Volume 3 Issue 7

Do clients know enough to protect their pets and themselves from tick-borne diseases?

Background: In the past risks from ticks and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) have been limited to particular times of the year and particular areas of the UK. However, in recent years the abundance and distribution of ticks in the UK has increased and ticks have been found to be active for prolonged periods. This has led to an increased risk from ticks and native TBDs. Additionally since the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) in 2000 the risks from exotic ticks and exotic TBDs have increased. Client and staff knowledge is therefore essential to minimize the impact of these increased risks.Aim: To investigate client and staff knowledge of ticks and related issues in different areas of the UK.Materials and methods: Client and staff questionnaires were produced to test their knowledge of ticks and related issues via multiple-choice quiz type questions. They were distributed to five practices in a zoonotic high-risk area and five in a zoonotic low-risk area, determined according to the prevalence of borreliosis (Lyme disease). Once completed, client and staff questionnaires were marked and given a knowledge score with one mark for every correct answer selected.Results: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that clients and staff in zoonotic high-risk areas had significantly (p<0.001 and p=0.006 respectively) better knowledge compared with those in zoonotic low-risk areas. No significant difference was found in the knowledge of clients who were members of PETS and those who were not.Conclusions: Risks posed by ticks and TBDs are no longer confined to high-risk areas. Tick populations are growing and expanding, people travel within the UK as well as abroad with their pets, and due to PETS the risk of exposure to exotic diseases both abroad and within the UK is increasing (especially in view of changes to the scheme in January 2012). All clients whether residing in high or low-risk areas need to be made aware of ticks, the potential for tick-borne diseases and how to protect their pets from such diseases.

Mistreated animals abroad

Almost every week at SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) we receive complaints from worried British holidaymakers reporting animal mistreatment abroad.

Angiostrongylus vasorum: an update

Angiostrongylus vasorum is a parasite increasing in range and prevalence in the UK. Originally limited to a few endemic foci in the south of the UK, it is now spreading north. Public awareness of this parasite is also increasing due to recent television advertising campaigns. As a result it is important for veterinary nurses to be prepared to field questions about the parasite and give up to date and accurate advice. This article reviews recent changes to the distribution of the parasite, public awareness as well as the diagnostic tests, treatments and preventative measures available.

Legal and ethical considerations when undertaking veterinary nurse research

Establishing a unique body of knowledge to define veterinary nursing as a profession is a key role of nursing research, but how that research is undertaken in terms of professionalism, ethics, welfare and law will help shape nurses’ professional identity. Consideration and protection of those individuals who are the subjects of research is the fundamental part of research ethics. Although certain regulations and processes seem burdensome they need to be in place to protect the animal, client and the nursing profession as a whole. Research involving recognized acts of veterinary nursing will always prioritize animal welfare but there are many other aspects to consider too. Most importantly to research ethics is open discussion, there is potential room for further guidance from regulators and the formation of a centralized ethical review committee for general practice.

Feline lower urinary tract disease:predisposition, causes and nursing care

Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is a common problem in veterinary practice. The causes of and predispositions to FLUTD are often misunderstood and this can lead to recurrence within patients.Sex, weight, diet and stress have all been suggested as factors that increase the risk of a cat developing FLUTD. Males would appear to be more predisposed to FLUTD than females and are regularly over represented in studies of FLUTD cats. Obesity also seems to be a predisposing factor with larger cats more likely to experience FLUTD. However cats that are fed a dry diet do not appear to be significantly more likely to develop FLUTD when compared to those fed a wet diet. Stress would seem to be the most significant inciting factor in the recurrence of FLUTD with much research conducted in this area.

Nursing care of the burns patient

Nursing patients with burn injuries can be hugely challenging as the individual may have severe metabolic, cardiovascular and pulmonary derangements, not to mention large tissue deficits. A range of systems have been developed to classify burn wounds including percentage of body surface involved, through to depth of tissue involved and the use of these systems may help in giving a prognosis of the extent of the injury.The treatment of burn wounds can start at home by the owner and appropriate early therapy can make a huge difference to the extent of the injury. All major body systems may be affected due to the nature of the injury and so early fluid therapy, analgesia, respiratory derangements, including carbon monoxide toxicity, wound management and analgesia need to be addressed appropriately. The close monitoring of these patients is vital in order to achieve a good outcome and so these cases rely heavily on good nursing care and attention to detail, so a good background knowledge of these considerations is essential.

Oral rehydration therapy — simple administration of basic nutrients

Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is a helpful strategy in managing critically ill patients from day 1. ORT solutions supply small amounts of nutrients that are readily absorbed by the small intestine and more specifically, provide nutrients to the cells that line the small intestine thus promoting gastrointestinal function and integrity. ORT solutions can be used in patients who have gastroenteritis, pancreatitis or a variety of other conditions. It is cost effective and easily administered by owners or staff members.

Practical avian venipuncture: how to take blood from birds

The avian case load is increasing in veterinary practice, and there is a higher expectation on the clinician to perform accurate diagnostics and treatment. This paper discusses the various sites, and methods for venipuncture in the avian patient, and which methods are currently most appropriate. General reference to the benefits of or indication for performing avian venipuncture, as well as associated risks is included. Particular comparison is made between the use of the jugular vein, the ulnar vein and the medial metatarsal vein. Reference to the benefits and negatives of each site is made, as well as indication of the most practical method to achieve restraint and collection. Support staff in the veterinary clinic trying to improve avian case management will find this useful as an aid for best practice for venipuncture.

The importance of fibre in rabbit health

The importance of fibre cannot be underestimated in rabbit nutrition. Fibrous vegeatation is needed not only for a healthy gut, but also for wearing down the rabbit’s continually growing teeth. Like other herbivores, rabbits spend a great deal of time chewing plant matter so for pet rabbits, providing ample chewing opportunities is an important way to provide psychological enrichment. There are some new diets on the market currently which help ensure more comprehensive nutritional support for the rabbit’s specialized dietary needs.

An evaluation of the cost of companion animal parasitic zoonoses in Europe

This article explores issues around the cost of small animal parasitic zoonoses. The concept of using disability adjusted life years (DALYs) is introduced, as used by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as a measure of the human cost of a wide variety of diseases. There are problems with ascertaining accurate figures for the numbers of humans affected, particularly where there is no mandatory reporting of infections. The WHO has calculated global figures for some infections including echinococcosis and leishmaniosis, which shows them to be important causes of disease, ranking collectively alongside diseases such as tooth decay or tetanus. The responsibility for control is sometimes grasped by governmental organizations, on other occasions responsibility falls to non-governmental organizations and individuals to ensure that measures to protect both animals and humans are in place. This is the case, for example, with tick control in travelling pets following the removal of mandatory tick treatment for pets returning to the UK. While there is no formal system for measuring the cost of disease in companion animals in a similar way to DALYs, the cost of treatment for affected animals can be estimated.

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