Volume 7 Issue 9

Survival of the fittest?

I expect that many of you watched last night's episode of Planet Earth II! The filming of animal and plant life in one of the world's most hostile habitats was spectacular and the contents astonishing — in order to cope with the hurdles presented by life in the desert animals have had to adapt in ingenious ways. Not only are they faced daily with having to find food and water, but the surface temperature can reach 160° — they hide, they hop, they swarm and the fight, all to survive to do the same again the next day.

Nursing a canine in septic shock: a patient care report

Patients in septic shock require immediate attention. Veterinary nurses play a vital role in their care and recovery. Involvement in patient care includes the monitoring and recording of vital signs, fluid therapy and pain assessments. Identifying improvements or deteriorations in a patient's progress helps veterinary surgeons to make more informed decisions about its long-term care. This report aims to discuss the importance of these aspects and identify areas for development.

A compassionate journey part 2: the pet's passing

In the first in this series of articles, the need for careful and compassionate communication with clients around end-of-life care for pets was discussed. The concept of using regular quality-of-life assessments as an opportunity to address end-of-life at an appropriate time was also examined. This article will focus on the period of the pet's passing, including the nature of the veterinarian's role in advising on and carrying out euthanasia. Veterinary professionals have to deal with this situation frequently.

Feline lungworm: biology, epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment

Parasitic nematodes that affect the respiratory system of felids are spreading in endemic regions and emerging in areas and hosts which were previously free of them. Recent reports of lungworm parasitoses caused by Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, Troglostrongylus brevior and Eucoleus aerophilus have stimulated an increase in scientific interest in the biology, ecology and epidemiology of these nematodes. The majority of literature dedicated to feline metastrongylid lungworms has been focused on A. abstrusus, mainly because it is the most commonly reported in domestic cats. However, this focus may come at the cost of overlooking emerging or less common metastrongylids. This article reviews information on the three major feline metastrongylid nematodes, including their biology and treatment; there is an emphasis on the epidemiology of T. brevior to provide a better understanding of an emerging parasite of domestic cats in Europe.

Diabetes mellitus in cats and the veterinary nurse's role

Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrinopathy in cats with an increasing prevalence, likely reflecting the changes in nutrition and lifestyle of domestic cats. The management of the disease requires good communication between the owner of the diabetic cat and the veterinary team. This article discusses the causes and consequences of diabetes in cats, treatment options and role of the veterinary nurse in the management of the condition.

How to understand wound aetiologies

Patients with wounds sustained in a variety of ways present to veterinary clinics on a daily basis. Early identification of the way in which a wound was created is essential to provide appropriate, timely treatment, and hopefully prevent complications. Having a good understanding of wound aetiology will allow staff to anticipate the level of contamination with debris and organic material, along with bacterial load, as well as the extent to which tissue necrosis is likely. All these factors need to be considered which planning on how the wound will be treated, whether with immediate primary closure or extensive open wound management.

Treatment of ureterolithiasis in feline patients

Ureterolithiasis is becoming more frequently diagnosed in feline patients as diagnostic imaging has become more available and the understanding of the clinical signs suggestive of this disease process has grown. The presence of ureteral stones can be diagnosed by radiography and ultrasonography. As 98% of ureteral stones in cats are calcium oxalate, medical management may not be an option for the majority of cases. Subcutaneous ureteral bypass, nephroureterectomy, ureteral stenting and lithotripsy are all techniques that can be used for the treatment of ureteral obstruction caused by ureteral stones; this article focuses on the subcutaneous ureteral bypass device (SUB). This paper outlines how ureterolithiasis is diagnosed, briefly outlines treatment options then focuses on how the SUB device is placed. Postoperative care following a SUB placement is discussed as these patients need careful medical management in the immediate postoperative period to resolve azotaemia without causing fluid overload as well as lifelong follow-up care to ensure the SUB device stays patent and to support renal function.

Guinea pig anaesthesia — how can risks be reduced?

Veterinary nurses should be competent at helping to anaesthetise all patients presented in first opinion practice and this includes small mammals. Although guinea pigs are still commonly seen in the veterinary practice and as pets, there is much concern with regards to anesthetising them, even for routine procedures. With a few considerations however, the risk of placing these patients under general anaesthesia can be reduced somewhat. Understanding the species' basic needs and potential disease status will reduce stress to staff and risk to the patient.

Know which way the (winter) wind blows

Many parasites are seasonal…but not all of them are! Indeed, some parasites' seasonal activities favour the colder, wetter autumn and winter weather. Two examples of this are Angiostrongylus vasorum (lungworm) and tapeworm. Other parasites, such as fleas, have clear seasonal activity favouring the warmer months, but external factors such as central heating act as game changers.

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