Volume 4 Issue 1

Beating the odds: using epidemiology to pick the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner

Aim:To date epidemiology has been widely utilised to analyse disease and identify risk factors associated with injury. This study aimed to establish if epidemiology has the potential to be employed as a predictive model of National Hunt racing performance.Objectives:The purpose of the present study was to apply the principles of epidemiology to predict factors that impact on individual performance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and to strengthen the potential of epidemiology as a valid methodology for predicting racehorse performance.MethodsRelevant factors related to racehorse performance were identified and collated via the Racingpost website for horses that had run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup from 1995 to 2010. Subsequent univariate and multivariable single-level and mixed effects logistic regression models were developed using winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup as the dependent variable.ResultsThe chance of a horse winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup is increased by1.09 times for each extra 10 percentage point increase in the percentage of starts at Cheltenham that resulted in a win. Horses that had been ridden by only one or two jockeys throughout their career were 40 times more likely to win than horses that had been ridden by three or more jockeys.ConclusionsNational Hunt racehorses that have one or two consistent jockeys throughout their racing career and have a higher course runs to win ratio at Cheltenham are predicted to perform superiorly to their peers who do not.Potential relevance:Epidemiology appears to be a valid tool for predicting variables that can increase the probability of superior performance for specific events and has potential to be utilised in other equine sporting fields.

Lessons and ethics of assisting with death

Many years ago, when I was still in high school, I decided that I wanted to work with animals. I contacted the local veterinarian and asked her if she would accept me as a volunteer. She agreed and instructed me to report to the practice at 7am the next morning at which time we would depart for the first farm call of the day, at a local piggery.

Microchipping law welcomed

After years of campaigning the Government have decided to make microchipping compulsory for all dogs. Clarissa Baldwin, Chief executive of Dogs Trust, explains what this means for dogs in the UK.

How to manage seizures

Seizures are a period of disorganised brain activity, where there is overstimulation of the central nervous system and random involuntary muscle spasms. There are different forms of seizure activity that affect animals and a wide range of potential underlying causes. A veterinary nurse must be able to assist the veterinary surgeon in the management of any patient presenting following or during seizure activity, as prompt and appropriate intervention is required to achieve a favourable outcome for these patients. This article aims to outline the differing presentations associated with seizure activity and consider some of the potential underlying causes, before exploring the optimal stabilisation and management of any seizuring patient.

Ethical dilemmas: who can decide when euthanasia is justified?

The aim of this article is to examine the ethical dilemma of euthanasia, considering the views of the veterinary nurse, the owner and the animal. The article will include criminal and civil consequences and will explain basic ethical theories with the aim of answering the question of who can decide when euthanasia should be carried out.

Intensive nursing care provided to a patient with permethrin toxicosis

This article describes and evaluates the intensive nursing care provided to a feline patient with permethrin toxicosis. Permethrin is an active ingredient in some over-the-counter insecticide products. Cats are particularly sensitive to permethrin toxicosis due to a deficiency of glucouronide transferase enzyme which is necessary for permethrin metabolism. Nursing interventions should include provision of supportive care to maintain hydration, normovolaemia, normothermia and patient comfort. Recommendations for future practice include increasing awareness of the potential life-threatening complications of permethrin toxicosis and active reporting of suspected adverse reactions to enable effective monitoring and intervention as appropriate.

Reducing the risk of gossypiboma and other retained items during surgery

A surprising number of foreign bodies may be inadvertently left in tissues after surgery, including suture material, needles, surgical instruments, starch powder from gloves, fragments of lint and gauze swabs. In particular, the problem of the retained gauze swab is well recognised in human surgery, perhaps not surprisingly as there are so many used in each procedure. The inflammatory reaction to a retained gauze swab is called gossypiboma — from the Latin word gossypium in reference to the cotton fibres of the swab and the Swahili word boma meaning ‘place of concealment’. Gossypibomas occur because there is a failure to account for all the swabs used during a surgical procedure. Depending on the proximity to vital structures and the degree of associated inflammation and infection, the consequences of a retained surgical swab can range from abscess or fistula formation to life-threatening septicaemia or tumour formation. The veterinary nurse assisting in theatre has a vital role to play in minimising the incidence of retained items via surgical counting, good trolley management and effective communication.

What is FIV and what does it mean for FIV positive patients?

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes immunodeficiency in cats. A good time to consider testing cats for FIV would be after they have been bitten in a fight however the test needs to be done 2 months or longer after the fight otherwise the results may be inaccurate due to the cat's immune system not generating enough antibodies to be fully detectable. The disease is more dominant in intact adult male cats — this could be due to them roaming more and being generally more aggressive. Following the primary phase of infection most cats are thought to undergo a prolonged period when they are free of clinical signs attributed to FIV infection. The asymptomatic phase may last for years. There are currently no specific anti-viral agents effective against FIV that can be recommended for use in cats.

An introduction to fish diagnostics

Fish, like many other pets, succumb to diseases and may require veterinary attention. Along with water quality analyses, standard veterinary diagnostic tests can be applied to investigate diseases in fish such as collecting a history, physical examination, microscopy, post-mortem examinations, haematology, clinical chemistry, bacteriology and virology. With practice, many of these techniques can be performed by the veterinary nurse. With the correct diagnosis, treatment options become clear.

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