Jennifer Hamlin Consultant editor
Equine flu is highly contagious and causes a range of respiratory signs, coughing, nasal discharge and fever. When it occurs in young, unprotected horses it can be particularly severe.
Radiography of the spine poses various challenges that can be reduced by efficient planning and preparation. By understanding the relevant anatomy and its relationship to the primary beam as well as the aims of the study, diagnostic images can be produced. This report discusses the importance of accurate positioning and collimation, and highlights how systematic appraisal of images can identify faults and enable necessary measures to be taken to improve outcomes.
Analgesia in veterinary patients can be achieved by using drugs from two major classes: opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In addition, analgesic adjuvants such as lidocaine, ketamine and alpha-2 adrenergic agonists are also used in the management of pain. This first article will review the general pharmacology and clinical use of opioids. The subsequent article will discuss the individual opioids and their specific characteristics.
Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) is a common pruritic skin disease that starts in young dogs. The diagnosis is based on a set of clinical criteria as well as ruling out other pruritic skin diseases. Intradermal and serological testing are used to detect allergens for allergen-specific immunotherapy as well as allergen avoidance, but these should not be used as diagnostic tests. CAD is an incurable disease, and cases that do not respond to diet trials will require lifelong therapy. Nurses can play a valuable role in the diagnosis and long-term management of this problematic condition.
It is often the veterinary nurse (VN) who is responsible for ensuring samples are submitted correctly for analysis, whether that be for diagnostic or research purposes. There are a number of pre-analytical considerations the VN must make which help protect the integrity of the sample and therefore validity of the results. Packaging of samples is one of these important considerations as not only does packaging protect the sample, it also protects the people involved with the transport of the samples.
Sharps are used in the veterinary environment on a daily basis. The NHS European Office (2013) has recently changed the guidelines to sharps, to reduce the number of incidents occurring and the costs involved from related injuries causing time off for sickness, from counselling and from tests in the NHS for blood-borne pathogens. There is little evidence on the number of needle-stick injuries in veterinary practice in the UK compared with in America, Canada, Australia and in the NHS. This article highlights alternative consumable devices that can be used in place of sharps to protect staff in veterinary practice, the correct and safe disposal of sharps and the risks involved with the use of sharps.
There is extensive anecdotal and scientific information available on critical care of ferrets; however, there is still much to learn about best practice protocols for treating their critical conditions. In order to provide a realistic treatment plan, it is vital for the veterinary team to acknowledge the specific requirements and responses of ferrets to critical care strategies. This article discusses the treatments available when formulating the care plan for critically ill ferrets by building on existing dog and cat techniques, while also acknowledging ferret-specific anatomical and behavioural traits. Emphasis is given to well-documented, successful procedures and treatments, with a brief discussion about emergency care.
Veterinary nurses and clinicians should be familiar with common toxicants so that they can ask potential questions about the patient's history, including clinical signs and access to potentially toxic agents. This article outlines some of the toxicants commonly identified in small animal practice, including human medications, such as antidepressants, sleeping pills and paracetamol, household products, such as chocolate, grapes and antifreeze, and poisonous plants. Early diagnosis is essential to prompt immediate management.