Volume 6 Issue 7

We can all make a difference

Pinned to the bulletin board next to my desk is an old photo that I just rediscovered in a dusty shoe box at the bottom of the closet. The photo is a portrait of my entire veterinary technology class back in the mid 90s. We all look full of drive and enthusiasm, excited to go out and make our mark on the profession. If you'd asked me back then where I saw myself in 20 years, I'd never have guessed I'd be here now. Time really does fly and it's interesting to look back on how my career has adapted and changed over the years.

A comparison of the v-gel® supraglottic airway device and non-cuffed endotracheal tube in the time to first capnograph trace during anaesthetic induction in rabbits

Background:Rabbit anaesthesia can be a daunting prospect for many veterinary professionals. Their intubation can be difficult; because of this many rabbits are not intubated during major surgery.Aim:To compare two methods of rabbit intubation and evaluate which achieved a reliable airway in the least time. This will in turn hopefully encourage veterinary nurses to take a more proactive role in rabbit anaesthesia.Materials and methods:Eight rabbits that were admitted for elective neutering were randomly assigned either an endotracheal tube or a v-gel®. Using capnography the ease and success rate of intubation was assessed.Results:The time taken to intubate a rabbit in the v-gel group was quicker than using an endotracheal tube.Conclusion:The v-gel proved to be a reliable method to intubate a rabbit, reducing the risk of trauma to the patient.

Anaesthesia of cats and dogs with cardiac disorders: the veterinary nurse's role

Cardiac disorders can have a significant effect on the patient's physiology under anaesthesia. These effects will differ depending on the exact nature of the heart disease diagnosed, and also on the severity and stability of the condition. Specific drug types will be selected on an individual case basis by the veterinary surgeon as no one drug is ideal for all cases and scenarios. As veterinary nurses it is important to understand the nature of common heart diseases and disorders, recognise the potential adverse events that may be exacerbated by the condition and understand the effects of the drugs selected on the cardiovascular system.

How can you tell when a fish is sick?

Early detection of ill-health in fish is key to successful outcome. Fish show a range of clinical signs of disease, though most are rarely pathognomonic. This article explains the reasons for the physical and behavioural changes, providing the observer with a list of differential diagnoses.

How to take blood pressure in a conscious cat

Obtaining non-invasive blood pressure measurements in conscious cats is a challenging experience, as most veterinary nurses will be able to testify. However, a standardised process is important, to ensure accuracy and repeatability so that cats can be identified and treated appropriately. Hypertension can be of primary or secondary origin, but is commonly associated with diseases that are seen in practice, such as chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus. Clinical signs of hypertension include what is known as target organ damage that can be seen in ocular, renal, cardiac or neurological changes. This practical article will demonstrate possible methods of obtaining blood pressure in conscious cats.

Wound healing and dressings: the role of RemendTM

Wounds are commonly encountered within veterinary practice, and in order to deal with them effectively it is essential to have a good understanding of the wound healing process, which is often complex. A large number of wound dressings are available for the management of open wounds, but very few actually contain products which are naturally occurring in the wound itself. Hyaluronan is one such molecule; it is a disaccharide polymer and is found in variable lengths, depending on its location within the body. It gives structure to the wound during the inflammatory phase of wound healing, and also acts as a space-filler in granulation tissue, in addition to encouraging fibroblast migration and collagen production. Hyaluronan has been incorporated into a wound spray, Remend™, which has been developed to enhance wound healing, and to promote rapid wound closure in a variety of animal species.

Lyme disease: a growing UK threat?

Lyme disease, caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi remains the primary tick borne pathogen affecting dogs and people in the UK. Human cases are increasing year by year and dogs have been found to be carrying ticks infected with B.burgdorferi. This article reviews the epidemiology of Lyme disease in the UK, zoonotic risk, diagnosis and treatment. It also discusses practical disease prevention and the role of veterinary nurses in advising pet owners in this respect.

Desensitisation and counterconditioning — not a task for the enthusiastic amateur!

Many companion animals find it difficult to cope with the social and physical stimuli that they encounter in their domestic environment. Some of these animals will develop behaviours intended to enhance their attempts to cope in such environments. In many cases these behaviours fail to meet the owner's expectations of acceptability and advice is sought to address their companion animal's behaviour. Too often, owner attempts at altering pet behaviour concentrate on preventing the animal from engaging in the behaviour that causes problems for the owner, furthering the animal's welfare problem. However, owners that seek help from their veterinary practice can expect to receive advice that assists in removing the animal's underlying motivation to initiate the problem behaviour — thereby not only resolving the problem for the owner, but also improving the welfare of the pet. As many behaviour problems reported to (and experienced within) a veterinary practice involve fears and phobias, this article discusses how desensitisation and counter-conditioning can be used to address such issues.

MRSA in veterinary practice and the need for infection control link nurses

Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a pathogen of significance to both veterinary and human health sectors. Acquisition of MRSA is associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality and is endemic in healthcare facilities across the globe. Emerging evidence is suggestive that companion animals act as reservoirs of disease when living with infected owners. Additionally, veterinary staff are now identified as high risk groups for MRSA carriage, raising concerns about the degree of antibiotic resistance in small animal medicine. Infection control link nurses have been utilised in the human healthcare industry to assist with MRSA reduction and their role could be modified for use within the veterinary industry.

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