Volume 5 Issue 2

How to select an appropriate wound dressing

Wound management forms a vital part of nursing practice. With such a vast variety of wound dressings available on the veterinary market, the registered veterinary nurse (RVN) should ensure they are familiar with the function and purpose of the dressings they are applying to their patients. Over recent years, wound care has advanced with the introduction of dressings with anti-microbial properties along with an improved understanding of the science behind wound dressings. This article aims to provide the RVN with a basic knowledge of the different varieties of wound dressings available for our veterinary patients, along with a brief overview of their main functions and applications.

Our first CPD workshops: what a success!

Once again, we are delighted to join our colleagues at the BSAVA congress and with this issue we wish to extend a warm welcome to our new readers who may be seeing The Veterinary Nurse for the first time. We are proud to be the only internationally recognised peer-reviewed veterinary nursing journal in the world and hope that you see us as an important asset in your career.

The road to compulsory microchipping

The countdown to compulsory microchipping has started with 2 years to go in England and just a year in Wales. This article provide an update on the upcoming microchipping laws, explaining the role of veterinary practices in ensuring a smooth transition to compulsory microchipping.

Obesity and the health and welfare of the leisure horse

Abstract Obesity is defined as an accumulation of excess body fat and is a medical disease in which excess fat has accumulated to such an extent that it has an adverse effect on the general health of the horse. Obesity is recognised as a cause for concern with regards to the health and welfare of companion animals, with one in five horses kept for leisure purposes currently regarded as obese. While obesity is not widely regarded as a welfare issue by the general public, owners have a duty of care to prevent pain and suffering in horses, and evidence suggests that an obese horse is more at risk of developing painful conditions such as laminitis. Recognition of obesity in horses is an inherent problem, with many owners underestimating the body condition and weight of their horse; this being further complicated by the fact that with larger framed horses, or horses that are already overweight, assessing body condition is more difficult. There are a number of ways of assessing body condition, including measuring actual bodyweight, assigning a body condition score and using formulas such as the body mass index. Body condition scoring is regarded as subjective, but is the most practical means by which owners can regularly assess the body condition of their horse. As with many diseases/disorders, the cause of obesity is multifactorial; however, the most common reason for a horse to become obese is overfeeding coupled with a lack of exercise. Obesity can be addressed by client education, and the veterinary nurse can provide advice with regards to weight management programmes. However, these need to be tailored to the individual horse, and owners need to recognise that they are entering into a long-term commitment.

Ear cytology in otitis externa: when, why, how?

Otitis externa is a common presentation in small animal practice. Due to the increasing concerns regarding antibacterial resistance both in human and veterinary medicine, empirical therapy of otitis externa with antibiotics-containing topical products without a specific diagnosis should be avoided. This article reviews how to perform cytological examination of ear discharge, and how it can be used to characterise infection and target therapy in order to optimise the management of the disease.

Update on Toxocara species and toxocarosis

Toxocara species eggs are produced by adult worms in the intestine of the fox, dog and cat definitive hosts. In the environment, third stage larvae develop inside the eggs and once developed, the larvae are infective. The relative contribution of the three species of definitive hosts depends on the population size, the prevalence and intensity of infection in those hosts and what steps are taken to prevent infection or to pick up faeces, particularly in the case of dogs. Infection in paratenic hosts results in larval migration which can cause behavioural changes when migration occurs in the central nervous system. Infection in the lungs of the definitive host must be distinguished from other causes of lung disease. Of the syndromes associated with infection in humans, the varied signs associated with covert toxocarosis are becoming better understood and are now believed to include asthma, reduced lung function, reduced cognitive function, chronic coughing. Diagnosis in humans remains challenging with elimination of other possible causes an important constituent.

Social networking — professional platform or professional pitfall?

Social networking sites have been increasingly in the news in recent months, with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Flickr some of the most popular and frequently used websites of the modern day. This article will discuss issues surrounding online social networking as while such websites can be very useful for accessing education, professional networking and dissemination of evidence-based findings, their use can be a very grey area, especially for healthcare professionals.This article is not intended to deter veterinary professionals from engaging with social media, rather to highlight the potential dangers, as the increased use of social networking sites has the potential to bring risks to the veterinary profession as has been the case with the human healthcare profession.

Pricing of veterinary products and services – fair pricing for profit?

The pricing strategy which a veterinary practice develops must reflect the true cost of delivering products and services to clients. An essential starting point for any pricing strategy is, therefore, to establish what these costs are. This article addresses the issues and challenges involved in costing and price setting of veterinary drugs and medicines, pet health products and veterinary services within a small animal practice. First, the various pricing strategies available to practice managers and owners are explored. Then a basic costing and pricing formula is put forward that can effectively be applied both to products and services and this is utilised to illustrate the actual price-setting process in two selected examples. Finally, some general guidelines are given for keeping clients informed about prices in order to ensure transparency and clarity and thus maintain and even enhance the practice–client relationship.

Reducing the risk of anaesthetic complications in patients with brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome

This article highlights the main complications that can occur when anaesthetising dogs with brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) and provides clinical techniques to reduce instances of complications. Complications include obstruction of the upper airway, difficult tracheal intubation and risk of hypoxia. Some BOAS patients are also at risk of regurgitation and aspiration of gastric fluid.

Reflections on nutritional assessment: The Veterinary Nurse workshop 2014

Making nutritional recommendationsFollowing small group introductions (Figure 1), the workshop began with a review of nutritional assessment and discussion surrounding the importance of nutrition and deleterious effects of malnutrition. Appropriate food choices and feeding practices positively affect recovery and hospital outcome (Mohr et al, 2003; Brunetto et al, 2010; Liu et al, 2012) and are proven to extend life expectancy in dogs (Kealy et al, 2002). Nutritional assessment and intervention should therefore be considered an essential part of patient care and not simply an afterthought. Delegates were encouraged to reflect on their experiences of providing a nutritional recommendation and review the techniques that facilitated or impeded understanding and interpretation by pet owners. Reference to findings of the AAHA (2003) Compliance Study provided a valuable reminder that, while 90% of pet owners would like to receive a nutritional recommendation, only 15% perceive actually receiving one. Furthermore, despite recognition of clinical nutrition as a foundation of treatment, only 7% of pets that would benefit from a therapeutic diet reportedly received one. Such findings highlighted the importance of clear communication and steered the debate to consider the ways to increase client compliance following a nutritional recommendation (Figure 2).Figure 1.The workshop began with an introduction to nutrition and each other!Figure 2.The small group format of the workshop facilitated in-depth reflection and discussions of nutritional practice amongst delegates.

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