Volume 7 Issue 10

Being a reflective practitioner

I recently had the opportunity to mentor a colleague in how to provide good feedback to veterinary nursing students. The experience reminded me of when I had my teaching evaluated by a respected colleague. Her report about my teaching was pages long and at first I was shocked and afraid of what I might find when I read it. However, her feedback identified not just my weaknesses, but also my strengths and ways to improve. Even more valuable were her titbits of experience that she peppered throughout the report; I could see that she cared, and that she really knew what she was talking about. The way she presented her feedback let me know that her experiences were her own, that there were many ways of doing things, and that my ways were not bad. As I read the report, I felt empowered, even as she presented things that I could do better.

The medical management of a 2-year-old, neutered male cat presenting with haemorrhagic diarrhoea, anorexia and pyrexia

In early 2016, a 2-year-old, neutered male, domestic shorthaired cat was admitted to a first opinion veterinary surgery; presenting with haemorrhagic diarrhoea, anorexia and pyrexia. The patient was hospitalised for 4 days during which time an oesophageal feeding tube was placed. The nursing care focused on maintaining patient hygiene, monitoring key parameters, administering medication and supporting hydration and nutrition. The author's involvement included such care, assisting in the discharge appointment, and planning the home care for the patient. The concluding diagnosis by the presiding veterinary surgeon was thought to be viral enteritis, the symptoms of which took 3 to 4 weeks to resolve completely.

The use of ketamine peri-operatively as part of a multimodal analgesia regimen in dogs

The registered veterinary nurse (RVN) plays a crucial role in managing their patients' level of anaesthesia and analgesia, and must have a sound understanding of the different drugs commonly used in day to day anaesthetic protocols. Ketamine, as part of a low dose or sub-anaesthetic multimodal analgesia regimen, can be useful in facilitating the reduction of the amount of volatile agent needed and reduce the need for ‘rescue’ analgesics peri-operatively. Alleviating pain helps speed the recovery of patients by providing comfort and the relief of stress, helping to minimise the occurrence of wound complications. This article explains the pain process and how ketamine augments the overall analgesia and anaesthesia process, enabling a smoother anaesthetic with reduced side effects and what this means to the RVN.

Common poultry parasites of backyard hens

As the incidence of backyard hens being presented in practice increases, it is important that veterinary nurses can identify the commonly found poultry pests and know how best to advise owners on treatment and prevention. Untreated parasites (both external and internal) can result in debilitation and in some cases can cause death.

Canine insulinoma

Hypoglycaemia is commonly seen in veterinary emergency rooms and may be caused by a multitude of disease processes. Patients with hypoglycaemia may display symptoms of weakness, ataxia and in severe cases, seizures. Hypoglycaemia is often described when serum blood glucose levels fall below 3.5 mmol/litre. The veterinarian must rule out potential causes of hypoglycaemia including sepsis, hepatic disease, hypoadrenocorticism, insulin overdose, cancer and toxin exposure. If the patient is sub-clinical it is important to rule out a lab or sampling error and consider the possibility of an insulinoma. Although rare in canines, the triage nurse should be familiar with the complications that can arise when treating these patients. This article will discuss the aetiology and physiology of a disease that may be overlooked in a busy emergency room.

Antimicrobial drug resistance and antibiosis

Antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) poses a significant risk to human and animal health and the inappropriate use of antimicrobial drugs provides a selection pressure for its development. Rationalising and optimising their use in veterinary medicine is imperative. Antimicrobial stewardship is a strategy that can reduce the risk of resistance developing as it provides for careful and responsible management of antimicrobial drugs. It could form an integral part of a veterinary practice's policy on antimicrobial use. Development of an antimicrobial stewardship plan requires detailed knowledge of antimicrobial drugs, infectious agents and their likely resistance patterns, close collaboration with a microbiology service, and it can be informed by an antibiogram. This article discusses AMR, antibiosis and antimicrobial stewardship programmes.

How to manage intraosseous catheters in exotic species

Intraosseous catheterisation is commonly mentioned during veterinary nurse training, however it is rarely seen in general practice. Veterinary nurses should be considering this route of administration in debilitated small patients where vascular access is impossible, such as in small exotic pets. This article covers the risks and limitations of the placement of these catheters

Modelling compassionate veterinary nursing care – eight steps towards a more compassionate approach to patients, their owners and oneself

Organisational elements can have a major influence on the capacity to be compassionate, however there are also individual factors that affect this capacity and these are important to address. Being positive can have an effect on the individual and those most adept at compassion may have greater resilience in the healthcare setting. Nonetheless, the demands of frequent contact with patients and their owners who are suffering are generally considered to be a significant stressor that may, at times, limit ones capacity for compassion. This article will outline eight steps that veterinary nurses can seek to undertake daily to help facilitate compassionate behaviour towards themselves, their clients and their patients.

Canine anxiety conditions – are nutraceutical diets likely to help?

The wellbeing of dogs can be affected by a number of things including changes in human lifestyle, eating habits and increased stressors. Together these can lead to behavioural disorders such as fear, hyperactivity and anxiety. In the first study of its kind researchers in Italy looked at the effects of nutraceuticals in dogs with behavioural disorders comparing neuroendocrine blood parameters at the beginning and at the end of the study. A control group were fed a control diet. Claire Hargrave discusses the results of this interesting study.

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