress — regular and/or continuous exposure to stressors at levels and proximities that the animal is unable to control or alter. Such stressors can lead to physiological and emotional distress and impaired welfare. The dog that is left alone in the home can become trapped in an environment for which it has no coping strategies or, due to circumstances outside its control, may have lost its previous coping strategies. Such dogs suffer daily impairments in welfare.

Veterinary nursing research: types, importance and dissemination

As with other practice-based professions, research is vitally important to the field of veterinary nursing. Professions have a responsibility to provide high-quality services that are beneficial to their clients, whether human or animal, based on systematic and ongoing research, providing evidence-based principles. Even though veterinary nurses work as members of a healthcare team, there are areas of their professional practice that are exclusively their domain, which warrant scientific investigation. Veterinary nursing research will not only assist veterinary patients and clients through improving nursing practices, but will also advance the development of veterinary nursing as a profession. Generating a unique body of knowledge is one of the criteria by which a profession is defined. This article examines what is research in veterinary nursing, why research is important to veterinary nursing professional practice and how scientific research can promote the development of the veterinary nursing profession.

Nursing approach: clinical nutrition of the canine with cardiac disease

Nutrition is a critical component of caring for small animals, but special consideration should be made for the patient with cardiac disease. The degree of heart disease varies greatly, and consequently, so do the nutritional requirements of the patient. Anorexia and cardiac cachexia are problems that veterinary nurses should be aware of; nurses should be able to formulate feeding plans for the individual patient, and be able to provide owners with practical advice.

Hay for a healthy rabbit: the importance of appropriate feed

Rabbits are herbivores with teeth and a gastrointestinal system adapted for a high-fibre, low-nutrient diet. Providing an appropriate diet, based on grass or grass hay supplemented with vegetables and only small amounts of concentrates, is important for tooth health, gut function and maintenance of a healthy weight. Water is also essential, and most rabbits prefer a bowl to a sipper bottle. Rabbits that fail to ingest their caecotrophs and those with diarrhoea (which is rarer) may become soiled and prone to flystrike. Obesity resulting from excess concentrate feed can lead to health problems including soiling and arthritis, and obese rabbits are more likely to develop life-threatening hepatic lipidosis if they stop eating for any reason. Stress minimization is important in hospitalized rabbits to avoid anorexia, which has potentially life-threatening consequences.

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