Volume 9 Issue 8

How to approach weight loss in the obese canine

The terms ‘obese’ and ‘overweight’ are based on an animal's current bodyweight relative to an ideal bodyweight. According to a 2010 UK veterinary practice survey, slightly over 59% of dogs were classified as overweight or obese. Canine obesity increases risk and prevalence of metabolic disorders, endocrine disease, reproductive disorders, cardiopulmonary disease, urinary disorders, dermatological disease, and neoplasia. A successful obesity treatment protocol should incorporate a plan for both weight loss and weight maintenance. Weight rechecks and ongoing nutritional coaching by the veterinary healthcare team are vital components of a successful canine weight loss programme.

Advanced equine diagnostics — magnetic resonance imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become one of the most valuable pieces of diagnostic equipment in equine practice. Both standing and general anaesthetic units are available in the UK, and with growing popularity and public understanding, clinicians have an increased ability to utilise this modality. Considered ‘gold standard’ in terms of lameness diagnostics, MRI is non-invasive and has the capacity to enable precise diagnosis and treatment to be provided. MRI does not use ionising radiation and to date there has been no conclusive evidence to suggest any negative biological hazards associated with its use in patients or technicians. Ensuring the environment the unit is kept in is regulated, with minimal outside radiofrequency interference, and a clear gauss line adhered to, MRI can be calibrated via external services electronically or manually by appropriately trained staff. Patient care and procedural understanding are crucial elements of the veterinary nurse's role; identifying possible complications and implementing nursing interventions appropriately are vital to the successful management of the equine MRI patient.

Spaying bitches: why, when, how?

Spaying is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the UK, and yet there is little in the way of consistency among practices in the advice given to owners wishing to have their bitch neutered. Opinions are often conflicting in terms of pros and cons of spaying, timing of spaying and whether the uterus and ovaries should be removed, or just the ovaries. This article considers some of the available evidence and tries to resolve some of the ambiguity where possible.

Nursing intertrigo in the dog

Intertrigo is a dermatitis caused by friction between two skin surfaces that are intimately apposed and rub against each other. Any skin fold can be affected but common sites include the lips, face, vulva, tail, neck and general body folds. In all cases, lesions are characterised by erythema, exudation and a malodorous discharge. Cytology of lesions is easily achieved and is essential in the selection of appropriate topical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the fold.

The case for resilience in veterinary nursing care

The purpose of this article is to provide a review of the concept of resilience and how it relates to the field of veterinary nursing. Resilience is defined as the ability of an individual to adjust to adversity, maintain equilibrium, retain a sense of control over their environment and continue to move on in a positive manner (Jackson et al, 2007). Because of the challenges faced daily by veterinary nurses, including taking care of critically ill or dying patients, staff shortages, and emotional exhaustion, it is important to address the concept of resilience, at both an individual and organisational level, in order to maintain a healthy workforce.

The world at our fingertips

It certainly has been a busy month. I'm thrilled to see some substantial moves towards improved animal welfare including the RSPCA launching GenerationKind which is pushing for animal welfare to be taught in all schools. Another great success is the recent release of the EFRA Committee's report on controlling dangerous dogs. It calls for the current dog control legislation to be fully reviewed and makes suggestions for a strong emphasis on education and the best interests of the dog. The media attention to these stories has propelled these issues into the limelight giving us an amazing opportunity to speak out about why animal welfare is so vital for our animal companions, and our communities.

Brexit…what's being done?

Over 2 years after the UK held the Brexit referendum, there is still much confusion over how the change will impact both the veterinary industry and pet travel. Potential changes to many areas of veterinary medicine — including disease surveillance, education, research and factors affecting workforce — all need to be considered, along with the opportunity for amendments and improvements to the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to combat UK biosecurity.

Parasite risk assessments

Risk assessments are a vital component in creating a parasite control plan. No single parasite control plan will fit all pets, but a risk assessment will enable parasite control to be optimised while avoiding over treatment. Fleas and Toxocara spp. worms are ubiquitous, with all cats and dogs likely to be exposed in their lifetime. Routine treatment for these parasites is therefore the basis for UK parasite control plans with risk assessment then helping to ascertain whether preventative treatments for other parasites are required and at what frequency. Veterinary nurses play a vital role in making parasite risk assessments through dedicated clinics, discussions at reception and by phone.

Polycythaemia vera in cats: a patient care report

This report outlines a case of primary polycythaemia diagnosed in a 2.5-year-old female entire Domestic Short Hair cat following referral for a report of abnormal neurological behavioural signs. Initial work-up included inhouse blood tests, thoracic radiographs, echocardiogram and abdominal ultrasound. The only remarkable result was a packed cell volume (PCV) of 80% and total solids (TS) 8 g/dl. Therapeutic phlebotomy was performed which reduced the PCV to 62%, and TS to 5.8 g/dl. A definite diagnosis of polycythaemia vera was concluded, and long-term management included repeated phlebotomies and hydroxyurea chemotherapy.

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