Volume 4 Issue 9

A preliminary evaluation of surface electromyography as a tool to measure muscle fatigue in the National Hunt racehorse

Background: Within equestrian sports, training is commonly based on historic and anecdotal good practice. Telemetric surface electromyography (sEMG) systems facilitate assessment of muscle recruitment including mean motor unit action potential (mM-UAP). Mean EMG frequency (mEMGF) provides an objective measure of fitness levels while a shift in the median EMG frequency (MeEMGF) over time can illustrate fatigue.Aim: This study aimed to investigate if sEMG could be used in the field to evaluate muscle activity of the Gluteus superficialis in a cohort of National Hunt racehorses during one canter interval training session.Method: Sensors were secured bilaterally to horses' Gluteal superficialis prior to exercise and data were collected over a standardised 10 metre interval. A repeated measure ANOVA assessed differences in mEMGF between runs across the cohort and between runs for individual horses. A Pearson's correlation identified if mEMGF was related to perceived fitness level as assessed by the trainer. mEMGF and MeEMGF for individual horses were plotted over time (0.25 second intervals) to assess fitness and fatigue.Results: Individual horses exhibited a wide variety of mMUAP values. No differences were found between runs for the overall cohort (p>0.05) however significant differences were found between runs within some individual horses (p<0.01). No relationship between fitness level and mEMGF was found (p>0.05), mEMGF varied throughout runs and MeEMGF for most horses remained consistent indicative of a lack of fatigue.Conclusion: The results suggest that this technology exhibits potential to be used to aid analysis of efficacy of training programmes for individual horses.

Risk of being an unregulated profession

The veterinary nursing profession in the UK has come a long way in the last 50 years. We have outlined qualifications required in order to practice as a VN; we have set and maintained standards of VN competence and conduct; we have developed processes to ensure competence of current practicing VNs; and, we have established systems to deal with misconduct or failure to maintain professional competency. However, two key pieces of the puzzle are missing. The first is protection of title whereby only persons meeting standards recognised by our own regulatory authority may practice ‘veterinary nursing’ or may use the title ‘veterinary nurse’ and all of its abbreviations. The second is regulation of our profession by way of legalisation as a recognised profession.

European Antibiotics Awareness Day — how nurses can help

European antibiotic awareness day was held on 18th November. Steve Eldridge, Policy Advisor in the Antimicrobial Resistance Team at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) explains what this means for veterinary nurses.

Management of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome

As animals age, behaviour changes may be the first indication of declining health and welfare. This is especially true for some of the more common problems associated with ageing, such as pain, sensory decline and cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). Cognitive dysfunction syndrome is the term used to describe the behavioural changes and learning and memory impairment seen secondary to age-related degeneration of the brain. Using the recommendations highlighted within this article it may prove possible to reduce anxiety levels in dogs suffering from CDS as well as provide support for owners in dealing with this complex and often distressing disease of their ageing companion.

How to implement an infection control strategy

Infection control and prevention is a vital aspect of veterinary care for the whole team. Sadly, many aspects are often overlooked, or not considered, and these can be very simple areas such as hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, isolation of infectious patients and antimicrobial stewardship. This article will look at the importance of taking the individual patient's clinical condition into consideration, and the important aspects of infection control strategies, which should be considered when designing an infection control strategy.

Making client communication appetising: talking with clients about nutrition

Nutrition is an integral component of pet health, and the veterinary healthcare team is best equipped to guide owners seeking information about pet nutrition. Veterinary nurses have an integral role in client communication about nutrition, especially when obtaining a dietary history and ensuring owner comprehension. Communication strategies, including open-ended questions, reflective listening, non-verbal communication, and empathy, can be practiced by the entire veterinary healthcare team. In order to improve client satisfaction and optimise patient care, the team can use these methods in giving and receiving information from pet owners, working with pet owners to create a plan, and ensuring ongoing compliance.

Veterinary nurses creating a unique approach to patient care: part two

Planning patient care is an integral part of veterinary nursing practice. Part one of this article outlined how the Orpet and Jeffery Ability Model (2007) can be used to enhance the processes involved in planning care and encourage a holistic view of veterinary patients. This second part builds on the existing literature regarding the use of this model in practice by examining the outcomes arising from its use by 56 registered veterinary nurses in practice, as part of their studies towards the Royal Veterinary College Graduate Diploma in Professional and Clinical Veterinary Nursing.The observed positive outcomes included perceived increased recognition and enhancement of the unique role of the veterinary nurse and improved individualised and patient-specifc care through use of the client questionnaire. The predominant negative outcome was the length of time taken to complete the planning of patient care. While this may decrease if use of the model was routinely adopted by practising veterinary nurses, it is proposed by the authors that signifcant local adaptations of the model are required to ensure that this adoption occurs.

Tapeworms of UK cats and dogs: an update

Tapeworms (class Cestoda) remain common parasites of UK cats and dogs despite widespread use of anthelmintics by pet owners. Although this group of helminths rarely causes disease in the definitive host their presence often causes distress in pet owners and some species have zoonotic potential. Echinococcus granulosus remains a serious endemic zoonosis despite repeated campaigns to eliminate it. This article reviews the epidemiology of tapeworm infections in the UK, zoonotic risk and the role of veterinary nurses in advising the public, diagnosis, treatments and control of these parasites.

In response

Many thanks for your letter regarding my article ‘Stress in the Veterinary Waiting Room’. It is very reassuring to read that veterinary professionals are taking steps forward to recognise the importance of the mental wellbeing of patients (of all species) in all areas of veterinary care. As you state there are further differences between the species that, due to the space restrictions, it was not possible to investigate. The aim was to give an overview of some of the most important aspects to consider when looking at ways to reduce emotional arousal within the veterinary waiting room specifically. an environment that, in my experience, causes an emotional stress response in a high number of patients, both canine and feline.There are certain further methods and ideas that can be utilised within the veterinary clinic environment to improve the experience for patients and these should definitely be explored further. The clinics that you are promoting sound very interesting. Any programmes that aim to improve the mental wellbeing of patients are to be welcomed.

Keep up to date with The Veterinary Nurse!

Sign up to The Veterinary Nurse's regular newsletters and keep up-to-date with the very latest clinical research and CPD we publish each month.