Volume 5 Issue 3

Can we advocate for humane death while also allowing for religious freedom?

Euthanasia is a complex subject, and it could be argued that our profession is fortunate to have such a valuable tool at our disposal to help prevent animal suffering. Most of us would agree that euthanasia should be used only when absolutely necessary; however, sometimes we are called on to end the life of a healthy animal and when these situations occur, the least we can do is to ensure death is humane and painless.

The National Equine Health Survey

Gemma Taylor, Education Officer at Blue Cross, reminds all those involved with horses and ponies to sign up to the National Equine Health Survey during 18-24 May this year.

Why social media should be part of every practice's toolkit

Social media is changing the way people communicate. It is also transforming the way people shop, and subsequently is changing the way businesses are marketing themselves. The new age of digitally literate consumers has shifted interest away from traditional advertising yet the evidence shows that consumers do not fully trust online advertising so social media bridge the gap, providing consumers with what they want, how they want it and where they want it. Now, consumers are embracing brands on social media and choosing to follow those that have engaging personal and timely content. Even professional businesses are rising to the challenge and seeing a dramatic uptake in brand advocacy through their social media profiles. But, is social media appropriate for veterinary practices? This article looks at the drivers for change toward social media marketing, discusses why social media is here to stay and explains how social media can be one of the most valuable tools for both small and large veterinary practices in terms of developing a loyal client base and providing service to the wider pet-keeping community.

Endodontics in dogs and cats

The term endodontic refers to the inside of the tooth, so endodontic treatment encompasses all procedures involving the endodontic tissues, predominantly the pulp. Endodontic treatment is typically performed on strategic teeth within the oral cavity such as the canines and large posterior teeth, which have pulpal and some periapical pathology; it facilitates their retention rather than their extraction. Endodontic treatment should always be offered to clients as an option for their pets in appropriate cases, so they can make a fully informed decision about the fate of the affected dentition. Having considered all of the options they may not want to opt for extraction if there is an alternative treatment available. Endodontic treatment should be performed by veterinary surgeons (VS) with a specialist interest in veterinary oral and maxillofacial surgery for a number of reasons: they are in the best position to assess the tooth and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan; in most circumstances they will have a specialist veterinary nurse (VN) working alongside them which will make the procedure more efficient; and they will have the specialist equipment available to perform the procedures, and know how to use it. This article aims to recap the endodontic anatomy of a tooth before discussing the main endodontic treatment available for adult teeth, which is root canal therapy (RCT). It will consider indications for RCT, an overview of the procedure and a discussion of the potential complications and implications of treatment, before discussing the role of the VN in endodontics.

In-home hospice provision — a viable option for veterinary palliative care?

Veterinary hospice care has developed significantly in the US as a practice involving a multidisciplinary team and a variety of settings. A dedicated veterinary practice hospice facility, while possible, will place huge demands on most practices, therefore in-home hospice care may be a more viable option for a veterinary practice wishing to extend its range of services, and a more appealing option for a pet owner facing the impending loss of their treasured companion.

How to run a puppy party: social saviour or social demon?

A previous article (Hargrave 2013) discussed some of the predisposing factors that may make it difficult for a puppy's emotional and behavioural repertoire to develop as their owner may expect, potentially leading to puppies failing to cope in the domestic environment and developing compensating, undesirable behaviours that lead to early difficulties in the human–animal bond. Such puppies and their families require vigilance on the part of the veterinary team to spot them early and to enable the initiation of support. This article develops the theme by suggesting a comprehensive package of support that practices, possibly in cooperation with appropriately qualified trainers, may offer puppies during practice-led puppy classes. Such support packages should help puppies, both with or without extra challenging predispositions, to cope with the physical and social complexity and frustrations of co-existence with humans in a domestic environment. Due to the increasing environmental challenges met by young dogs and the growing sensitivity of the general public to dogs that exhibit behaviours associated with a lack of environmental competency, such preventative behavioural support should be as much a basic of practice welfare policy as preventative puppy vaccinations.

Constant rate infusions — a veterinary nurse's guide

Constant rate infusions (CRIs) are ever more commonly used in veterinary anaesthesia and critical care. Veterinary nurses are often required to set up, administer and monitor infusions. Understanding the mechanics of CRIs, as well as the pharmacology of individual drugs is vital for a veterinary nurse working on such cases. Uses for CRIs during anaesthesia can broadly be divided in to three areas: partial intravenous anaesthesia (PIVA); total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA); and second line treatment for hypotension. Drugs used in CRIs include opioids, sedatives, and catecholamines; commonly used drugs are discussed including benefits and contraindications.

Decontamination of cats and dogs with suspected poisoning

Decontamination in an animal with suspected poisoning is used to remove the substance, reduce absorption and decrease the severity of poisoning. Various methods are used depending on the substance involved, the time since ingestion, the clinical condition of the animal, the availability of any drugs to be used and the experience of staff. This article discusses dermal, ocular and gastrointestinal decontamination looking at the various options, contraindications and practicalities of decontamination in cats and dogs.

Nursing the feline hyperthyroid patient

Hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrinopathy in middle aged to older cats. Dogs and cats are affected very differently by this disease. This article will focus on feline hyperthyroidism.The disorder is characterised by excess production and circulation of active thyroid hormones in almost all cats. These hormones induce a hypermetabolic state, with clinical signs such as weight loss despite increased appetite, and muscle wasting. Other common signs include palpable thyroid gland, diarrhoea, vomiting, tachycardia, hyperthermia, restlessness, and behavioural changes.Thyroxine (total T4 (TT4) ) is the hormone test used to diagnose feline hyperthyroidism. However, since a high metabolic rate can mask other diseases a range of diagnostic tests are necessary for a thorough assessment of the patient.The recommended treatment approach is to first establish euthyroidism by the use of oral anti-thyroid drugs, such as methimazole. Surgery or radioiodine therapy can be considered for definitive, long-term control if renal function remains adequate following re-establishment of euthyroidism.

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