Volume 9 Issue 9

An introduction to veterinary nursing leadership part one: getting to know yourself

Veterinary nursing is a dynamic and challenging profession requiring engaging and inspiring role models and leaders. It is widely accepted that the most valuable asset in any organisation is its people, however in today's ever changing and demanding healthcare environment, identifying and developing such leaders can be problematic. Avoiding the fostering of people who are not well suited to a leadership role is just as important as identifying and nurturing those with more appropriate qualities. This article will outline the nature of veterinary nursing leadership for people aspiring or new to the concept of leadership, and clarify the importance of selecting appropriate leaders in advancing the veterinary nursing profession.

Not strictly true, but does it matter?

As I get older my beliefs get firmer and slightly more ridiculous. For example, I honestly believe that if I met Ed Sheeran we would become lifelong and inseparable friends; I also believe that one day I will get to compete in Strictly Come Dancing, a la Judy Murray. Now, while I choose to consider these as truths, I do admit that I would have problems convicing you of their validity, and indeed my own family would also undoubtedly greet these assertions with disbelief. The fact is, I have no evidence to support my beliefs, and I am aware that this lack of evidence makes my assertions seem downright daft! But, my beliefs are harmless, no lives are at stake, and whether they are true or not is not important — not so where human and animal health are concerned.

How to carry out a wellness examination for rabbits

The same standard of veterinary care should be given to all pets. As pet rabbits become more popular, it is important that veterinary clinics are familiar with performing general wellness check-ups. It is more difficult to detect signs of illness in pet rabbits than in cats and dogs because they are a prey species. Knowing the first indications of illness in pet rabbits is critical to performing a thorough examination. It is also important to educate pet rabbit owners to look for these signs at home. All of this begins with a routine, annual wellness examination. A wellness examination encompasses a lot, from a thorough history, complete physical assessment of the pet, to recommending proper husbandry. Veterinary nurses should be comfortable with all of these aspects of a complete rabbit wellness examination.

The use of outcome measures in equine rehabilitation

Background:The ideal goal of equine rehabilitation following injury or surgery is to return the horse to a level of function that either meets or exceeds the previous performance level, and monitoring progress is important within rehabilitation. Outcome measures (OM) are used extensively in human practice and research, especially patient reported outcomes (PRO). PROs generally consist of a series of questions and observation of functional tasks, use of which may be challenging in equine practice.Aim:The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of OMs by physiotherapists in equine musculoskeletal rehabilitation.Methods:A questionnaire was used to investigate how those involved with the treatment and training of horses measure progress and outcomes during rehabilitation.Results:71 physiotherapists responded, comprising 51 chartered physiotherapists and 20 physiotherapists without prior human training, with an average of 9.25 years in equine practice; 82.2% reported OM use. When asked to define an OM, 72.5% of chartered physiotherapists and 40% of physiotherapists without prior human training, matched a pre-set definition correctly. The benefits of OM use were reported consistently as a method of objectively monitoring progress and used to adapt treatment plans. The barriers to OM use were lack of OM validation and reliability and time constraints. However, OMs were mainly subjective, such as visual assessment of lameness, palpation and muscle symmetry.Conclusion:In conclusion, confusion exists regarding what an OM is, and OM use is reported but often refers to subjective assessment method. A validated equine musculoskeletal rehabilitation score is required to support clinical practice.

CatCareforLife — keeping cats healthy

International Cat Care (ICC) and its veterinary division, the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), have recently launched a new programme entitled CatCareforLife — a blueprint for how a clinic and owner can work together to keep cats healthy and encourage veterinary visits.

Helping owners to support the emotional and behavioural needs of the socially mature cat

This article forms part of a series that considers the behavioural and emotional needs of the domestic feline — from kitten to geriatric cat — and how the veterinary practice team can support the cat's owners in maintaining its emotional welfare. The articles are based on a series delivered on behalf of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and the British Veterinary Behaviour Association. This article is based on the material presented by Vicky Halls (RVN Dip Couns, Reg MBACP) at the London Vet Show (November 2017). The article considers the respective needs of the cat at various life stages post kittenhood, as well as feline stress and its effect on the domestic cat, the cat's behavioural and emotional needs, and how owners can make appropriate provisions. In addition, the article considers the issues that can arise when owners wish to maintain a multi-cat household, and how best to go about attempting to integrate a new kitten or cat into an existing feline group. A future article will pay specific attention to the needs of the senior and geriatric cat.

Tea tree oil exposure in cats and dogs

Tea tree oil is an essential oil from the Australian tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia and is sometimes promoted as a natural or herbal treatment for fleas in pets. Although products containing low concentrations of tea tree oil are not expected to be a problem in pets, the use of pure tea tree oil directly on the skin is potentially very serious in pets and should never be used. Exposure may cause ataxia, salivation, lethargy, coma and tremor. Dermal exposure to tea tree oil may also result in dermatitis as the oil is irritant to skin. Even a few drops of pure tea tree oil applied dermally can cause clinical signs, and deaths have occurred in pets treated with pure tea tree oil. Treatment includes dermal decontamination and supportive care.

A veterinary nurse-led approach to flea control

The cat flea Ctenocephalides felis is a common infestation of household pets and a source of revulsion, distress and irritation to pet owners. They can also transmit disease to both humans and pets. Flea control is therefore vital but not easy to achieve, and failures in attempts at control are common. This leads to owner frustration, as well as increased morbidity in pets, and raises questions regarding treatment efficacy and drug resistance. The veterinary nurse plays a vital role in educating clients on the risks associated with fleas, communicating the importance of effective control with clients and maximising compliance once a flea control plan has been established. This article discusses the principles of flea control and the role of the veterinary nurse.

Nutrition for puppies

By the time most puppies reach adulthood, they will have increased their birth weight by 40 to 50 times. However, as there is a great variation in dog size, from tiny Chihuahuas at around 2 kg to Irish Wolfhounds at around 70 kg bodyweight, growth periods vary. Small breed dogs generally reach adult body size at between 9 and 12 months of age, and large and giant breeds not until they are 18–24 months old. If one considers that an adult giant breed dog may weigh the same as an adult human, who would take 18 years to reach maturity, this is a remarkably rapid growth period!

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