Volume 7 Issue 4

Creating pathways with positive changes

When I qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2002, I remember being over whelmed with excitement, confidence and passion for my new profession. I would like to hope, and believe, that veterinary nurses are seen a little bit differently now than they were back then, with respect to autonomy and with the changes in how the profession is regulated. If someone had told me at the time of receiving my badge and certificate: ‘you are now responsible for your nursing actions’ I think I would have been tempted to hand my badge straight back along with my certificate!

Nursing a canine patient with a pneumothorax — a patient care report

This article will describe and evaluate the nursing care provided for a canine patient that had a chest drain in place due to a tension pneumothorax. It is evident that nursing a patient with a chest drain involves implementing and carrying out a number of nursing interventions to ensure a high standard of nursing care is maintained and to reduce the risk of any complications. The relevant nursing interventions included: pain management, management of the chest drain, preventing patient interference and observation of the patient for potential complications associated with the chest drain. Recommendations for future practice have been suggested and based on available literature, these include: implementation of a pain scoring assessment and changing the patient's thoracic bandage twice daily to allow earlier recognition of any signs of infection.

How to use and maintain anaesthesia monitors

Carefully monitoring an anaesthetised patient is vital to maintaining the patient's wellbeing, and ensuring a patient's return to the same or improved physiological state that they were in prior to being anaesthetised. Although no monitor can be a substitute for a trained and attentive anaesthetist, mechanical monitors do provide information that the anaesthetist cannot know otherwise. The availability of different modes of mechanical monitors has increased for veterinary practices over recent years, and this can mean several pieces of equipment are required to be correctly set up for a single patient's anaesthetic. If monitoring equipment is not correctly used and maintained, it can become at best a waste of resources, and at worst, a risk in itself by distracting the anaesthetist from the job in hand. A lack of understanding about equipment use can also make the task of instrumenting an anaesthetised patient overwhelming, and lead to underuse of valuable resources.This article discusses how to appropriately attach commonly used monitoring modalities to a patient to ensure their best results and patient safety. It will not discuss their use further or interpretation.

Acromegaly in cats

Acromegaly is the term used in human medicine to describe a condition resulting from chronic excessive growth hormone (GH) secretion. The term hypersomatotropism (HST) rather than acromegaly may be appropriate when describing the condition resulting from chronic excessive GH secretion in cats because growth hormone-induced soft tissue and bone enlargement is more difficult to identify in adult cats. GH affects nearly every tissue in the body and predominantly causes increased protein synthesis and growth. GH is also a potent insulin antagonist and almost all acromegalic cats have concurrent diabetes mellitus. The estimated prevalence of acromegaly in cats in the UK is between 1 in 800 to 1 in 1000. The veterinary nurse plays a key role in educating owners about acromegaly and the management of affected cats. This article describes the pathophysiology and diagnosis of acromegaly in cats and what treatment options are currently available.

CPR: advanced life support

Cardiopulmonary arrest is an emergency situation which can present to any veterinary clinic at any time. The RECOVER guidelines (2012) are an evidence-based consensus for current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) recommendations for veterinary patients. Basic life support (BLS) includes circulation, airway and breathing. Advanced life support measures involve the administration of emergency drug therapy and cardiorespiratory monitoring. Alternative drug therapies may be beneficial such as electrolyte supplementation or drug antagonist administration. Both electrocardiogram (ECG) and end tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) monitoring are recommended during CPR efforts and the veterinary nurse will play a vital role in ensuring that trends are observed. Debriefing is an important part of any CPR event so that the team can critique one another and improve performance in the future.

Stranger danger: the importance and perils of companionship in rabbits

A rabbit's need for companionship is an important element of their welfare and husbandry. Increasingly, this fact is being recognised in both the laboratory and commercial settings and legislation and guidelines have been developed to enhance a rabbits social contact with members of their own species. Sadly, the social needs of pet rabbits are often not being met by owners. This may be through lack of education on the importance of companionship to their pets or through a lack of knowledge on how to introduce members of this territorial species together. The following article discusses the importance of social housing for rabbits and ways in which introductions can be made to reduce the likelihood of fighting.

Maintaining quality of life for deaf and blind dogs

Sensory loss is most common, and perhaps most debilitating, in the optical and auditory systems, and may occur congenitally or as a result of illness or trauma. How well a dog adjusts to the loss will depend on the speed of onset, the severity of the loss and the individual temperament of the dog. Owners may also find their dog's disability emotionally distressing or challenging to manage. As diagnosis of sensory loss and treatment of associated conditions generally occurs in the veterinary surgery, the practice team is ideally placed to help both dogs and their owners adjust to this change. Adaptations may include maintaining a consistent environment and utilising the remaining senses to enable stress free navigation, modification of methods of communication to preserve the client–pet relationship, and training commands that enable owners to guide their dog. Alterations to exercise routines and provision of appropriate outlets for natural drives can ensure ongoing quality of life. Directing clients to web resources and support groups can also provide inspiration and maintain morale through shared experience.

The history of microchips and how legislation has progressed

Since microchipping was first introduced over 30 years ago much has progressed with respect to owner education and legislation, and earlier this year microchipping became compulsory for all dogs in the UK. Celia Walsom looks back over the history of the microchip from the time its importance in identification was first recognised to the present day.

Book Reviews

When I was first asked to review this book I jumped at the chance because it is closely aligned with the skills I require in my current job. I expected to be able to use the book to brush up on the skill sets I require for advising a client whether a veterinary appointment is needed or not. When the book arrived I was pleasantly surprised.

Keep up to date with The Veterinary Nurse!

Sign up to The Veterinary Nurse's regular newsletters and keep up-to-date with the very latest clinical research and CPD we publish each month.