Volume 9 Issue 1

How to use the practice microscope

Every veterinary practice should be equipped with a microscope and all veterinary nurses should become competent with its use. A basic knowledge of the precise setup of the microscope is essential for image quality and prompt results.

Antibiotic resistance in small animal veterinary practice: veterinary nurses as antibiotic guardians

Antibiotic resistance is a challenge faced interconnectedly by the veterinary and human medical professions. The veterinary hospital is an environment where infectious agents are under continuous antibiotic pressure and can provide a reservoir for multi-drug resistant bacteria. The development of antibiotic resistance can only be minimised by utilising a multi-factored approach, ensuring that antibiotics are used appropriately, promoting a holistic approach to animal health to help negate the need for antibiotics and implementing effective biosecurity policies to prevent the spread of resistant organisms.

Rabbit health practices of 202 rabbit owners

Aim:Owners often underestimate the management needs of pet rabbits. Determining rabbit owners' health management practices, and where they gain healthcare information, will facilitate veterinary professionals in providing advice to rabbit owners.Method:Rabbit owners in the UK (n=202) completed an online questionnaire providing information on health checking, vaccination and parasite control practices. Where owners gain information on rabbit health care was also determined.Results:The majority of owners performed daily health checks of their rabbit's appetite, posterior, skin, faeces, face and behaviour; weekly checks of their coat; monthly checks of teeth and occasional checks of bodyweight and gums. Most owners had vaccinated their rabbits against myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease but were not using parasite prevention methods. The majority of owners stated that they would respond promptly to seek veterinary assistance in response to inappetance. Owners preferred to obtain health information from veterinary professionals, though suggested more information on digestive problems and dental disease would be useful.Conclusion:Greater education of owners on the appropriate frequency of health checking is warranted. Veterinary practices could play an integral role in improving owner knowledge of rabbit health practices via providing leaflets in centres, information on veterinary centre websites, and dedicated rabbit clinics.

Current issues in veterinary transfusion medicine

Human and veterinary transfusion medicine is an area where there has been ongoing research and new developments. The way in which blood and transfusion products have been used has been questioned resulting in changes in their use and storage. In transfusion medicine, not only the research methods, but sometimes the application of the product itself, has raised ethical and moral questions, which has in part led to major differences between UK and US transfusion practices. Within the UK there is a rapidly growing demand for banked blood products and an increasing use in practice of both banked products and emergency whole blood donations. Registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) are now able to undertake further qualifications in emergency and critical care which includes the use of blood products. It is of vital importance for the RVN to keep up to date with current thinking on transfusion medicine and to ensure that transfusion guidelines and protocols within their work-place are up to date and evidence based.

Veterinary communities standing together against exaggerated breed traits

When I was in high school, I volunteered at a veterinary clinic in the town where I lived. One day, a Shar Pei came in for a routine annual exam and the veterinarian brought her to the back to collect a blood sample. Once the sample was collected, the veterinarian paused and lifted a large fold of skin over the dog's shoulders. Bright red skin glistened with moisture as he looked silently for a few moments before lifting adjacent folds on the neck and face. His head hung low and a look of disappointment clung to his face. One fold after another, more of the same red skin, damp, sometimes with crusts, sometimes nearly bald in places. The veterinarian wiped one of the worst areas with a gauze swab and applied some ointment. The dog protested in discomfort. The veterinarian removed his gloves, washed his hands, and turned to take the dog back to the consultation room. I followed, eager to hear what he might say to the clients.

Rehabilitation of the feline patient: acupuncture and hydrotherapy as part of a multidisciplinary team approach

Land-based physiotherapy has been the treatment most commonly used where feline patients are referred for rehabilitation, but increasingly positive results are being seen in cats referred for hydrotherapy and in cases treated with acupuncture as part of a multidisciplinary team approach. Hydrotherapy includes the use of water treadmills and pools and can be used in a variety of rehabilitation cases including postoperative fractures, muscle wastage and some neurological conditions. Acupuncture is also well tolerated and is useful in some musculoskeletal and neurological problems.

Surgical skin preparation — are we just going around in circles?

Aseptic care of the skin prior to any breach is of paramount importance to reduce the incidence of surgical site infection (SSI), as each time the skin is incised or punctured a portal of entry for microorganisms exists. The application of an appropriate skin preparation agent is significant, but arguably given less significance is the technique employed to apply the solution itself. Historically, concentric circles were the method of choice for aseptic skin preparation. More recently, a back-and-forth motion is being advocated within the National Health Service (NHS). This article will examine the current literature and seek to determine if evidence exists to support either method demonstrating greater efficacy.

Using best practice to create tailored parasite control plans for pets

Parasite control plans allow for the prevention and control of parasites to be tailored to individual pets after assessment. Every pet's requirements are different and so simple techniques are required which can be used to break down the assessment of pets into a user-friendly method, which enables veterinary staff to implement best practice. Veterinary nurses are well placed to implement these protocols by assessing risk, geographic location and lifestyle. This may be achieved in nurse clinics or as a more informal conversation at the reception desk or over the phone. By developing bespoke parasite control plans, client bonding to practices may be increased, while also increasing pet and human health by reducing parasitic disease risk. Following best practice is an excellent means of ensuring standards are met within practice and is often the starting point for accreditations. This article will focus on parasite control plans for cats and dogs and uses the ESCCAP (European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites) best practice guidelines as a means of reference.

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