Volume 8 Issue 3

Heredity & culture

Inherited diseases fall into two categories — primary, for example glaucoma, and secondary, such as exaggerated body types. At a press briefing held at BSAVA Congress, The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) called on vets to take a proactive role in tackling hereditary diseases. Solutions include breeding for more moderate shapes and breeding for eradication of specific genetic defects over time — includes breeding from pairs where one may be a carrier to ensure the largest possible gene pool. In addition, Dr Cathryn Mellersh, Head of Canine Genetics at the Animal Health Trust and a member of the WSAVA Hereditary Disease Committee, urged veterinary professionals not to shy away from telling owners if they have made a bad choice of pet (regarding inherited diseases and associated welfare problems), to try to deter them from making the same mistake again.

A feline patient undergoing tail amputation and excisional arthroplasty of the left hip joint

The patient was an entire male domestic shorthair, estimated at 10 years old, and admitted out of hours after being involved in a road traffic accident (RTA). After initial assessment and treatment, it was decided to further stabilise the patient while hospitalised then at home before undergoing surgical treatment 8 days later of the hip dysplasia and tail fracture caused by the RTA.

Canine stress in a nutshell — why does it occur, how can it be recognised, and what can be done to alleviate it?

Every item that an animal encounters, whether animate or inanimate, is a stimulus. If an animal has had the opportunity to learn to remain relaxed in the presence of that stimulus (to habituate) the stimulus will be one that, for that specific animal, maintains a state of emotional neutrality. Alternatively, if the stimulus initiates any form of emotional response (whether positive or negative in its nature), the stimulus becomes a stressor. As the majority of domestic dogs live in close proximity to human owners in a socially and physically rich and diverse environment, exposure to stressors is an inevitable part of the domestic dog's life. However, the impact of these stressors can be severely detrimental to both the emotional and physical welfare of the dog. These welfare infringements can place considerable constraints on the affected dog's behavioural repertoire and its capacity to behave in a manner that is consistent with an owner's and the general public's expectations. Such failures to meet behavioural expectations is a common factor in requests for the relinquishment and euthanasia of dogs. A previous article provided a general discussion on stress in companion animals; this article examines the prevalence, recognition, avoidance and resolution of stress in dogs.

How to manage wounds with excessive exudate

Excessive exudate can be challenging to manage in veterinary practice as a wound's ideal healing environment can be difficult to establish. Knowledge of how to prepare a wound and select a suitable dressing to cope with exudate from a wound is essential to encourage faster wound healing and to provide a return to normality for patients.

Unravelling dominance in dogs

Aggression is the canine behaviour most likely to lead to relinquishment or euthanasia. Understanding how dogs socially interact and manage conflict is therefore of particular importance to veterinary professionals. Traditional approaches to the prevention and management of canine aggression advocated owners assert themselves as ‘pack leader’ through routine control of all resources and correction of any perceived challenge for them. At its most extreme this included physical punishment and steps to inhibit any initiative by the dog, including free movement and social interaction. The theory evolved from early to mid 20th century research into captive wolf behaviour, embellished by subsequent generations of dog trainers and behaviourists. However, more recent research into the behaviour of non-captive wolves and domesticated dogs, both in the home and living ferally, has brought the dominance theory into question. Perhaps more importantly, progress in the fields of animal welfare and training have highlighted ethical concerns and risks associated with the punitive methods of handling and training recommended by advocates. Modern approaches to modifying and managing the behaviour of the domestic dog use scientific principles to understand the motivation for their behaviour. Change is then facilitated through management of triggers, changing the dog's emotional response to them and manipulating things the dog wants, to encourage preferred behaviour.

Factors that cause bandage complications in equines and how they can be resolved

Bandaging equine limbs in practice is carried out by nearly all veterinary team members although in many practices it is the nurse's responsibility for placement, care and maintenance of the bandage during the patient's time at the hospital. It is a vital part of the veterinary nurse's role to understand the different complications related to inappropriate bandaging as well as noticing signs of discomfort and how to rectify these problems. This will help to educate the future veterinary nursing generation. Techniques and methods of bandaging from small animal and human medicine need to be utilised in equines to help move equine bandaging forward. A standardised method or protocol for bandaging limbs and the abdomen needs to be promoted, and the veterinary team and general public educated to help prevent sores and further complications.

Cardiology update: the EPIC study and what it means for treatment of myxomatous mitral valve disease

The results of a study published in 2016 brought welcome news to the world of veterinary cardiology. Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) is the most common form of acquired heart disease diagnosed in dogs. Before this study released its results, treatment of MMVD was restricted to when dogs developed heart failure as a result of the disease. Despite effective treatment, median survival time is less than a year when dogs are diagnosed with heart failure. Therefore, The Effect of Pimobendan in Dogs with Preclinical Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease and Cardiomegaly: The EPIC Study – A Randomized Clinical Trial (2016), chose to look at treating MMVD with pimobendan in an attempt to prolong the period before heart failure developed. The EPIC study proved conclusively that administration of pimobendan could delay the onset of heart failure by, on average, 15 months, both safely and effectively.

Parasite control clinics and the role of the veterinary nurse

This article will explore the differing parasites that present a risk to pets in the UK and the role of the veterinary nurse in the instigation of parasite control clinics. Through identification of risk and improved education of clients, the veterinary nurse can increase compliance and therefore the health of pets. The article aims to provide nurses with the fundamental knowledge and information required to set up their own nurse-led parasite clinic.

Accessing poisons information

At the recent BSAVA Congress The Veterinary Poisons Information Service launched their service which is exclusively for pet owners. Nicola Bates explains how this new service will work.

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