Volume 4 Issue 6

Are VNs professionals or paraprofessionals?

Looking in the literature, or searching online, you will see many instances where veterinary nurses (VNs) and technicians are referred to as paraprofessionals; however, this term is not correct for a number of reasons.

Anaesthetic management of a patient undergoing dental extractions with concurrent congestive heart failure and advanced tracheal collapse

This article describes and evaluates the anaesthetic management provided to a canine patient with congestive heart failure and advanced tracheal collapse undergoing dental extractions. Thorough pre-operative assessment of the patient's clinical condition and concurrent medication is an important consideration to enable an appropriate anaesthetic protocol to be implemented. An awareness of the importance and practical application of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics within veterinary nursing should be encouraged to maximise patient care.

Control of gastrointestinal nematode species in horses: an evidence-based approach

Evidence-based medicine implies that current literature is being utilised in order that the best therapeutic approach is used. This is especially important with regards to parasite control where the owner is relying on veterinary practices to provide them with the most current and cost-effective advice. With the current level of resistance to the most common nematode anthelmintics available it is clear that veterinary practices need to be doing more with regards to their own education on parasite control in order to be able to best inform owners. The nematode species that are of most clinical significance to the horse owner are the large redworms (particularly Strongylus vulgaris) small redworms (Cyathostomes), ascarids (particularly Parascaris equorum) and the pinworm (Oxyuris equi). They have a direct life cycle (no intermediate host) and the females are capable of producing thousands of eggs that can pass out in the faeces and then subsequently contaminate pasture and cause infection in susceptible horses. There are many factors that contribute to the clinical relevance of these species and much research has been undertaken into the factors that cause disease in susceptible equine populations. Many control strategies (for example faecal egg counts) and anthelmintic treatment programmes have been recommended in order to limit the clinical effects of these intestinal parasites; however due to the lack of clinical signs seen in horses most owners have relied on the routine prophylactic use of anthelmintics, and as a result anthelmintic resistance has become a growing concern. A better understanding by veterinary staff of the current research in this area would give them the ability to provide strategic therapeutic advice so that owners have a cost-effective and efficacious means of parasite control.

How to nurse the ageing, small animal inpatient part 1 – general nursing considerations

Geriatrics is the branch of medicine and surgery that treats problems peculiar to old age. Ageing is defined as the accumulation of progressive body changes associated with or responsible for disease, decreased physiologic function, and ultimately death. Lifespan and life expectancy differ among species and among individual members of a species, therefore there is no one specific age that can define the term ‘geriatric’ The term is therefore generally used to define those animals that have reached 75–80% of their expected lifespan. Ageing patients do not adapt well to a change in environment or alterations to their daily routine. This first of this two-part article will focus on general nursing considerations for the ageing inpatient.

An introduction to developmental problems in puppy hood

Many veterinary staff wondered why the Companion Animal Welfare Council, that conducted independent studies into the welfare, care and treatment of companion animals, concluded that the minimum standard of accredited qualification for professionals instructing a puppy class should be at level 4 to 5, i.e. equivalent to a foundation degree or early years of undergraduate level study. It is intended that this article will go some way towards explaining the complexity and variety of problems that can be faced by the young puppy and why it is essential for veterinary staff in charge of this part of a dog's emotional and behavioural development to be able to recognise problems and give appropriate advice to owners. To fail to intervene appropriately in this essential aspect of preventative behavioural medicine can lead to permanent and irreversible behavioural problems. In turn such problems may lead to abuse, relinquishment or euthanasia of the dog and to potential injury to owners. Put simply, there is more to preparing puppies for life than opportunities to play together and it is particularly inappropriate to encourage a party atmosphere of excessive emotional arousal.

Improving patient safety in the perioperative period: surgical safety checklists

Surgical complications are an unfortunate part of both medical and veterinary practice, but many are considered to be preventable if appropriate measures are implemented. In human healthcare, one of these measures has been the introduction of surgical safety checklists (SSCs). With proven origins in aviation, another high risk industry, checklists have been linked with the reduction of peri-operative complications and deaths in human hospitals by significant amounts.Recognising that the core values of SSCs are equally applicable to veterinary practice, the Animal Health Trust implemented their use in November 2008. Since then, positive outcomes observed include increased unity among the multiple specialist teams working in the theatre environment and improved communicaiton of vital information regarding individual patients and surgical procedures.

Veterinary palliative and hospice care - making the transition from ‘cure’ to ‘care’

The term ‘palliative care’ has become almost synonymous with human medicine, most notably cancer care, however veterinary practices have a pivotal role to play in palliative and end-of-life care for companion animals. Until recently, very little information was available on how to apply the principles of palliative and hospice care into the veterinary profession despite the fact that patients with chronic and life-limiting disease are seen on a daily basis. Consider the cat with chronic renal failure or the dog with congestive heart failure or osteoarthritis. Dietary and therapeutic management can make a real difference to such patients' quality of life and also their life expectancy, and as such these patients are often treated ‘palliatively’ for months to years without any expectation of a real ‘cure’. Many veterinary personnel do not recognise such treatment as palliative care however it is exactly this. This article aims to introduce the reader to the concepts of veterinary palliative and hospice care and ask them to consciously consider making the difficult transition from the ‘cure’ to ‘care’ approach.

A case-based approach to professional and legal issues

This article takes a case-based approach to a scenario in veterinary practice. The actions of the registered veterinary nurse are analysed from a legal and professional perspective, with the aim to generate recommendations to improve future practice.

Are they ready for a pet rabbit?

They may love the idea of a cute fluffy addition to their household, but how ready are they for a pet rabbit? Pet charity Blue Cross reveals why rabbits are one of the most misunderstood pets

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