Volume 9 Issue 3

Developing personal standards and a culture of continuous improvement

One thing I always tell my students is that they are at their very best when they are studying. As students, they are learning and practicing the highest standards. They are exploring and investigating the evidence and they are open to change. They are building knowledge, and discovering new ways to become the best nurse they can be. While they might not yet have the benefit of years of experience, they most certainly have a wide outlook on the latest knowledge.

Nursing the neuromuscular patient

Neuromuscular disorders are a group of diseases affecting the peripheral nervous system (lower motor neurons, neuromuscular junction and/or muscle) causing weakened, reduced or absent voluntary movement. Neuromuscular patients are challenging yet rewarding to nurse as they require intensive rehabilitation and nursing care, especially if complications arise. It is important to understand the pathophysiology of these diseases to help facilitate the best possible outcome.

The forgotten complication: aspiration pneumonia in the canine patient

Aspiration pneumonia is a common complication, with many risk factors, seen in canine patients in referral centres and first opinion practices. Nurses play a vital role in recognising signs of aspiration pneumonia: cough, changes in breathing rate and effort, and abnormal thoracic auscultation. Treatment centres on supportive care, while providing antibiotic therapy for the bacterial infection. This article will focus on management of the canine aspiration pneumonia patient.

Preparing students for practice

Traditionally education has prepared veterinary nursing students well to have the knowlege and practical skills to care for patients to the best of their ability. However, in recent years, more emphasis has been placed on the emotional aspects of nursing, and education has had to adapt to prepare students to look after their own wellbeing as well as that of the animals or owners. This paper summarises recent work on this topic and brings together a variety of different ideas put forward by both veterinary and veterinary nursing educators.

How to set up diabetes clinics

Veterinary nurse clinics are an important aspect of the management of diabetic patients. Having a diabetic pet can be overwhelming for some clients, having a veterinary nurse to support the owner can make things easier. Owner education is a important element of the nurse clinic and imparting this information will result in an increase in compliance for the owner, and have an impact on the welfare and quality of life of the patient.

Can aromatherapy be used to reduce anxiety in hospitalised felines

Background:Within veterinary practice, animals can feel anxious for a number of reasons such as exposure to novel environments, including unfamiliar sounds and smells, the feeling of lack of self-control or previous negative experience. As part of a holistic approach within human medicine, aromatherapy has been utilised in minimising pre-operative stress, reducing anxiety, as well as reducing post-operative pain.Aim:The aim of this study was to assess whether lavender oil is effective in reducing stress in felines.Method:A total of 16 cats took part in the study at a veterinary practice. Eight cats were exposed to lavender oil through inhalation aromatherapy. The other eight cats formed the control group and where not exposed to the lavender oil. Each cat's behaviour was observed and recorded at 10 minute intervals over a period of 30 minutes and scored using ‘Kessler & Turners 1997 Cat Stress Score Chart’.Results:The results showed a statistically significant reduction in behaviours associated with stress and anxiety between the aromatherapy and control groups at each interval: admission (Mann-Whitney U test: w=89.5, n=8,8, p=0.02), 10 minutes (Mann-Whitney U test: w=96.0, n=8,8, p=<0.01), 20 minutes (Mann-Whitney U test: w=96.5, n=8,8, p=<0.01) and 30 minutes (Mann-Whitney U test: w=99.0, n=8,8, p=<0.01) suggesting that the lavender oil does have anxiolytic affects and this can evoke therapeutic responses in felines.

Dystocia resulting in Caesarean section of the bitch

This article highlights key areas of interest to the veterinary nurse that may deal with a bitch Caesarian section. Prior to the procedure the preparation area for the induction of the bitch and the theatre for surgery should be prepared, and consideration given to the area in which the recovering puppies will be placed. It is important to understand the pathophysiology of the bitch and that her body systems will be compromised during the anaesthetic which could result in morbidity if she is not monitored with vigilance. This condition is not alleviated once the puppies are removed. While resuscitating the puppies it is important to remember that the anaesthetised patient is still undergoing vast systemic changes, and these need to be closely monitored.

An update on the risks and benefits of neutering in dogs

Surgical neutering of pet dogs has generally been regarded as an important means of population control that also has both health-related and behavioural benefits. Perceived health-related benefits include prevention of mammary tumours and pyometra in bitches and testicular and prostatic disease in male dogs. Perceived behavioural benefits are associated with a reduction in sexually-dimorphic behaviours including roaming, mounting and urine marking in male dogs, and problem behaviours associated with seasons or phantom pregnancies in bitches. In recent years a number of research studies have suggested that the health-related benefits of neutering may be less marked than was once believed, and that neutering may also have negative health-related effects, particularly associated with the development of joint disease and neoplasia. While this is concerning, there are factors that may influence the validity of the results of these studies and the degree to which they can be reliably extended to all dogs. This also applies to the studies that have looked at the effect of neutering on behaviour in dogs.In the absence of clear information particularly regarding the health-related effects of neutering it is currently very difficult to give neutering guidelines that will be suitable for all dogs, and that will reliably reduce the risks of them developing specific diseases. This may change as more research becomes available. Until then, it is better to work out the risks and benefits of neutering for each individual dog based on the risk of unwanted mating occurring and the presence or absence of problem behaviours influenced by sex hormones, in addition to the owner's preference.

Spring parasite update

Spring has sprung and brought with it a whole host of beasts (from the East), pests (from the West) and parasites…from all directions! But what are this season's hot topics and is 2018 showing different trends to last year?

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