As a young girl developing my interest in veterinary medicine, I quickly realised that my love of animals contradicted my lifestyle. I was surrounded with animal products that required animals to die for my habits — from the food that I ate, to leather for my saddle. The animals I was using most certainly would not have chosen to die, had they been able to choose. As I began working in veterinary practices, it became that much harder as I fought to save lives each day. As a result, I decided that I had to choose one way or another. Either I am an animal advocate, or I am not. There is no middle ground. I couldn't nurse a cat from the brink of death after being hit by a car only to then watch a healthy lamb get slaughtered when we were perfectly capable of surviving without its meat. Many years later, societal pressures place me somewhere in the middle again, but I often struggle with this issue, especially when heated stories come up in the news.
Owning a pet can be rewarding in many ways. Laura Stokes explores the relationship between pets and their owners and reveals the physical, emotional and social benefits of interaction with animals.
Intrahepatic portosystemic shunts often occur due to failure of the ductus venous to close after birth. Surgical treatment of this anomaly historically involved acute closure of the vessel by ligation which would lead to a high morbidity rate due to the risk of portal hypertension. Percutaneous transvenous coil embolisation (PTCE) is a method of gradual occlusion of the shunting vessel thus aiming to avoid acute rises in portal venous pressure.This article will discuss the use of this procedure compared with other methods as well as pre, peri and post-operative care of patents who have received PTCE.
Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) or vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) of wounds is a treatment modality that consists of applying sub-atmospheric, or negative, pressure to a wound resulting in wound protection, drainage and accelerated wound healing. NPWT systems are constructed by the use of commercial or improvised systems; the wound is packed with open cell polyurethane foam or gauze, covered with adhesive drape and connected with tubing to an adjustable suction device. Recently, more portable, single-use systems have been developed, that make them more versatile for use, particularly in veterinary patients.
Oral pathology is exceedingly common in small animal patients. This review describes a numer of selected diseases that are seen on daily oral assessment in every veterinary practice. Depending on the condition, a short summary is included of etiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, differential diagnoses, diagnostic tests, and if possible treatment/management. Persistent deciduous teeth, supernumerary teeth, intrinsically stained teeth, fractured teeth, abscessed teeth, luxated and avulsed teeth, feline tooth resorption, ‘missing’ teeth, oral neoplasia, caudal stomatitis, juvenile gingivitis and immune-mediated diseases are all discussed.
A skin scrape is a fairly quick and simple diagnostic technique that all veterinary nurses should be able to perform competently. It is also an inexpensive diagnostic aid, that is easy to undertake, and if assessed in-house, can produce rapid results which permit prompt treatment of affected animals. Competency in these skills will improve management of skin cases and will free up valuable time for the veterinary surgeon to continue with a busy clinic.
As discussed in the previous article, opioids form the basis of pain management in veterinary patients alongside non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesic adjuvants such as lidocaine, ketamine and alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. This second article will focus on commonly used opioids and their relevance to veterinary analgesia.
Britain is a nation of pet lovers, with 53% of all households having a pet. People are very much aware of the benefits pets bring to society. Hardly a day goes by without new statistics or a news story being published about how much pets benefit people, and how people would do ‘anything’ for their pets. Yet this love is not always transposed into knowledge, and there remains a lack of understanding of what our pets need to remain healthy.
Physiotherapy is well utilised and evidenced in human practice. However, the use of physiotherapy in veterinary practice is a relatively new concept with much of the current treatment based on human evidence. Currently the evidence base for the use of physiotherapy in dogs in the post-operative period after surgery for ruptured cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is minimal. Published evidence does indicate that the use of cold therapy in the immediate post-operative period can result in reduced swelling, reduced pain and increased range of motion (ROM). Additionally, post-operative physiotherapy programmes were shown to improve ROM, muscle mass and limb use post operatively when compared with a restricted exercise programme. However, there are some inconsistencies in results, which may in part be due to experiment design — data collection methods and sample numbers. More research is required in this field of veterinary medicine to provide evidence that the benefits of post-operative physiotherapy, widely recognised in human medicine, are truly applicable to the canine patient.