Volume 6 Issue 5

A call to action

In what is certainly a defining move for the veterinary nursing profession, the Veterinary Nurses Bill for protection of title in the UK was presented to the House of Lords with the first reading taking place on 10 June. If the Bill succeeds, only those who have rightfully earned the title will be able to declare that they are a veterinary nurse. Protection of title is important not just for animal safety but it also protects the public which is just as vulnerable to the negligence or misconduct of unqualified personnel. It is also an achievement that solidifies our professionalism as a whole and validates the important role that we have in society.

Troubled horses need exceptional homes

Vicki Alford, Horse Unit Manager at Blue Cross Rehoming Centre in Burford explains why the pet charity has an influx of troubled horses that need extra special homes.

History taking and diagnosis in cases of feline house soiling

House soiling problems (defined simply as the deposition of urine and/or faeces in unacceptable places from a human perspective) are one of the most common reasons for owners to sense a breakdown in their relationship with their pet and seek professional advice. The behaviour is distressing from a human perspective but is also a sign that all is not well for the cat. There are a number of potential causes of house soiling behaviour and the most important part of investigating these cases is to establish the underlying motivation. The four important differential diagnoses are: medical aetiology (other than feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC)); FIC; marking (using urine and/or faeces as a communication tool) — most commonly urine spraying; elimination (physiological deposition of urine and/or faeces) — related to primary social and environmental factors.

How to set up for intravenous fluid therapy

IntroductionThe use of intravenous fluid therapy (IVFT) is common in veterinary practice as there are many different types of patients requiring cardiovascular support. These patients include those with medical conditions, those being anaesthetised for surgery, and emergency patients. While fluid selection and administration rates are the remit of the veterinary surgeon (VS), registered veterinary nurses (RVN) are primarily responsible for pre-infusion blood sampling and testing, preparing infusions, obtaining intravenous access, administering the infusion and monitoring the patient's progress. This article will outline the indications for IVFT, discuss initial patient assessment, fluid selection and goals associated with fluid administration, before considering the preparation and administration of infusions, and subsequent patient monitoring.

Perioperative hypothermia and surgical site infections part 2

Perioperative hypothermia has been identified as an infection risk factor in human literature, however, literature from veterinary counterparts is conflicting. Registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) should always strive to provide the gold standard of care to their patients including when under anaesthesia and in the operating theatre. This can include looking at available evidence for standards of care, in this instance how best to maintain normothermia during the perioperative period.Part one of this series discussed the studies that show the evidence for perioperative hypothermia and its links to surgical site infections (SSIs). This second part of the series explores various methods available to maintain normothermia in the perioperative stage, looking at their effectiveness and how practical they are to RVNs in practice.

Biology, diagnosis and management of sarcoptic mange

Scabies (also known as sarcoptic mange) is a common, highly contagious skin disease in animals and humans. It is caused by the ectoparasitic burrowing mite Sarcoptes scabiei (family: Sarcoptidae), which has a worldwide distribution. Animals and humans can be infested by their own S. scabiei subtype; however crossspecies transmission may occur. The socioeconomic and public health importance of scabies is significant. The disease occurs when the mite burrows into the skin and feeds on host epidermis. Disease manifestations are mediated via inflammatory and allergic responses to mite products, which result in severely pruritic lesions. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is essential to minimise the spread of infestation. Veterinary nurses have a vital role to play in early recognition, diagnosis and for providing owners with accurate accessible advice to prevent zoonotic transmission. This article summarises the latest data on the biology, diagnosis and control of scabies.

To spay or not to spay: the nurse's role in owner education

Veterinary nurses are directly involved with providing advice and gaining informed consent for ovariohysterectomy in bitches. In order to allow them to provide accurate information regarding this common procedure it is vital they fully understand the potential advantages and disadvantages regarding the procedure. It is very easy for clients to gain information, often inaccurate, from internet sources so in order to be able to provide correct evidence-based information, and therefore gain the confidence of the client, it is vital nurses fully understand the implications of any surgery for which they are gaining consent. Veterinary nurses are accountable for their actions and in order to comply with the code of conduct they must ensure that clients have a full understanding of procedures for which they are consenting.

Tackling antibiotic resistance in veterinary practice: a team approach

Antibiotic resistance is a major problem in veterinary and human medicine and is still on the increase. It's essential that veterinary practitioners understand the problem and its causes in order to counter it most effectively. Any such response will be most effectual if all members of the veterinary, and medical, team share responsibility and work constructively within their designated roles to combat areas where there is the potential for antibiotic resistance to develop. In particular, veterinary nurses and technicians need to focus on educating their clients, updating and implementing clinic protocols, and adhering to high standards of clinic hygiene. Time is also of the essence in tackling antibiotic resistance: the longer the delay in taking action to prevent it, the harder it will be to combat in the long run, with major health risks becoming associated with relatively minor illnesses or procedures and the inability to treat serious infections with current antibiotics.

Cognitive dysfunction in older dogs and cats: the role of the veterinary nurse in screening

Cognitive dysfunction is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. It affects 14.2% of older dogs over 8 years of age. In cats, 28% aged 11 to 14 years develop one geriatric-onset behaviour problem. This increases to over 50% in cats 15 years of age and older. Detection of cognitive dysfunction in cats and dogs is by observation of clinical behavioural signs, often thought to be a normal part of ageing. Early recognition is crucial. Signs detected early are treatable or temporarily reversible.This literature review focused on areas the veterinary nurse could influence in practice such as detection of behavioural signs and advice on diet, behaviour management and enrichment.Results showed dietary and nutritional supplements as well as behavioural and environmental enrichment alongside medication can slow progression of cognitive dysfunction predominately in dogs. Regular screening of older pets and education of owners by veterinary nurses can help with early detection and referral to a veterinary surgeon. Future research should focus on further development of standardised, validated screening tools and management protocols.

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