Volume 5 Issue 4

Responsible pet ownership, microchips and the veterinary nursing profession

As an Australian veterinarian, I have read with interest the article in this edition regarding the impending introduction of compulsory microchipping of dogs in the United Kingdom. Legislation providing for compulsory microchipping of dogs and cats was first introduced in Australia in 1998. In my home state of Queensland, compulsory microchipping was legislated in 2008 aiming to permanently identify dogs and cats, effectively manage regulated or dangerous dogs and to foster responsible pet ownership. Veterinarians and veterinary nurses would be the largest group of microchip implanters authorised under Australian legislation. Accompanying this responsibility, veterinary nurses are placed in an ideal position to be advocates for responsible pet ownership educating clients about the value of making a lifelong commitment to maintaining their pet's microchip status and emphasising the importance of microchips in reuniting a lost pet with its owner.

Microchips, contact details and the veterinary nurse

Recent data obtained at this year's BSAVA congress have indicated that 55% of veterinary nurses believe that pet owners are unaware of the responsibility they have to keep their pet's microchip contact details up to date. Celia Walsom discusses the issues.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in veterinary practice part 1: why they do what they do

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are extensively used in veterinary practice for the management of both acute and chronic pain. While they are generally fairly effective analgesics, they also have a spectrum of potential side effects ranging from mild to life threatening. This article — the first in a series of two — will discuss how the pharmacology of these agents produces their therapeutic effects, while the second article will expand on their side effects and contraindications.

How to implement and manage a weight loss plan

Obesity is one of the most common health problems in companion animals, with almost half of dogs and cats being overweight or obese. Veterinary nurses should be prepared that pet owners may not know or understand what optimal weight is in their pets, as well as the serious health consequences of obesity. The approach to a successful weight management programme includes assessing the pet, family, and environment, selecting an appropriate diet for each individual pet's needs and preferences, determining and initiating appropriate calorie restriction, incorporating physical activity if possible, and most importantly, tailoring the plan to the pet and pet owners to increase adherence. Understanding weight loss in the broader context of human–animal relationships allows veterinary staff to effectively develop and support successful treatment plans.

An evidence-based approach to infection control in the operating theatre

The aim of operating theatre infection control is to minimise risk of surgical site infections (SSIs). The emergence of multi resistant micro-organisms and the increased awareness of appropriate antibiotic use have made the process of theatre infection control and its evidence base ever more relevant. Many theatre practices are widely accepted as ‘common sense’ measures and have become ‘ritualistic’ behaviours. However some practices have little, weak or inconclusive evidence to substantiate them. The multifactorial nature of SSIs means that no single measure is likely to completely eradicate risk and currently the exact nature of the raft of measures necessary requires further investigation. Hand disinfection of the operating team prior to surgery, wearing of sterile surgical gloves by ‘scrubbed’ personnel and disinfection of the surgical site have a strong evidence base and should be mandatory practices however the exact processes require a stronger evidence base. It is likely that the practice of wearing theatre ‘uniforms’ contributes to theatre discipline via behavioural attitudes rather than by specific SSI risk reduction. Future research in this area is also likely to further evaluate the growing evidence base in support of the use of triclosan-coated suture material to possibly reduce SSI.

Neuromuscular blocking agents — what does a nurse need to know?

The need for clarification of what is relevant to nurses is required in order for the veterinary nurse to be able to proceed with involvement of patients using neuromuscular blocking agents (NBAs). Available veterinary literature provides information that nurses do not necessarily require, such as the pharmacological compounds of NBAs and ultimately most do not focus on the nursing side of using NBAs, such as ventilation requirements, heating aids and monitoring equipment required. This article highlights what nurses are required to be aware of when participating in NBA use, providing a condensed nursing perspective.

Update on Echinococcus multilocularis with particular emphasis on its impact on humans

The range of Echinococcus multilocularis has extended over the past 4 years, effectively removing the ‘buffer zone’ of land between the channel coast and the western-most edge of its endemic area. This means that pet owners taking their dogs and cats across the channel should consider treating their dogs or cats at monthly intervals with a suitable cestocide containing praziquantel or equivalent if there is any chance of the pet having access to rodents. The role of cats as significant producers of eggs is markedly less than that of foxes or dogs. However the role of the cat as a source of infection within the domestic environment is less well defined.Infection of humans has a lag time of between 5 and 15 years before clinical signs are seen, thus it will be some time before the scale of zoonotic infections is known from the areas where the infection has now spread to. Diagnosis in humans relies on serology, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans to detect characteristic cystic lesions normally in the liver. Cure is most likely to be achieved if resection of the entire lesion is possible. Long-term benzimidazole treatment is normally administered to ensure control.In addition to regular cestocidal treatment of dogs and cats, cleanliness measures including hand washing before eating and wearing gloves when gardening can help with preventing human infection.

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