Volume 9 Issue 2

Factors contributing to fatalities in hospitalised rabbits

The aim of this literature review is to examine the factors associated with fatalities in hospitalised rabbits. The review outlines the main issues relating to the high mortality rates in rabbits and explores methods which can be used to reduce these rates, allowing for an improved level of care to be provided for rabbits in practice. Anaesthesia, temperature, stress, anorexia and pain, all have the potental to increase mortality in rabbits, however it is possible to reduce their detrimental effects.

Clinical signs of parasitic disease in imported pets

Increased pet travel, importation of pets and the expansion of European parasite distributions is increasing the risk of pets infected with exotic parasites entering the UK. Rapid recognition of clinical signs associated with disease in these pets is vital to improve prognostic outcomes, and limit parasite spread and zoonotic risk. Veterinary nurses play a vital role in early disease recognition during nurse clinics, postoperative checks and other pet interactions in practice. This article considers exotic parasites that have already entered the country and that are likely to be present in travelled pets, and their clinical presentations.

Nourishing dogs and cats through their twilight years

Ageing dogs and cats represent a significant proportion of the canine and feline population. Factors attributed to increasing longevity in these species include improved veterinary health care; nutrition; and a healthier lifestyle. Lifespan is also reportedly influenced by genetics and breeding, gender, size, breed and neuter status. Appropriate nutrition and dietary management have contributed to improved quality of life, and life expectancy of senior dogs and cats, and should be considered a key component of the care of these companion animals. The current article will explore the terms used to describe an ageing dog or cat; consider the species-specific nutritional adaptations required during this latter life-stage; and discuss how these can be met through dietary provision.

Coaching and mentoring: beyond the role of the clinical coach in veterinary practice

The role of the clinical coach is well established within UK veterinary nursing practice; however this is often where the application of techniques such as coaching and mentoring begin and end. Both techniques have wider-reaching roles beyond that of the student veterinary nurse. The focus of this article will therefore be on the discussion of such techniques, and the use of their application to enable some new practical perspectives and potential applications for clinical practice and leadership roles within a veterinary nursing context.

Do dog owners recognise behavioural indicators of canine cognitive dysfunction and can environmental enrichment techniques slow its progression?

Background: Veterinary professionals have seen a rise in geriatric patients suffering from canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). Previous literature has supported the use of environmental enrichment therapies which have been considered to reduce the progression of cognitive decline in CCD. However, CCD is commonly undiagnosed within the companion dog population.Aim: To determine whether owners of older dogs are able to notice behavioural changes, and in addition, explore knowledge around the term environmental enrichment which may help owners slow the progression of CCD through further education.Method: The study involved quantitative research using a questionnaire with 11 questions. Data were subsequently statistically analysed. Of the participants 16 worked within a veterinary practice, 52 were customers visiting a pet shop and 39 respondents formed a web survey group predominantly of veterinary professionals.Results: Owners of geriatric dogs working within a veterinary-related field were more likely to notice behavioural changes possibly associated with CCD compared with the average owner of a geriatric dog, and were also more likely to understand the term environmental enrichment.Conclusion: This study informs the veterinary field that improved education strategies implemented within nurse clinics may help pet owners recognise behavioural indicators of CCD, and treatment recommendations may assist in slowing the progression of CCD in geriatric dogs.

How to manage bite wounds in veterinary practice

Bite wounds can present in a variety of areas over the body and can prove challenging to treat. Poor management and the decision to surgically close these types of wounds too early in the healing process can result in the dehiscence of surgical sites, leading to a larger wound deficit than initially presented, and a more difficult wound to manage. This article aims to provide guidance on best practice for dealing with bite injuries and to help the reader to think more about creating an effective management plan when presented with a bite wound.

Urinary catheters: indications for use and management

There are numerous reasons why veterinary patients would benefit from the placement of an indwelling urinary catheter (IDUC), however the veterinary surgeon must assess the benefits of this indwelling device for each patient individually against the potential risks, of which there are many. This article aims to discuss the indications for the use of an IDUC considering optimal management, linked to the prevention of associated infections. The key risks and complications associated with their use will be outlined as it is important that all veterinary professionals work together to prevent their development.

Current parasitological threats in the UK

In recent years, the threat posed to both pets and people by parasites has grown, fuelled by a milder climate and increased pet travel. Here in the UK, fleas and ticks are growing in numbers and infest pets all year round. Angiostrongylus vasorum is rapidly spreading north up the country and Echinococcus granulosus is potentially being spread through abattoirs. In addition to this, pet travel and importation is increasing in the face of a widening distribution of vector-borne disease abroad. This is increasing the risk of exposure and the risk of bringing novel infections back to the UK. Veterinary practices remain in the front line of keeping pets and their owners safe from these threats and veterinary nurses play a pivotal role in giving accurate advice to clients. This article summarises information given to nurses at the recent parasite CPD day held by The Veterinary Nurse and sponsored by Bayer, considering the current parasitic threats to UK cats and dogs and how to address them.

Down the ear

A basic knowledge of the normal architecture of the external and middle ear of the cat and dog is important in the investigation and diagnosis of ear disease in these species. The appearance of the canal is very different in cases where infection is present with yeast where the canal may be hyperplastic and contain a thick ceruminous discharge compared to that with infections such as Pseudomonas spp. where the canal is ulcerated, swollen and contains a malodorous green-yellow mucoid discharge. The appearance of the canal together with cytology can help in the selection of ear cleaners and drops.

Behaviour changes, not science, should be key

Earlier this week we were greeted with the sad news of the death of Sudan, the last remaining male northern white rhino who was euthanased at the age of 45. Two females of this distinct subspecies still remain, both relatives of Sudan, and although there is the remote possibility of preserving the species through IVF, it seems likely that the northern white rhino is to be added to the too long list of animals that have faced extinction at the hands of man's disregard for nature. The northern white rhino has, in fact, been considered extinct in the wild by the WWF since 2008 — Sudan had been kept in a zoo in the Czech Republic until 2009 and moved to Kenya in the hope that the more natural environment would encourage breeding. Unfortunately this was not the case; attempts were also made to mate the two females with the southern white rhino without success. Rhino worldwide are under pressure, and the black rhino, Javan rhino and Sumatran rhino are all critically endangered.

Spring poisons

The risks of exposure to some toxicological hazards varies with the season due to seasonal weather changes, people's behaviour or cultural festivals and celebrations.

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