Volume 7 Issue 7


I have recently started to Tweet and I have to say that although reluctant at first I have started to rather enjoy it. As a form of communication it can be what you want it to be — a way of getting information from people you respect, a mode of exchanging witty banter with friends, or a way of following stories as they develop. One thing that has particularly struck me is the number of dogs and cats that are lost or stolen — I know, of course, that this is in part a reflection of who I am following, but still every day a handful of lost dogs and cats appear, far more than the numbers of soft toys or wallets.

A questionnaire based study to assess compassion fatigue in UK practising veterinary nurses

Background:Veterinary staff have been identified as a profession at high risk of suffering from the effects of compassion fatigue (CF), although no specific studies have been carried out to date to assess the risk to UK registered veterinary nurses (RVNs), of this important area of mental health.Aims and objectives:To establish whether CF was a risk factor to RVNs, with the aim of improving mental wellbeing across the veterinary profession as a whole.Methods:An internet-based survey was produced, open to all RVNs who had worked in practice within the last 30 days, using a version of the Professional Quality of Life Scale V (ProQOL). The survey was promoted through various means including social media, an email campaign of veterinary practices and an internet link promoted through veterinary nurse (VN) training colleges.Results:A total of 992 eligible responses were received; 92.8% of respondents were identified as being at moderate/high risk of burnout, with 68.1% of respondents being at moderate/high risk of secondary traumatic stress (STS). Levels of burnout and STS were statistically lower in those experiencing high levels of compassion satisfaction (CS).Conclusion:The statistical analysis performed showed that RVNs are at risk of suffering from CF. The study revealed that working as an RVN posed a risk to mental health in the form of CF. The preventative effect of CS was statistically significant therefore employers should strive to ensure their workers achieve satisfaction in their work to help maintain a mentally healthy workforce.

Skin conditions related to diet

Skin conditions in dogs and cats can be caused by nutritional deficiency or due to adverse reactions to food. The most common deficiencies are to zinc, vitamin A and polyunsaturated acids. Adverse reactions may be due to toxins within the diet or due to immunological or allergic reactions to the food.

A compassionate journey part 1: preparing for and nearing end-of-life

Client attrition is high following pet loss. The reasons are multifactorial, but are influenced by the communication and management of the client during the period of the pet's passing. Providing exceptional client care around this time has a positive effect on the owner-practice relationship. The close bond between owners and their pets means this is a very sensitive time. The lack of societal acknowledgment of the importance of pet loss to the owner can result in disenfranchised grief. Engaging with the client proactively with a pet nearing its death can help to validate the owner's feelings. Research shows that pet owners would like this engagement to start earlier than is commonly done, so that they are prepared emotionally and practically for what is to happen. The veterinary nurse can play a very important role in end-of-life. Quality of life assessment, ideally started early when the pet is well, provides useful benchmarking of the health and wellbeing of the pet, and allows a gentle and valid reason for the veterinary professional to bring up the subject of death when the pet is nearing end-of-life.

Flea and fly bite hypersensitivity: what every nurse needs to know

Fleas are the most important ectoparasites of dogs and cats worldwide. The annual cost to control fleas in companion animals exceeds $1 billion in the USA and €1.1 billion in Western Europe. As well as acting as vectors of disease, and a source of owner revulsion and bite reactions, they are also the most common causes of allergic dermatitis in cats and dogs. Similarly, biting flies are a major source of allergic skin disease in horses. An allergy is an exacerbated response from an individual when it comes into contact with foreign substances (allergens) such as flea and fly saliva. This article considers mechanisms of flea and fly bite sensitivity, diagnosis, and the role of the veterinary nurse in the prevention of these diseases.

How to manage pain in the dental patient

IntroductionPain in dental and oral surgery patients is of great concern to veterinary practitioners as there is an excellent nervous supply to the pulps of all teeth, as well as the supporting hard and soft tissues. Surgery involving these tissues, as with any other tissues in the body, will inevitably stimulate and activate the pain pathways, which can lead to sensitisation, hyperalgesia, secondary hyperalgesia and delayed wound healing to name but a few of the negative consequences of pain. It is the responsibility of all veterinary professionals to recognise when an animal is in pain, or when pain is likely to be caused, and formulate an appropriate pain management plan which is carefully implemented and evaluated. This article will recap the pathophysiology of pain and consider the concepts of pre-emptive and multimodal analgesia, before outlining some of the pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions available for pain management in dental patients.

Anaesthesia for the patient with hypovolaemia resulting from acute blood loss

Patients will often present to the veterinary practice in a hypovolaemic state secondary to haemorrhage, and are at an increased anaesthetic risk owing to multiple physiological changes and/or injuries. This article discusses the main concerns associated with anaesthetising the hypovolaemic patient. It looks at patient assessment and preparation, the considerations that need to be made when designing an anaesthesia and analgesia plan, and the importance of excellent post anaesthetic monitoring.

The veterinary nurse's role in recognition and management of pain in rabbits

This article focuses on pain management in rabbits, how staff and owners can better recognise it, and to what extent it can be prevented. Rabbits are a prey species and therefore hide any signs of weakness, it can also be difficult to determine between anxiety and pain. A review of literary evidence will discuss in what areas practices can ensure species specific care and recommended analgesia protocols, concluding with how veterinary nurses can be at the forefront of improving both practice and client education.

Research sheds new light on laminitis risk factors

New research suggests we may soon be able to better identify horses at greater risk of developing pasture-associated laminitis, not only by looking at breed type, body condition score and associated higher risk environments, but also by checking hormone and insulin levels.

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