This month we are delighted to congratulate our own consultant editor, Perdi Welsh, on achieving the College of Animal Welfare Professional Development Award for Outstanding Service to the Veterinary Nursing Profession. Her efforts are significant and include such achievements as helping to implement the first block-release veterinary nursing course in Northern Ireland; helping to set up the UK's first Veterinary Skills Centre; and, by delivering higher education within the Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Nursing which equips veterinary nurses with the skills and confidence to provide best practice veterinary nursing care.
Puppy farming should be now be resigned to the history books. It has no place in the day and age in a civilised place like the UK where we supposedly have high welfare standards for all our animals. Yet shockingly it is still a huge, and growing, problem.
Urethral obstruction in cats is a potentially life-threatening condition. The administration of sufficient pain relief and appropriate fluid therapy as part of a well balanced nursing care plan is vital for the care of these patients. Urinary output must be monitored following the removal of the urethral obstruction and this report discusses the considerations of an indwelling urinary catheter.
The problemIn the scenario (Box 1) there are several issues to consider. The primary concern is the validity of the action of euthanasia by the RVN, as authorised by the veterinarian, due to someone other than the owner giving consent over the telephone.Box 1.A 1-year-old West Highland white terrier, presented without previous warning at 2100 hours following a road traffic collision (RTC) that had taken place approximately 4 hours earlier. He was brought in by the registered owner's daughter, as the elderly owner was too infirm and upset to come herself. The daughter explained she had six children at home to feed, bath and put to bed before seeking veterinary attention, hence the delay.The dog presented shocked, collapsed, hypothermic, with severe abdominal bruising and a fractured femur.Following a consultation (treatment or euthanasia were discussed, the patient was not insured and the owner was a pensioner with little money) the owners’ daughter signed the hospitalisation consent form to investigate. Conscious radiographs were taken and these confirmed a femoral fracture, with no evidence of bladder injury visible. The plan was treatment for shock and analgesia, with reassessment the next day.The owner's daughter telephoned 3 hours later and spoke to a RVN, now alone in the practice, stating that the matter had been discussed with her mother, the registered owner of the patient, and that euthanasia had been decided. The RVN telephoned the veterinarian and, using the authority of the consent provided over the telephone, the veterinarian agreed and the RVN euthanised the patient.The RVN took a call from the owner's other daughter who lived in America at 0600 hours, who stated that she would cover all costs incurred on behalf of her mother's dog. The situation was explained, resulting in verbal abuse to the RVN and accusing the practise of acting hastily.
Historically, cats have been undertreated for pain. Although there have been many advances in this area, veterinary professionals continue to be challenged by pain recognition and assessment in their feline patients. Pain is a multidimensional experience and thus assessment should incorporate an interactive and non-interactive approach, focusing on behavioural responses. Scoring systems available to assess acute post-operative pain in cats, assist in identifying and recording pain responses, in addition to standardising methods of assessment. This article provides a guide to recognising and assessing indicators of acute pain in feline patients and the practical use of scoring systems within a veterinary practice.
Hypoadrenocorticism is often called the great pretender because it usually presents with nondescript signs and symptoms. The patients that present in a crisis require extensive nursing care and offer many unique nursing challenges. Understanding the pathophysiology of hypoadrenocorticism allows for better nursing care to be offered.
Nutritional support is a vital component of successful management of hospitalised animals. Lack of adequate calories and nutrients can lead to adverse consequences, including loss of lean body mass. These deleterious effects can be seen within 3–5 days of anorexia. Optimal nutritional assessment will allow the clinician to develop an appropriate nutrition plan which will address patient selection, timing, route of administration and diet selection. Early institution of an individualised nutritional plan allows enhanced nutritional management, reduced risk of malnutrition and ultimately improved patient outcome.
The veterinary environment has been seen to be a stressful environment for patients. This stress can have a negative impact on the welfare of inpatients and result in dangerous interactions between owners/staff and patients.The waiting room is the first exposure a patient has to the veterinary environment. By taking measures to ensure the environment is as stress free as possible the likelihood of patient stress can be reduced.This article highlights measures that can be taken to reduce stress within the waiting room. These range from building layout to pheromone therapy. By utilising as many of the highlighted options as possible stress within the waiting room may be reduced. This will have a positive effect on the consultation and subsequent visits to the practice.
Veterinary nursing has experienced the immigration of new concepts and terminology relating to human nursing theories for a number of years, many of which, such as nursing models and care plans, are now integral parts of the veterinary nursing academic landscape. Despite this, it is proposed by the authors that veterinary nurses are, for various reasons, reluctant to incorporate care planning into their daily clinical practice, resulting in the development of a theory–practice divide.As there are published reports from veterinary nurses who have applied the Orpet and Jeffery Ability Model (2007) to their practice with successful outcomes, it is suggested that adoption of this veterinary nursing model provides the best chance of closing the theory–practice gap. When used in conjunction with the nursing process, the Orpet and Jeffery Ability Model (2007) can enable veterinary nurses to deliver a high standard of individualised nursing care to their patients in practice, in addition to further developing the profession as a whole.