Volume 5 Issue 6

PETS — closer to home

Most of us will now be well used to the new Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) regulations that came into force from 1 January 2012. But with the focus having been on the requirements for travel into the UK from EU or ‘listed’ non-EU countries, uncertainty has developed around which rules apply to which countries.

Complancency: a silent killer

Few things are as rewarding as being a teacher. Next year, it will be 10 years since I first entered into academic life, and nearly 25 years since I first started volunteering in practice as a high school student. It has always been my passion and I am honoured to be able to give back now as I teach future veterinary nurses.

Student veterinary surgeon support for and knowledge of veterinary nursing professional regulation in the UK

Objective:To investigate UK student veterinary surgeons’ knowledge of and support for the veterinary nursing profession and how this differs between veterinary institutions.Methods:Data were examined from a quantitative questionnaire, sent to the population of final year veterinary students at each of the seven veterinary institutions in the UK.Results:An association was found between respondents attending a university offering a veterinary nursing degree and increased support for the veterinary nursing profession (p=0.016), this however did not influence respondents knowledge of the veterinary nursing profession. No statistical correlation was found between the university a respondent attended and respondents’ knowledge of and support for the veterinary nursing profession.Conclusion:Results demonstrated that final year veterinary students supported the veterinary nursing profession and veterinary student knowledge of the veterinary nursing profession was evenly distributed amongst the student veterinary surgeon population. Veterinary students attending universities which also offered veterinary nursing courses showed increased support for the veterinary nursing profession.

Monitoring anaesthetics in exotics

Anaesthetic death rate is higher in exotic patients than in dogs and cats. Unfamiliarity with monitoring and inability to intubate are frequently cited reasons for higher death rate. Ability to hide signs of illness, and fewer healthy, elective aneasthetic procedures likely influence death rate as well. Direct vascular support can be challenging. For some patients, small size or unique anatomic features present unique challenges. Sophisticated monitoring equipment (e.g. capnographs, blood pressure monitors) designed for canine/feline use must often be adapted for exotic patients, and is more likely to fail when used in exotic patients. For this reason, the anaesthetist must develop a plan for addressing equipment failure, and have a backup monitoring device ready, if applicable. Anecdotally, it appears that changes in respiratory and cardiovascular parameters may occur more rapidly than in canine and feline patients. While careful patient preparation and monitoring are important for any anaesthetic patient, particular attention to detail may help improve anaesthetic survival rate in exotic species.

The role of the RVN in treating dystocia in mares

Delivering high quality and appropriate care to patients is central to the role of the registered veterinary nurse (RVN). With the recent changes to the regulation of all RVNs, awareness of responsibility to care for patients to an extremely high standard is required. Horses are different to small animals as they are only designed to carry and produce one offspring at a time. For this reason equine specific knowledge is required for any RVN wanting to nurse mares during and after parturition. This article will discuss the evidence-based information available for uterine torsion, fetal maldispositions and retained fetal membranes in the mare. The incidence, aetiology and pathophysiology will be discussed as well as the general and condition-specific nursing interventions.

The impact of pet loss: an update on the research and evidence-based ways to help grieving clients

Grief on an animal's death is a normal reaction. However, although some support resources are available, including counsellors, helplines and online fora, there is little collective societal understanding of pet owners’ grief. In addition to personal and situational factors (e.g. age, coping style, how the animal died) that may shape or complicate clients’ grief, it may be compounded by guilt and the incomprehension of those around them. Thus, while most bereaved owners can adapt to life without their animal companion, many suffer unnecessarily in the process. Research continues on the complexities of grief for animals, but we still lack evidence for the most effective approaches to supporting bereaved clients. A pragmatic approach would follow the guidelines on human bereavement, using staff training and client-care resources so that: veterinary personnel did not make assumptions about the needs of grieving clients; and all newly bereaved owners received information about diverse support resources before their animals died or at the time of death. This article outlines some of the more recent research pertinent to pet owners’ grief. It also highlights evidence-based approaches to bridging the grief support gap with clients.

How to preserve quality of life in the ageing canine: in-home modification and nutritional supplements

Members of the veterinary practice team are likely to have been involved in conversations about the quality of life (QoL) of a companion animal. Such conversations occur frequently in veterinary practice and may lead to treatment decisions, non-treatment decisions, or even the decision to perform euthanasia. QoL discussions amongst veterinary personnel often centre around a similar goal and understanding of preventing suffering and preserving animal welfare, however when such discussions occur with clients it can be difficult to ascertain whether the client has an equal or similar understanding of the QoL of their pet. The aim of this article is to define QoL and discuss ways in which it may be determined and practically managed in the ageing canine.

Oral radiography in cats and dogs

Oral radiography is a very important tool in veterinary medicine, however it is a widely underused and neglected commodity. The importance of its role in the optimal treatment of animals with oral and maxillofacial conditions, including trauma and oncology cases, cannot be emphasised enough. A significant proportion of the pathological changes associated with oral disease processes are invisible to the naked eye as the tooth roots and alveolar bone are located subgingivally, therefore oral radiography is essential to facilitate a thorough assessment of their health and to identify underlying disease. Any practice admitting animals for ‘dentals’ are encouraged to invest in the equipment and training required to obtain diagnostic oral radiographs to enhance their treatment of these cases; this will be of benefit to the veterinary professionals involved with treating the animals, the clients and ultimately the patients.

The chubby bunny: a closer look at obesity in the pet rabbit

The effects of obesity on the health of cats and dogs are well recognised and obese rabbits are susceptible to many of the same problems. There are, however, some conditions related to obesity that are more rabbit specific. This article looks at the deleterious effects of obesity specific to the health of rabbits and how to identify, prevent and manage cases of obesity in this species.

Erratum: Williams et al (2013) A preliminary evaluation of surface electromyography as a tool to measure muscle fatigue in the National Hunt racehorse

Method: evaluation of mean amplitude frequency (Hz) between runs and to trainer perceived fitness levelFollowing application of the inbuilt Delsys’ filter to remove noise, initially the mean and median amplitude frequencies of the remaining signal were calculated via EMG Works™. Each of these parameters are considered valuable in the detection of fatigue, but as they are highly correlated, only one is required to assess fatigue changes (Kamen and Gabriel, 2010). Mean frequency was selected for analysis; a consistent decrease in mean frequency implies a reduction in muscle workload corresponding to fatigue (Hanon et al, 2005). Therefore the mEMGF for individual horses were calculated and were plotted over time at 0.125 s intervals with 0.0625 window overlap, for each piece of canter work to visually assess fitness and fatigue levels for the duration of the training periods that were recorded.

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