Volume 9 Issue 4

Drug interactions amongst companion animal parasiticides

The global burden of ectoparasitic infestations is exacerbated by the lack of licensed vaccines, making safe and effective parasiticide drugs vital to their prevention and treatment. The last two decades in the companion animal parasiticides market has brought a welcome surge in the number of new antiparasitic agents. However, this requires veterinary prescribers to be much more knowledgeable about drug mode of action, indications, adverse reactions, and the potential for drug-drug interactions. Most antiparasitic drugs have an acceptable safety margin, however some are associated with clinically significant side effects or drug-drug interactions. The risk for these side effects can be increased when drugs are used in combination and by concurrent medications prescribed for preexisting conditions. This article describes the risk of acute adverse reactions associated with treatment with antiparasitic drugs and highlights the current safety warnings regarding concurrent use of some drugs.

A comparative study analysing two pain score scales pre and post operatively on felines undergoing surgery for ovariohysterectomy

Background:Over time, the implementation and utilisation of pain scoring has increased in veterinary practice and is now regularly performed on cats, dogs and rabbits helping to increase welfare standards. There are a number of different types of pain scales including the visual analogue scale (VAS), the dynamic interactive visual analogues scale (DIVAS) as well as simple descriptive scale (SDS).Aim:The Colorado State University feline acute pain scale (DIVAS) and the Vetergesic composite pain scale for cats (SDS) are two pain scoring models which use a different method in order to assess pain levels in feline patients. This blind study aimed to compare the use of each pain scale model pre and post operatively on feline patients undergoing surgery for ovariohysterectomy, to ascertain if either pain score model posed any benefit over the other in terms of its accuracy.Methods:A total of 14 female cats participated and were randomly assigned a group. In order to compare the results the scales were converted into comparable numerical values as each model used a different scale; the scales were compared using the statistical software package ‘Minitab’.Results:The results were not statistically significant (Man Whitney U test p value of >0.05) suggesting that both pain score models used within this study in felines patients undergoing ovariohysterectomy can be relied on to give an accurate reflection of the cat's pain level and are therefore beneficial to the cat's welfare.

How ECG monitoring contributes to patient care

Electrocardiography (ECG) is an important diagnostic and monitoring tool in veterinary medicine. ECG recordings can be used as a one-off trace, as part of a multi-parameter anaesthesia machine, or as a telemetry system, allowing the patient to remain undisturbed while hospitalised. This helps the nurse monitor pain, stress, depth of anaesthesia or identify when an arrhythmia is present and act accordingly under the veterinary surgeon's instruction. However, its usefulness is limited by the confidence of the veterinary nurse using it. This article provides an easy to use guide to help the veterinary nurse in practice.

Canine pericardial effusion — a veterinary nurse's guide

Pericardial effusion is an emergency that all veterinary nurses (VN) in a variety of roles may encounter. It is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pericardium, acute or chronic. There are both acquired and congenital causes, but pericardial effusion is most common in male, large/giant breed dogs. It is paramount that the VN has knowledge of the pathophysiology, presenting clinical signs and management so they can best advise the client, care for the patient (to include triage and monitoring), and assist the veterinary surgeon during pericardiocentesis.

Principles of rabbit anaesthesia for veterinary nurses

This article focuses on the techniques and principles of rabbit anaesthesia. In previous years, rabbit anaesthesia was a task which often struck fear within general veterinary practice due to the higher mortality rates seen in rabbits compared with cats and dogs. However, as rabbit medicine and surgery has advanced, so have the protocols for anaesthesia, and as the majority of general anaesthesia will be monitored by veterinary nurses in general practice, it is vital nurses understand the fundamentals and recognise the signs and symptoms of anaesthesia-related complications in the rabbit.

Atopic dermatitis

Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) is a common genetically predisposed inflammatory and pruritic disease. CAD is a diagnosis made by the exclusion of other pruritic skin diseases such as ectoparasites, and other allergies such as flea bite hypersensitivity, and cutaneous adverse food reaction. Nurses can play an important part in helping to investigate the underlying causes of pruritus in dogs, it is therefore important they have a good working knowledge of the clinical presentation of this common disease and the appropriate diagnostic tests that are routinely used to help rule out other causes of pruritus. Therapy can include systemic medication such as essential fatty acids, antihistamines, glucocorticoids, ciclosporine, Janus kinase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies to IL31 and allergen specific immunotherapy.

Becoming a reflective practitioner

Reflective practice (RP) can be defined as the process of considering an event or a situation in order to examine the factors that influenced it so that one can determine what could have been done differently, or to identify what learning occurred. RP has many potential benefits to professional practice including developing critically thoughtful approaches to patient care, influencing professional decision-making, developing emotional intelligence, and stimulating personal and professional growth. Specific skills must be developed to successfully undertake RP including self-awareness, description, critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation. These skills can be developed using a model of reflection. Models encourage a structured and guided approach to RP and encourage individuals to achieve a deeper level of understanding of the event. To make effective use of a model of reflection, a written account is preferred. This can easily be achieved through the use of a journal, which is a personal collection of notes, thoughts, observations and experiences. Journals can enhance learning through the action of writing and critically exploring experiences. Group reflection is another method of RP, and allows participants to learn from the perspectives of others, and to receive feedback on their practice. There are barriers to RP including lack of time and power to implement changes, as such there is a need for organisations to recognise the importance of RP and to allocate appropriate resources to help support its action.

Help horses: support the National Equine Health Survey

If you are a horse owning veterinary nurse or work in equine practice National Pet Charity Blue Cross is urging you to support the National Equine Health Survey (NEHS) this month. Here's why all owners and keepers of horses should sign up.

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